Tuesday, November 1, 2016

People vs. Salarza, G.R. No. 117682, August 18, 1997

1.      Zareen Smith, British,  came to the Philippines and chose Boracay in Aklan and Port Barton in Palawan for her vacation retreats. She met Enrico de Jesus, Filipino, 26, caretaker of Elsa's Place, a resort owned by his parents. Soon enough a mutual attraction developed between them which ripened into an intense love affair that they would have sex almost every night.

2.       Enrico brought Zareen to Mary's Cottage in Sitio Sabang, Bgy. Cabayugan, and introduced her to his granduncle Rogelio Marañon and grandaunts Nenita Marañon and Maria Ausan who collectively owned and managed the resort. Enrico and Zareen occupied Cottage No. 1. They spent the day at the beach where they drank and swam. They were later joined in by Enrico's friend Silvino Salarza, Jr., a tourist guide, a press relations officer and a fisherman.

3.      In the evening Enrico and Zareen went to Sabang Centro together with Silvino, Julio Morales and a certain Tonton to attend a dance. The dance however was canceled so they proceeded to Coco Grove Restaurant and drank a bottle of rhum. Zareen did not drink as she preferred red wine which was not available. At eleven o'clock the group returned to Mary's Cottage where Enrico awakened his grandaunt Nenita and ask her for two (2) more bottles of rhum, after which, they went back to the beach and continued drinking. This time Zareen opted for a bottle of beer. After a while Zareen said she felt tired and sleepy so she excused herself and retired to the cottage. She was accompanied by Enrico who left her there to sleep. Back at the beach Enrico asked his friends to go spearfishing. Although Silvino went with them he later returned to the beach because he could not stand the cold and was feeling dizzy.

4.      According to the prosecution, at two o'clock in the morning of 1 May 1994 Zareen woke up when she felt somebody take off her underwear. 1 The room was dark as the resort management switched off the lights at ten o'clock. Zareen said she did not stop the man from removing her panties as she thought it was Enrico, her boyfriend, and she was half-asleep. The man in turn removed his briefs and placed himself on top of her, spread her legs, penetrated her and executed push-and-pull movements. Later, the man softly whispered: "Zareen, it's not Ricky; it's Jun. I love you." According to Zareen, when she heard those words, she pushed him aside. She cried and became hysterical. She went to the bathroom and washed herself, at the same time telling Silvino, "Why? Why did you do that to me? You have ruined everything. You know that Ricky and I are trying to have a baby of our own, what will happen now? I might get impregnated by what you did to me." Silvino however assured her that pregnancy was out of the question as he did not ejaculate

5.      On the other hand, Silvino claims that it was Zareen who was flirting with him. His version is that while at Coco Grove Restaurant, whenever Enrico was not looking, Zareen would whisper to him and place her arm on his shoulder. She would talk to him about her stay in Boracay with her sister Lucila and the men she met there. In turn, he spoke to her about his former girlfriends. When Enrico invited him to go spearfishing he went with the group but after a while he returned to the beach saying he was feeling cold and dizzy having imbibed one too many. He even stumbled and fell on the sand. As a result, he got sand all over his body so he proceeded to the public restroom for a shower. On the way to get his t-shirt and cigarettes he saw Zareen lying on the hammock. She asked him for a cigarette and insisted that he take his shower inside her cottage instead of the public restroom which was about a hundred meters away. He hesitated for a while but finally acceded.

6.      But the trial court was not persuaded by Silvino's story. It pronounced him guilty of rape and imposed upon him the supreme penalty of death. 

7.      Quite interestingly, the Information alleges that Silvino had carnal communication with Zareen while she was asleep, with the use of force, against her will and without her consent

Issue: WON there was force or intimidation

Under Art. 335 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by Sec. 11, RA 7659, rape is committed by having carnal knowledge of a woman under any of the following circumstances: (a) by using force or intimidation; (b) when the woman is deprived of reason or otherwise unconscious; and, (c) when the woman is under twelve (12) years of age or is demented. The facts of this case do not by any means show the existence of any of these circumstances; thus we cannot see how the trial court have convicted and, worse, sentenced the accused to die.

First, the complaining witness was not below twelve (12) years of age at the time of the alleged commission of the offense. She was already thirty (30) years old. Neither was she demented.

Second, the Information avers use of force but the evidence negates any use of force, nay, not even intimidation, in the commission of the offense charged. In fact, as discussed hereunder, the sexual advances of the accused were done with the consent of the complaining witness although she claimed she thought that the man who laid with her was her boyfriend Enrico. Here it may be argued that consent to the sexual act was given by Zareen only because of her erroneous belief that the man on top of her was Enrico, thus implying that had she known it was someone else she would have resisted.
The explanation is not persuasive. The evidence shows that this mistake was purely a subjective configuration of Zareen's mind — an assumption entirely contrived by her. Our impression is that Silvino had nothing to do with the formulation of this belief; he did nothing to mislead or deceive Zareen into thinking that he was Enrico. In fact, Silvino precisely, and confidently, told her, "Zareen, it's not Ricky; it's Jun. I love you." It is thus obvious that whatever mistake there was could only be attributable to Zareen — and her inexcusable imprudence — and to nobody else. Clearly, the fault was hers. She had the opportunity to ascertain the identity of the man but she preferred to remain passive and allow things to happen as they did. Silvino never used force on her and was even most possibly encouraged by the fact that when he pulled down her panties she never objected; when her legs were being parted she never objected; and, when he finally mounted her she never objected. Where then was force?

Third, Zareen was not deprived of reason or otherwise unconscious when the accused had intercourse with her. Her lame excuse was that she was half-asleep. However she admitted that in the early morning of 1 May 1994 she woke up to find someone removing her underwear. Thus wise it cannot be said that she was deprived of reason or unconscious. She knew, hence was conscious, when her panties were being pulled down; she knew, hence was conscious, when her legs were being parted to prepare for the sexual act; she knew, hence was conscious, when the man was pulling down his briefs to prepare himself likewise for the copulation; she knew, hence was conscious, when the man mounted her and lusted after her virtue. Her justification was that she never objected to the sexual act from the start because she thought that the man was her boyfriend with whom she was having sex almost every night for the past three (3) weeks as they were getting married and wanted already to have a baby. In other words, her urge could not wait for the more appropriate time.

The prosecution would have the accused convicted of rape under its hypothesis that the complaining witness was half-asleep, ergo unconscious, when the sexual assault took place. Obviously, it had in mind the doctrine enunciated in 1929 in People v. Corcino,  and later in 1935 in People v. Caballero.  These cases however do not apply because the offended parties there were unquestionably fast asleep — and not just half-asleep as in the instant case — when the act was perpetrated. Consequently, there was no opportunity for them to either object or give their consent as they were in deep slumber at the time of the coition. It was only some time after they woke up that they realized that the men having sex with them were not their husbands they thought them to be. In convicting the accused, this Court held, as the trial courts did, that the crime of rape had already been consummated even before the offended parties woke up from their sleep. In Caballero it was found that —
. . . when Consorcia, the offended party, awoke the appellant had already introduced his organ into her genitals and in fact he was already having sexual intercourse with her. We mention this fact on account of a certain doubt arising from the offended party's testimony during the direct examination relative to this detail, but in the attempt of the attorney for the defense to clarify this point during his cross-examination, the offended party categorically affirmed that she had been unaware when the appellant introduced his organ into hers . . . . when the offended party awoke, the crime of rape committed by the appellant was already consummated, having had carnal knowledge with the offended party while she was unconscious for being asleep. The offended party's consent to the act was subsequent thereto and it was given on the belief that the man lying with her was her own husband. (emphasis supplied). 5
The import of this pronouncement is that it was no longer relevant, much less significant, that after waking up the offended party continued to have sex with the man she thought was her husband. Her "consent" to the act wassubsequent to the rape, or after the crime was already committed; the fact that the consent — even if only implied — was given on the belief that the man was her spouse, was inconsequential. In the case of Zareen, her "consent" was given prior to the carnal act, i.e., the act was done because of her passivity, if not consent.

The record abounds with indicia to discredit the theory of the prosecution that Zareen was dead drunk when the alleged rape took placed. Having consumed only a small quantity of rhum during the day, according to her, and a bottle of beer in the evening on a normal pace, she could not have been so drunk as to be deprived of reason or otherwise rendered unconscious. When she returned to her cottage she immediately fell asleep as she was tired and remained so for some time. When she was supposedly molested at around two-thirty the following morning she must have already been, as we believe she was, in full possession of her mental and physical faculties. Whatever intoxicating effect the rhum and beer might have had on her would have already worn off.

Zareen herself claimed that she woke up when she felt someone removing her panties. This means she was fully conscious when somebody approached her bed, removed her panties, spread her legs "although not far apart but just enough to get her underwear off," and then proceeded to perform coital movements with her. Her testimony that she knew that the "intruder" removed his own briefs; that his penis was already erect; that no effort to foreplay was made before penetrating her in his first attempt; that the man did not kiss her nor touch her breasts; that she did not even guide his penis into the trough of her ferminity; and, that he "pushed-and-pulled" on top of her for approximately less than a minute, all validate our conviction that she was fully conscious — not asleep nor even half-asleep — of what was being done to her from the beginning. She was also aware that there was no light as the gas lamp inside the cottage was not lighted and the electricity was already shut off.

Most significantly, Zareen was acutely aware of the manner by which Silvino identified himself — "Zareen, it's not Ricky; it's Jun" — because she testified that " . . . it was not preceeded by a question. It was as if Jun wanted to wake me up fully." 6 To repeat, all these details vividly recalled and recounted by her ineluctably indicate that she was awake all the time and capable of comprehending the nature of the sexual act and of exercising her own free will as to yield to or resist a Lothario's libido.

Zareen had known Enrico for three (3) weeks and since then had been making love with him almost every night. It strains credulity and understanding that she could have mistaken Silvino for Enrico. Their constant lovemaking and togetherness would have already made her familiar with the physical attributes of Enrico and accustomed to his fornicating peculiarities. Zareen even asserted that Enrico was not inclined to sexual intercourse when drunk and would usually indulge in foreplay before actual copulation. These oddities are cues which reasonably engender suspicion that the man she was having carnal communication with was not her lover but someone else. She had the moral responsibility not only to herself but to society itself to ascertain first the identity of her "ravisher" before yielding completely to him. It can hardly be said that she was not imprudent, reckless and irresponsible in giving in to her own sexual impulses. Moreover, being almost a stranger in the place, Zareen should have been leery of her surroundings especially at night. In this regard, she should not have left her cottage door unlocked as much as she did leave pregnable and unshielded the portals of her womanhood.

In People v. Bacalzo,  the accused boxed his victim into unconsciousness. When the victim regained her consciousness she felt the flaccid penis of her ravisher still inside her vagina and that thereafter he removed his sexual organ. He then warned her not to divulge what had happened or else she and her family would be killed. Force, which was used to knock the victim into unconsciousness, was employed before the act was done to ensure its consummation. In People v. Corcino the complaining witness was totally asleep and when she woke up the organ of the accused was already inside her genitalia. In People v. Caballero  the victim was fully asleep when the accused had carnal communication with her, such that when she woke up the crime of rape was already consummated. The same was true in People v. Inot. 

 In People v.Dayo,  the rapist's organ was already in the vagina of the offended party when she woke up, so she pushed him away and screamed. But the accused pulled out his revolver and threatened to kill her if she made any further outcry. She fainted, and the accused continued having sex with her. In fine, in all these cases raped was already consummated before the offended parties could even exercise their volition to grant or deny access to erotic consortium.
Under the circumstances we cannot help entertaining serious doubts on the culpability of the accused. Rape is a charge easy to make, hard to prove and harder to defend by the party accused, though innocent. Experience has shown that unfounded charges of rape have frequently been proferred by women actuated by some sinister, ulterior or undisclosed motive. Convictions for such crime should not be sustained without clear and convincing proof of guilt. On more than one occasion it has been pointed out that in crimes against chastity the testimony of the injured woman should not be received with precipitate credulity. When the conviction depends on any vital point upon her uncorroborated testimony, it should not be accepted unless her sincerity and candor are free from suspicion. A little insight into human nature is of utmost value in judging matters of this kind. 

But even from the narration of Zareen, the elements of the crime of rape are, regretfully, miserably wanting. There was no force nor intimidation; Zareen was not deprived of reason nor otherwise unconscious; and, she was not below twelve nor demented.

WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from is REVERSED and SET ASIDE and accused-appellant SILVINO SALARZA JR. is ACQUITTED of the crime charged; consequently, he is ordered immediately RELEASED from confinement unless held for some other lawful cause. Costs de oficio.

PEOPLE PF THE PHILIPPINES vs. Bernabe Pareja y Cruz, G.R. no. 202122, January 15, 2014

1.      Pareja was charged with two counts of Rape and one Attempted Rape.
2.      RTC convicted him of Rape and Acts of Lasciviousness which was affirmed in toto by the CA.
3.      To exculpate himself from liability, [Pareja] offered both denial and ill motive of AAA against him as his defense.  He denied raping [AAA] but admitted that he knew her as she is the daughter of his live–in partner and that they all stay in the same house.
4.      Contrary to AAA’s allegations, [Pareja] averred that it would have been impossible that the alleged incidents happened.  To justify the same, [Pareja] described the layout of their house and argued that there was no way that the alleged sexual abuses could have happened.
5.      According to [Pareja], the house was made of wood, only about four (4) meters wide by ten (10) meters, and was so small that they all have to sit to be able to fit inside the house.  Further, the vicinity where their house is located was thickly populated with houses constructed side by side.  Allegedly, AAA also had no choice but to sleep beside her siblings.
6.      All taken into account, [Pareja] asseverated that it was hard to imagine how he could possibly still go about with his plan without AAA’s siblings nor their neighbors noticing the same.
7.      Verily, [Pareja] was adamant and claimed innocence as to the imputations hurled against him by AAA.  He contended that AAA filed these charges against him only as an act of revenge because AAA was mad at [him] for being the reason behind her parents’ separation.
8.      he RTC acquitted Pareja from the charge of attempted rape but convicted him of the crimes of rape and acts of lasciviousness in the December 2003 and February 2004 incidents, respectively.
9.      Wanting to reverse his two convictions, Pareja appealed to the Court of Appeals, which affirmed in toto the judgment of the RTC
10.  Aggrieved, Pareja elevated his case to the SC


When the issue of credibility of witness is presented before this Court, we followe certain guidelines that have overtime been established in jurisprudence. In People v. Sanchez, we enumerated them as follows:

First, the Court gives the highest respect to the RTC’s evaluation of the testimony of the witnesses, considering its unique position in directly observing the demeanor of a witness on the stand.  From its vantage point, the trial court is in the best position to determine the truthfulness of witnesses.

Second, absent any substantial reason which would justify the reversal of the RTC’s assessments and conclusions, the reviewing court is generally bound by the lower court’s findings, particularly when no significant facts and circumstances, affecting the outcome of the case, are shown to have been overlooked or disregarded.

And third, the rule is even more stringently applied if the CA concurred with the RTC. (Citations omitted.)

The recognized rule in this jurisdiction is that the “assessment of the credibility of witnesses is a domain best left to the trial court judge because of his unique opportunity to observe their deportment and demeanor on the witness stand; a vantage point denied appellate courts–and when his findings have been affirmed by the Court of Appeals, these are generally binding and conclusive upon this Court.”21   While there are recognized exceptions to the rule, this Court has found no substantial reason to overturn the identical conclusions of the trial and appellate courts on the matter of AAA’s credibility.

Besides, inaccuracies and inconsistencies in a rape victim’s testimony are generally expected. As this court stated inPeople vs. Saludo:

Rape is a painful experience which is oftentimes not remembered in detail.  For such an offense is not analogous to a person’s achievement or accomplishment as to be worth recalling or reliving; rather, it is something which causes deep psychological wounds and casts a stigma upon the victim, scarring her psyche for life and which her conscious and subconscious mind would opt to forget.  Thus, a rape victim cannot be expected to mechanically keep and then give an accurate account of the traumatic and horrifying experience she had undergone. (Citation omitted.)

Since human memory is fickle and prone to the stresses of emotions, accuracy in a testimonial account has never been used as a standard in testing the credibility of a witness.24   The inconsistencies mentioned by Pareja are trivial and non–consequential matters that merely caused AAA confusion when she was being questioned.  The inconsistency regarding the year of the December incident is not even a matter pertaining to AAA’s ordeal. The date and time of the commission of the crime of rape becomes important only when it creates serious doubt as to the commission of the rape itself or the sufficiency of the evidence for purposes of conviction.  In other words, the “date of the commission of the rape becomes relevant only when the accuracy and truthfulness of the complainant’s narration practically hinge on the date of the commission of the crime.”  Moreover, the date of the commission of the rape is not an essential element of the crime.

Improbability of sexual abuse
in their small house and in the
presence of AAA’s sleeping siblings

Pareja argues that it was improbable for him to have sexually abused AAA, considering that their house was so small that they had to sleep beside each other, that in fact, when the alleged incidents happened, AAA was sleeping beside her younger siblings, who would have noticed if anything unusual was happening

This Court is not convinced.  Pareja’s living conditions could have prevented him from acting out on his beastly desires, but they did not.  This Court has observed that many of the rape cases appealed to us were not always committed in seclusion.  Lust is no respecter of time or place, and rape defies constraints of time and space. 

Demeanor of AAA
as a rape victim

Pareja asseverates that AAA’s demeanor and conduct belie her claim that she was raped.  He said that “the ordinary Filipina [would have summoned] every ounce of her strength and courage to thwart any attempt to besmirch her honor and blemish her purity.”  Pareja pointed out that they lived in a thickly populated area such that any commotion inside their house would have been easily heard by the neighbors, thus, giving AAA the perfect opportunity to seek their help.36   Moreover, Pareja said, AAA’s delay in reporting the incidents to her mother or the authorities negates the possibility that he indeed committed the crimes.  AAA’s belated confession, he claimed, “cannot be dismissed as trivial as it puts into serious doubt her credibility.”

A person accused of a serious crime such as rape will tend to escape liability by shifting the blame on the victim for failing to manifest resistance to sexual abuse.  However, this Court has recognized the fact that no clear–cut behavior can be expected of a person being raped or has been raped.  It is a settled rule that failure of the victim to shout or seek help do not negate rape.  Even lack of resistance will not imply that the victim has consented to the sexual act, especially when that person was intimidated into submission by the accused.  In cases where the rape is committed by a relative such as a father, stepfather, uncle, or common law spouse, moral influence or ascendancy takes the place of violence.38   In this case, AAA’s lack of resistance was brought about by her fear that Pareja would make good on his threat to kill her if she ever spoke of the incident.

AAA’s conduct, i.e., acting like nothing happened, after being sexually abused by Pareja is also not enough to discredit her.  Victims of a crime as heinous as rape, cannot be expected to act within reason or in accordance with society’s expectations.  It is unreasonable to demand a standard rational reaction to an irrational experience, especially from a young victim.  One cannot be expected to act as usual in an unfamiliar situation as it is impossible to predict the workings of a human mind placed under emotional stress.  Moreover, it is wrong to say that there is a standard reaction or behavior among victims of the crime of rape since each of them had to cope with different circumstances. 39

Likewise, AAA’s delay in reporting the incidents to her mother or the proper authorities is insignificant and does not affect the veracity of her charges.  It should be remembered that Pareja threatened to kill her if she told anyone of the incidents.  In People v. Ogarte,40 we explained why a rape victim’s deferral in reporting the crime does not equate to falsification of the accusation, to wit:

The failure of complainant to disclose her defilement without loss of time to persons close to her or to report the matter to the authorities does not perforce warrant the conclusion that she was not sexually molested and that her charges against the accused are all baseless, untrue and fabricated.  Delay in prosecuting the offense is not an indication of a fabricated charge.  Many victims of rape never complain or file criminal charges against the rapists.  They prefer to bear the ignominy and pain, rather than reveal their shame to the world or risk the offenders’ making good their threats to kill or hurt their victims. (Citation omitted.)

In Criminal Case No. 04–1557–CFM or the December 2003 incident, Pareja was charged and convicted of the crime of rape by sexual assault.  The enactment of Republic Act No. 8353 or the Anti–Rape Law of 1997, revolutionized the concept of rape with the recognition of sexual violence on “sex–related” orifices other than a woman’s organ is included in the crime of rape; and the crime’s expansion to cover gender–free rape.  “The transformation mainly consisted of the reclassification of rape as a crime against persons and the introduction of rape by ‘sexual assault’ as differentiated from the traditional ‘rape through carnal knowledge’ or ‘rape through sexual intercourse.’”44   Republic Act No. 8353 amended Article 335, the provision on rape in the Revised Penal Code and incorporated therein Article 266–A which reads:

Article 266–A. Rape, When and How Committed. – Rape is committed –
By a man who shall have carnal knowledge of a woman under any of the following circumstances:

Through force, threat or intimidation;

When the offended party is deprived of reason or is otherwise unconscious,

By means of fraudulent machination or grave abuse of authority;

When the offended party is under twelve (12) years of age or is demented, even though none of the circumstances mentioned above be present;

By any person who, under any of the circumstances mentioned in paragraph 1 hereof, shall commit an act of sexual assault by inserting his penis into another person’s mouth or anal orifice, or any instrument or object, into the genital or anal orifice of another person.

Thus, under the new provision, rape can be committed in two ways:

1.   Article 266–A paragraph 1 refers to Rape through sexual intercourse, also known as “organ rape” or “penile rape.” 45 The central element in rape through sexual intercourse is carnal knowledge, which must be proven beyond reasonable doubt.46

2.   Article 266–A paragraph 2 refers to rape by sexual assault, also called “instrument or object rape,” or “gender–free rape.”47   It must be attended by any of the circumstances enumerated in subparagraphs (a) to (d) of paragraph 1.48

In People v. Abulon,49 this Court differentiated the two modes of committing rape as follows:
In the first mode, the offender is always a man, while in the second, the offender may be a man or a woman;

In the first mode, the offended party is always a woman, while in the second, the offended party may be a man or a woman;

In the first mode, rape is committed through penile penetration of the vagina, while the second is committed by inserting the penis into another person’s mouth or anal orifice, or any instrument or object into the genital or anal orifice of another person; and

The penalty for rape under the first mode is higher than that under the second.

Under Article 266–A, paragraph 2 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, rape by sexual assault is “[b]y any person who, under any of the circumstances mentioned in paragraph 1 hereof, shall commit an act of sexual assault by inserting his penis into another person’s mouth or anal orifice, or any instrument or object, into the genital or anal orifice of another person.”

AAA positively and consistently stated that Pareja, in December 2003, inserted his penis into her anus.  While she may not have been certain about the details of the February 2004 incident, she was positive that Pareja had anal sex with her in December 2003, thus, clearly establishing the occurrence of rape by sexual assault.  In other words, her testimony on this account was, as the Court of Appeals found, clear, positive, and probable.50

However, since the charge in the Information for the December 2003 incident is rape through carnal knowledge, Pareja cannot be found guilty of rape by sexual assault even though it was proven during trial.  This is due to the material differences and substantial distinctions between the two modes of rape; thus, the first mode is not necessarily included in the second, and vice–versa.  Consequently, to convict Pareja of rape by sexual assault when what he was charged with was rape through carnal knowledge, would be to violate his constitutional right to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against him.51

Nevertheless, Pareja may be convicted of the lesser crime of acts of lasciviousness under the variance doctrine embodied in Section 4, in relation to Section 5, Rule 120 of the Rules of Criminal Procedure,52 to wit:

SEC. 4. Judgment in case of variance between allegation and proof. – When there is a variance between the offense charged in the complaint or information and that proved, and the offense as charged is included in or necessarily includes the offense proved, the accused shall be convicted of the offense proved which is included in the offense charged, or of the offense charged which is included in the offense proved.

SEC. 5. When an offense includes or is included in another. – An offense charged necessarily includes the offense proved when some of the  essential  elements  or  ingredients  of  the former, as alleged in the complaint or information, constitute the latter.  And an offense charged is necessarily included in the offense proved, when the essential ingredients of the former constitute or form part of those constituting the latter.

Article 336 of the Revised Penal Code provides:

Art. 336. Acts of lasciviousness. — Any person who shall commit any act of lasciviousness upon other persons of either sex, under any of the circumstances mentioned in the preceding article, shall be punished by prisión correccional.
The elements of the above crime are as follows:

That the offender commits any act of lasciviousness or lewdness;

That it is done under any of the following circumstances:

By using force or intimidation; or

When the offended party is deprived of reason or otherwise unconscious; or

When the offended party is under 12 years of age; and

That the offended party is another person of either sex.53 (Citation omitted.)

Clearly, the above–mentioned elements are present in the December 2003 incident, and were sufficiently established during trial.  Thus, even though the crime charged against Pareja was for rape through carnal knowledge, he can be convicted of the crime of acts of lasciviousness without violating any of his constitutional rights because said crime is included in the crime of rape.54

Nonetheless, the Court takes this case as an opportunity to remind the State, the People of the Philippines, as represented by the public prosecutor, to exert more diligence in crafting the Information, which contains the charge against an accused.  The primary duty of a lawyer in public prosecution is to see that justice is done55 – to the State, that its penal laws are not broken and order maintained; to the victim, that his or her rights are vindicated; and to the offender, that he is justly punished for his crime.  A faulty and defective Information, such as that in Criminal Case No. 04–1556–CFM, does not render full justice to the State, the offended party, and even the offender.  Thus, the public prosecutor should always see to it that the Information is accurate and appropriate.

Some issues raised were not touched on this digest. reading the entire case won't consume 5 minutes. :)

PEOPLE vs. NATALIO HILARION y LALIAG, G.R. No. 201105, November 25, 2013

1.    The RTC found the appellant guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of rape under Article 266-A, in relation to Article 266-B, of the Revised Penal Code.
2.    It gave credence to the testimony of AAA3 that the appellant inserted his penis into her vagina. It further held that AAA’s testimony was corroborated by the medical findings of the Philippine National Police medico-legal officer stating that the victim had "deep healing laceration at 3 o’clock position"4 on her hymen.
3.     The RTC sentenced the appellant to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua, and ordered him to pay AAA P50,000.00 as civil indemnity and P50,000.00 as moral damages.
4.    The CA decision affirmed in toto
5.    The CA held that AAA positively identified the appellant as the person who inserted his penis into her vagina in a grassy area;
6.    Her testimony was corroborated by Medico-Legal Report No. 3472-02 showing that AAA had deep-healing hymenal lacerations, and that her posterior fourchette had been "abraded." It further held that the victim's age had been sufficiently proven by the written and oral testimonies of AAA's mother, BBB. The CA also rejected the appellant's denial for his failure to substantiate his defense.
7.    In his brief,5 the appellant maintained that the prosecution failed to prove the elements of force and intimidation; he also claimed that the victim's age had not been proven with certainty.
1.    Elements of force and intimidation
2.    Proof of victim’s age

1.    Affirmative:  As an element of rape, force, threat or intimidation need not be irresistible, but just enough to bring about the desired result."7 In the present case, AAA testified that she cried when the appellant inserted his penis into her vagina. As a child of tender years, she could not reasonably be expected to resist in the same manner that an adult would under the same or similar circumstances. Nonetheless, AAA's act of crying during the rape is sufficient indication that the appellant's act was against her will. AAA also revealed that the appellant threatened to kill her parents if she disclosed the incident to anyone.

2.    In People v. Buado Jr.,9 the Court reiterated the guidelines in appreciating the victim's age, either as an element of the crime or as a qualifying circumstance, thus:
In order to remove any confusion that may be engendered by the foregoing cases, we hereby set the following guidelines in appreciating age, either as an element of the crime or as a qualifying circumstance.
1. The best evidence to prove the age of the offended party is an original or certified true copy of the certificate of live birth of such party.
2. In the absence of a certificate of live birth, similar authentic documents such as baptismal certificate and school records which show the date of birth of the victim would suffice to prove age.
3. If the certificate of live birth or authentic document is shown to have been lost or destroyed or otherwise unavailable, the testimony, if clear and credible, of the victim's mother or a member of the family either by affinity or consanguinity who is qualified to testify on matters respecting pedigree such as the exact age or date of birth of the offended party pursuant to Section 40, Rule 130 of the Rules on Evidence shall be sufficient under the following circumstances:
a. If the victim is alleged to be below 3 years of age and what is sought to be proved is that she is less than 7 years old;
b. If the victim is alleged to be below 7 years of age and what is sought to be proved is that she is less than 12 years old;
c. If the victim is alleged to be below 12 years of age and what is sought to be proved is that she is less than 18 years old.
4. In the absence of a certificate of live birth, authentic document, or the testimony of the victim s mother or relatives concerning the victim s age, the complainant s testimony will suffice provided that it is expressly and clearly admitted by the accused.
5. It is the prosecution that has the burden of proving the age of the offended party. The failure of the accused to object to the testimonial evidence regarding age shall not be taken against him.
6. The trial court should always make a categorical finding as to the age of the victim.

In the present case, the records are completely devoid of evidence that the certificates recognized by law have been lost or destroyed or were otherwise unavailable. The mother simply testified without prior proof of the unavailability of the recognized primary evidence. Thus, proof of the victim s age cannot be recognized, following the rule that all doubts should be interpreted in favor of the accused.