PEOPLE OF THE
- versus -
MARITES VALERIO y TRAJE,
G.R. No. 186123
February 27, 2012
We resolve the appeal, filed by
accused Marites Valerio y Traje (appellant), from the
The RTC Ruling
its May 11, 2001 decision,
the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of
The CA Ruling
On intermediate appellate review, the CA affirmed the judgment of the RTC, giving full respect to the RTC's appreciation of the testimony of the witnesses.
In rejecting the appellants insistence that she merely talked to Regelyn at Pier 14 to protect and prevent her from crossing the street, without any intention to kidnap her, the CA noted the appellants actuations during the incident, particularly, that: (1) the appellant and Regelyn were already at the squatters area of Pier 16 when SPO1 Dela Cruz spotted them several hours later; (2) the appellant was seen by SPO1 Dela Cruz not only talking to the victim, but was actually holding her; (3) the appellant did not take Regelyn to the barangay outpost in Pier 14, which was merely 11 steps away, to report that the child was probably missing, but took her to as far as Pier 16; and (4) the appellant misrepresented to SPO1 Dela Cruz that she took Regelyn to take care of her, despite the protestations of Regelyns mother that she never entrusted Regelyn to the appellants care.
We now rule on the final review of the case.
We affirm the appellants conviction.
We find no reason to reverse the factual findings of the RTC, as affirmed by the CA. The prosecution has established the elements of kidnapping under Article 267, paragraph 4 of the Revised Penal Code, to wit: (1) the offender is a private individual; (2) he kidnaps or detains another, or in any other manner deprives the latter of his or her liberty; (3) the act of detention or kidnapping is illegal; and (4) the person kidnapped or detained is a minor, female or a public officer.
The prosecution has adequately and satisfactorily proved that the appellant is a private individual; that the appellant took Regelyn from Pier 14 to Pier 16, without the knowledge or consent of Regelyns parents; and that the appellant admitted Regelyns minority and even referred to her as a child.
The prescribed penalty for kidnapping a minor under Article 267 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by Republic Act No. 7659, is reclusion perpetua to death. Since neither aggravating nor mitigating circumstances attended the commission of the felony, the lower courts properly imposed the penalty of reclusion perpetua.
While we affirm the CAs factual
findings and the imprisonment imposed, we find it necessary to award the victim
as civil indemnity and P50,000.00 as moral damages, in line with
prevailing jurisprudence. We also
award the victim P30,000.00 as exemplary damages to set an example for
the public good.
P50,000.00 as civil indemnity, P50,000.00
as moral damages, and P30,000.00 as exemplary damages.
ARTURO D. BRION
ANTONIO T. CARPIO
BIENVENIDO L. REYES
A T T E S T A T I O N
I attest that the conclusions in the above Resolution had been reached in consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Courts Division.
ANTONIO T. CARPIO
Chairperson, Second Division
C E R T I F I C A T I O N
Pursuant to Section 13, Article VIII of the Constitution, and the Division Chairperson's Attestation, I certify that the conclusions in the above Resolution had been reached in consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Courts Division.
RENATO C. CORONA
 Penned by Associate Justice Ricardo R. Rosario, and concurred in by Associate Justices Arcangelita Romilla-Lontok and Monina Arevalo Zenarosa; rollo, pp. 3-11.
 Docketed as Criminal Case No. 98-165477; CA rollo, pp. 12-14.
 See REVISED PENAL CODE, Article 267, as amended by Section 8 of Republic Act No. 7659, otherwise known as The Death Penalty Law.
 The RTC forwarded the records of the case to the Court for automatic review. However, pursuant to People v. Mateo (G.R. Nos. 147678-87, July 7, 2004, 433 SCRA 640), we referred the case to the CA for intermediate appellate review; CA rollo, p. 76.
 Supra note 1.
 People of the
 People of the