PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPINES,
- versus -
ANTONIO CASTRO y PAYAWAN,
G.R. No. 172691
PUNO, C.J., Chairperson,
August 10, 2007
D E C I S I O N
Before us is this appeal by Antonio Castro y Payawan from the decision dated March 2, 2006 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CR-HC No. 00377, affirming in toto an earlier decision of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of San Fernando City, Pampanga, Branch 47, which adjudged him guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Rape and sentenced him to reclusion perpetua with civil damages.
Consistent with our decision in People v. Cabalquinto and subsequent cases, the real name of the rape victim is withheld in this Decision. Instead, fictitious initials (AAA) are used to represent her. Also, the personal circumstances of the victim or any other information tending to establish or compromise her identity, as well as those of her immediate family or household members, are not disclosed herein.
In an Information filed with the RTC of San Fernando City, Pampanga and docketed thereat as Criminal Case No. 9518, which was raffled to Branch 47 thereof, herein appellant Antonio Castro y Payawan was charged with the crime of rape committed against the person of his stepdaughter AAA, allegedly in the following manner:
That on or about the 6th day of June 1997, in the Municipality of Mexico, Pampanga, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, ANTONIO CASTRO Y PAYAWAN, with lewd design, by means of force, threat and intimidation, did then and there willfully, unlawfully, and feloniously have carnal knowledge with his stepdaughter, AAA, 14 years old, against her will and without her consent.
CONTRARY TO LAW.
To the foregoing charge, appellant, when arraigned with assistance of counsel, entered a plea of Not Guilty. With the pre-trial having been waived by appellant, trial on the merits ensued, in the course of which the prosecution presented in evidence the oral testimonies of AAA herself; that of Ponciano David, AAAs maternal grandfather; and Dra. Jeanette Kabigting, the physician who examined AAA.
For its part, the defense adduced in evidence the testimonies of appellant and that of BBB, mother of the victim and common-law wife of appellant.
The appealed decision of the CA recites the facts as follows:
was born to CCC and BBB on
the evening of
According to BBB, the victims
mother, she has five (5) children with CCC, and AAA was the 4th in
the order of birth. When they separated ten (10) years ago, she started living
with the accused at
BBB further averred that AAA spent
her night at their house on
BBB learned of the incident when AAAs grandmother, Isabel Layug, told her about it. She confronted the accused, but the latter denied the charges. Together with her parents, they reported the incident to the barangay captain.
Dr. Jeanette Kabigting Samonte of
the Department of Obstetrician and Gynecology of Jose B. Ligad Memorial
Hospital, San Fernando Pampanga, examined the victim on
Denial is appellants main plea in defense.
Again, to quote from the same decision of the CA, hereunder is what appellant belabored to establish:
accused, on the other hand, denied the accusation. He alleged that since he
started cohabiting with BBB in 1984, AAA together with her other siblings, live
with her grandparents. But AAA every now and then visited their family dwelling
and sometimes slept over. In the evening of
It was in the evening of
The trial courts decision
In a decision of
WHEREFORE, premises considered, judgment is hereby rendered finding accused ANTONIO CASTRO y PAYAWAN guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of rape committed against AAA, and hereby sentences him to Reclusion Perpetua. He is entitled to the full benefit of his preventive imprisonment, conformably with Article 29 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended. Accused is ordered to pay complainant the amount of Php 50,000.00 as civil indemnity and the sum of Php 50,000.000 representing moral damages.
Therefrom, appellant went on appeal to the CA whereat his appellate recourse was docketed as CA-G.R. CR-HC No. 00377, on the lone assigned error, viz:
THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN CONVICTING THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT DESPITE THE FACT THAT HIS GUILT WAS NOT PROVEN BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT.
The CA decision
In turn, in a decision dated
WHEREFORE, the judgment appealed from is hereby AFFIRMED IN TOTO.
As it was in the CA, appellant presently insists that the prosecution failed to establish his guilt beyond reasonable doubt and thus plead for the reversal of the CA decision.
After the records of this case were forwarded to this Court pursuant to the Notice of Appeal filed by the appellant with the CA, the Court accepted the appeal and required the parties to file their respective supplemental briefs if they so desire. In their respective separate manifestations, the parties informed the Court that they are no longer filing any supplemental brief since all their respective arguments have been thoroughly discussed in their respective appellants and appellees briefs before the CA.
The Courts ruling
The appeal must fail.
It is appellants main submission that it is impossible for him to rape AAA in a small room where there are eight (8) persons sleeping.
The contention deserves scant consideration. The Court has repeatedly held that lust is no respecter of time and place, and rape can be and has been committed in even the unlikeliest of places.
To us, what is at bottom in this case is AAAs credibility as against appellants bare denial. On this score, the Court finds no reason to doubt the truth of AAAs tale. We note from the transcript of stenographic notes how this young girl of fourteen tearfully narrated in court the sordid details of her bestial experience from appellant.
Unflawed by any material or significant inconsistency and given in a manner straightforward and categorical, hereunder is AAAs account of her harrowing experience:
Q: Tell the Court the reason why you woke
up at of
A: I felt something pulling my pajama, sir.
Q: When he was pulling your pajama and removing your panty, what did you do, if any?
A: I was then shouting sir but he covered my mouth sir.
Q: With his hands?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: So, in other words, you were not able to shout?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: At the time he was removing your pajama, was he, already covering your mouth?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: Aside from covering your mouth, please tell the Court if the accused tell (sic) something to you?
A: There was, sir.
Q: What did he say to you?
A: He told me that if I will make a noise he will kill me.
Q: What did you feel when he said that?
A: I was surprised and I was scared (natakot po ako).
Q: Which did the accused remove first, your pajama or your panty?
A: Pajama, sir.
Q: At the time he was removing your pajama, was he already covering your mouth?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: How about when he was removing your panty, was he covering your mouth?
A: My mouth was already covered with his hands, sir.
Q: What did you do, if any, when he was removing your panty?
A: I was then lying sir,
Q: Did you try to fight back?
A: I did not, sir, because I was afraid, sir.
Q: Afraid of what?
A: Because he said that he will kill me.
Q: After he removed your pajama and panty, what happened next?
A: He raped me, sir.
Q: Was he able to insert his penis to your vagina?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: How many times?
A: Two(2) times sir.
xxx xxx xxx
Q: At the time that Antonio Castro, the live-in partner of your mother for the last ten(10) years, doing that, where is your mother, if you know?
A; She was sleeping, sir.
Q: How about your half-brothers and sisters?
A: They were then beside me sleeping, sir, but I am a little bit farther from them, sir.
May I place on record, sir that the witness is crying while testifying.
Q: From your testimonial chair, how far was your mother from you at that time?
A: From my testimonial chair to the wall of the court, sir.
About 3 to 4 meters, Your Honor.
Three(3) to four (4) meters, Your Honor.
Will you tell the Court, the ages of
your half-brothers, sisters on
A: Jennifer is(sic) 9 years old, Jayson 5, J.R., 3 Junior 2 and I forgot the name of the youngest but he is (sic) more than one (1) year old, sir.
Q: Now, did (sic) your house have a room?
A: None, sir.
Q: So, you were all sleeping in a sala?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: After your father-in-law raped you twice, what did he do afterwards?
A: None, sir.
Q: What did he do after he raped you twice?
A: He threatened me that he will kill me including my mother, sir.
Q: What did you feel when Antonio Castro said that?
A: I was afraid.
Appellant argues, however, that the foregoing account of AAA is highly doubtful, expressing surprise on why AAA did not shout for help during or after the commission of the alleged rape even as, according to him, it would have been easy for her other relatives to come to her aid since they live in the same compound.
The argument cannot persuade.
As pointed out by this Court in People v. Ilao:
The fact that the private complainant did not resist or attempt to flee or shout for help does not negate force or intimidation. Different people react differently when confronted by a shocking or a harrowing and unexpected incident, for the workings of the human mind when placed under emotional stress are unpredictable. Some people may cry out, some may faint, some may be shocked into insensibility, while others may appear to yield into intrusion.
Besides, in rape cases, physical resistance need not be established when intimidation is exercised upon the victim and the latter submits herself out of fear. Intimidation is addressed to the mind of the victim and is therefore subjective. Here, AAA categorically described the force and intimidation exerted upon her person by appellant who covered her mouth while ravishing her and even threatened to kill her and her mother after satisfying his bestial lust.
Barely out of childhood, there was nothing AAA could do but resign to appellants evil desires to protect her life. Minor victims like AAA are easily intimidated and browbeaten into silence even by the mildest threat on their lives.
In fine, the Court entertains no doubt at all that appellants guilt for the offense charged has been established by proof beyond moral certainty of doubt. We, therefore, find no reversible error in the assailed decisions of the two courts below.
IN VIEW WHEREOF,
the instant appeal is DISMISSED and the appealed decision dated
CANCIO C. GARCIA
REYNATO S. PUNO
RENATO C. CORONA
ADOLFO S. AZCUNA
C E R T I F I C A T I O N
Pursuant to Section 13, Article VIII of the Constitution, I certify that the conclusions in the above decision had been reached in consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Courts Division.
REYNATO S. PUNO
 Penned by Associate Justice Jose L. Sabio with Associate Justices Fernanda Lampas-Peralta and Arturo G. Tayag, concurring; rollo, pp. 2-15.
 CA Rollo, pp. 43-54.
 G.R. No. 167693,
 Supra note 2 at 43.
 Rollo, pp. 27-30.
 People v. Cortes, G.R.
 Supra note 2 at 85-86.
 G.R. Nos. 152683-84,
 Supra note 1 at 95.
v. Pulanco, G.R. No. 141186,