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DIOXENOS B. SULIT ATTY.

CHRISTINA ARIAS-SUMILONG
I-D LEGAL WRITING
3/31/07

REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES


COURT OF APPEALS
DIVISION II, CITY OF MANILA

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES,


Plaintif-Appellee,

-versus- GA. G.R. No. 123456

PEDRO SARMIENTO Y TORDECILLA


Accused-Appellant,
x------------------------------------------x

APPELLEE’S BRIEF

SUBMITTED BY

OFFICE OF THE SOLICITOR GENERAL


#234 Palack St, GSIS Building,
Brgy. Vito Cruz, Manila, Philippines
By
Dioxenos Barreras Sulit
Associate Solicitor General

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SUBJECT INDEX

Page No. Contents


1 Cover Page
2 Subject Index
3 Prefatory Statement
Counter-Statement
of Facts
5 Counter Arguments
6 Discussion
14 Prayer

Cases Cited (Order of Appearance)


People v. Mendoza, 292 SCRA 168.
People v. Ching, 240 SCRA 267.
People v. Valdez, 150 SCRA 405.
People v. Ancheta, 419 SCRA 307.
People v. Abes, 420 SCRA 259.
People v. Cabato, 160 SCRA 98.
Aportadera v. Court of Appeals, 158 SCRA 695.
People v. Tansiangco, L-128164.
People v. Lachica, 382 SCRA 162.

Law and Annotations Cited


Reyes, Revised Penal Code Book 1, 16th Ed., 124(2006).
Revised Penal Code, Art 14, Par. 6.

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REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES
COURT OF APPEALS
DIVISION II, CITY OF MANILA

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES,


Plaintif-Appellee,

-versus- GA. G.R. No. 123456

PEDRO SARMIENTO Y TORDECILLA


Accused-Appellant,
x------------------------------------------x

APPELLEE’S BRIEF

Plaintiff-appellee PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, represented by the Office of


the Solicitor General in answer to the allegations raised by the accused-appellant in
his Brief, respectfully states:

PREFATORY STATEMENT

Through this appeal, accused-appellant assails the judgment dated 30


November 2006 rendered by Judge Barabas Baldoza of the Regional Trial Court, 12 th
Judicial Regional Branch 15, Quezon City, finding him guilty beyond reasonable doubt
of Robbery with Rape.

COUNTER-STATEMENT OF FACTS

Accused-appellant Pedro Sarmiento y Tordecilla together with co-accused


Timeo Yhaap y Palparan and Antonio Olanne y Bergdugo was charged before the
Regional Trial Court, 12th Judicial Regional Branch 15, Quezon City of robbery with
rape. The case was docketed as Criminal Case No. 123456. The accusatory portion
reads:

“That on or about February 14, 2006, in Quezon City, Philippines, and


within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named
accused, armed with a knife, and gun, conspiring and confederating
together, mutually aiding and assisting with one another, forced open
the red Toyota Corrola Plate No. YHJ123 owned by WANDA S. RIVERA,

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and by means of violence against or intimidation of persons that is, at
gun point, took, stole and carried away the following items: a Apple
laptop computer, black Nokia N91 cellphone, diamond engagement
ring, green Lacoste handbag, and cash, all estimated to be worth
P150,000.00, all belonging to and taken against the will of said
WANDA S. RIVERA, all to the latter’s damage and prejudice; that on
the occasion of means of force and intimidation, did then and there
willfully and feloniously, have carnal knowledge of the said WANDA S.
RIVERA, a 22-year old woman against her will.

CONTRARY TO LAW.”

Upon being arraigned all the accused including accused-appellant Sarmiento


pleaded not guilty to the crime charged.

The prosecution established the guilt of all the accused beyond reasonable
doubt by presenting as evidence the testimony of the victim herself, WANDA S.
RIVERA, and the other witnesses DR. MA. ANNA MAE QUINTO, DEMEK
CATINDOYOK, and ANGELA CATINDOYOK.

WANDA S. RIVERA, the private complainant testified that she was driving
her way to her house passing through Lubayong Street, after working overtime when
two of her tires blew. She got out of the car to survey the damage when suddenly
three men, two of which where armed, grabbed her, forced her car open and took
her personal belongings inside the said car. Thereafter the all the perpetrators
removed their mask one of them pointed a gun at her, took her to a nearby grassy
area then and there forcibly raped her at gunpoint. She was able to identify Timeo
Yhapp as the rapist and the accused-appellant Pedro Sarmiento as the one holding
the knife and was jeering when she was being raped.

DR. MA. ANNA MAE QUINTO was the Medico-Legal officer of the National
Bureau of Investigation who examined Rivera on February 16, 2006 (about 10:30
a.m.), testified that the latter was positive of spermatozoa, vaginal laceration, and
there were also bruises on Wanda’s thighs indicating forced entry on her vagina. Dr.
Quinto presented the following report:

“Genitalia: external examination= abundant pubic hair, nulliparous


outlet, no bleeding note.
= hymen (+) complete, old healed .aceration at 4 and 7 o’clock.
Speculum= vaginal wall no erosion/laceration.
Cervix= pinkish, (+) whitish discharge.
Internal examination= admist 1 finger with ease,
Cervix= closed, small midline, firm, non-tender on wriggling,
Uterus= small,
Adnexae= negative for tenderness.

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Positive for spermatozoa.”

Demek and Angela Catindoyok were the two couple who found the victim
standing by the road around 11:00 p.m. of February 14, 2006 while walking home
after celebrating their first wedding anniversary. Mrs. Catindoyok even testified that
before finding the victim they saw three men running towards them, one of them
was even carrying a Laptop computer. They were able to identify them later in a
police line up as the accused-appellant Pedro Sarmiento and two other co-accused,
Timeo Yhapp and Antonio Olanne.

The accused denied the charges, claiming that they did not know each other.
All of them used the defense of alibi: Timeo Yhapp testified that during the
commission of the crime he was reviewing in his house at Manggahan, Fairview,
Quezon City; Antonio Olanne claimed that he was taking care of his sick
grandmother who was confined at the Philippine General Hospital; and Pedro
Sarmiento claimed that he had slept early that night in his house somewhere in
Cubao, Quezon City. All three presented their relatives as witnesses to corroborate
their respective alibis.

On November 30, 2006 on the strength of the prosecution’s evidence the


Regional Trial Court promulgated its decision. The dispositive portion of the decision
reads:

“WHEREFORE, the Court finds co-accused Timeo Yhapp, Antonio


Olanne, and Pedro Sarmiento GUILTY BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT of
the crime of Robbery with Rape, committing with the use of deadly
weapon and with aggravating circumstances of dwelling, nighttime,
and treachery, without any mitigating circumstance to offset the same.
Considering that there was conspiracy among the accused, they are
hereby sentenced to suffer the penalty of DEATH and its actual
damages; P75,000.00 as civil indemnity; P75,000.00 as moral
damages; P30,000.00 as exemplary damages; and to pay the costs.”

Only one of the accused Pedro Sarmiento appealed the matter to the Court of
Appeals raising his arguments in his Appellant’ Brief.

COUNTER-ARGUMENTS

Plaintiff-appellee raises the following counter-arguments to the assignment of


errors raised by the accused-appellant:

I. The clear and convincing testimony of the private complainant is


credible enough to establish the commission of the crime.

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II. The testimony of the private complainant as well as testimonies of
other prosecution witness clearly established the guilt of the accused
beyond reasonable doubt.

III. The testimonial evidence of the private complainant as well as


applicable laws and jurisprudence clearly established conspiracy
among the accused-appellants.

IV. The testimony of the private complainant as well as the applicable


laws and jurisprudence clearly established that the accused-appellant
conspired with the other accused in the commission of the crime.

V. Positive identification by the private complainant as well as


applicable jurisprudence clearly negates the accused-appellant’s
defense of alibi even if corroborated by another witness.

VI. The court correctly appreciated the aggravating circumstance of


nighttime in the commission of the crime.

VII. The pieces of evidence presented by the prosecution as well as the


clear and credible testimony of the private complainant satisfied the
crucible test of reasonable doubt to overthrow the Constitutional
guaranty of presumption of innocence and clearly established the
accused-appellants guilt beyond reasonable doubt.

Discussion

I. The clear and convincing testimony of the private complainant is


credible enough to establish the commission of the crime.

It must be emphasized that the trial court’s conviction of accused-


appellant Sarmiento was based heavily on the victim’s testimony. In
laying down its decision, the trial court gave full weight and credence
to the testimony of Wanda Rivera, the private complainant.

In crimes were rape is involved, it is a well-settled rule that conviction


may stand on the credible and accurate testimony of the victim alone.1
Ms. Rivera clearly testified that after she was robbed then afterwards
one of the accused took her to a grassy area and while pointing a gun
successfully ravished her.

1
People v. Mendoza, 292 SCRA 168, July 9, 1998.

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xxx xxx xxx
“Atty. Makarate
Q: After they took your material possessions, what
happened next?

A: They removed their mask, and then one of them


pointed a gun at me. He then took me to the talahib
beside my car, removed my clothes and started to kiss
me while caressing my breast. The others were
cheering him on while he was raping me. I was so
scared that I could not move my whole body.”2
xxx xxx xxx (Italics supplied)

Furthermore, no decent and sensible woman would ever publicly admit


that she was raped since she would run the risk of public contempt,
unless she was in fact a rape victim. 3 Ms. Rivera is a well known
professional who did not have any criminal records in the past. If she
was not raped at all, she would not run the risk of public trial and
admit that she was indeed a rape victim.

Moreover, motive against the accused is out of the question since Ms.
Rivera had never seen any of the accused before in her entire life. The
court gives credence to testimony of the victim not only because it is
corroborated by the testimonies of other witnesses, but also because
the victim did not have any motive to falsely implicate the accused.4

II. The testimony of the private complainant as well as testimonies of


other prosecution witness clearly established the guilt of the accused
beyond reasonable doubt.

It must be noted that the prosecution presented four (4) credible


witnesses to prove the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt.

The findings of the trial court on the credibility of witnesses deserve


the highest respect,5 when there is nothing to point out that the
witnesses had improper motives against the accused.6 Sometimes
even the most truthful witnesses make mistakes,7 but these minor

2
TSN dated March 12, 2006 pp. 18-19.
3
People v. Ching, 240 SCRA 267.
4
People v. Valdez, 150 SCRA 405.
5
People v. Ancheta, 419 SCRA 307.
6
People v. Abes, 420 SCRA 259.
7
People v. Cabato, 160 SCRA 98, April 15, 1988.

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inaccuracies only strengthen the veracity of their testimonies on the
ground that it erases the suspicion of a rehearsed testimony.8

The victim Wanda Rivera clearly identified the accused-appellant as


the one who was carrying a knife while the others took her belongings
inside the car. According to her testimony the accused Sarmiento was
also the one who held her while the other accused Yhapp was raping
her. As what was declared in People v. Mendoza,9 a clear and accurate
testimony of the victim herself is enough to warrant a conviction of
rape against the offenders.

Moreover, Ms Wanda’s testimony was corroborated by the testimonies


by the other prosecution witnesses the prosecution presented during
the trial.

Dr. Ma. Anna Mae Quinto positively affirmed in court that there was a
presence of spermatozoa in Ms. Wanda’s genitalia several hours later
after the incident occurred. The Doctor also submitted to the court, as
evidence, her findings after medically examining Ms. Wanda after she
was brought to the police station. The findings states:

xxx xxx xxx


“Genitalia: external examination= abundant pubic hair,
nulliparous outlet, no bleeding note.
= hymen (+) complete, old healed .aceration at 4 and 7
o’clock.
Speculum= vaginal wall no erosion/laceration.
Cervix= pinkish, (+) whitish discharge.
Internal examination= admist 1 finger with ease,
Cervix= closed, small midline, firm, non-tender on wriggling,
Uterus= small,
Adnexae= negative for tenderness.
Positive for spermatozoa.”10
xxx xxx xxx (Italics supplied)

The prosecution also presented as witnesses a couple, Demek and


Angela Catindoyok, who testified before seeing Ms. Rivera at the side
of the road, saw three men running towards their direction and one of
them was even carrying a laptop computer. As Mrs. Catindoyok stated
in her testimony:

xxx xxx xxx

8
Aportadera v. Court of Appeals, 158 SCRA 695.
9
292 SCRA 168.
10
TSN dated April 14, 2006 p. 27.

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“Atty Makarate:
Q: What did you see at the road while walking on the
night of February 15, 2007?

A: While me and Demek were walking along the road,


it was our first wedding anniversary then, we saw
three men running towards us, the tall one was even
carrying a laptop computer. Then we continued
walking and suddenly saw Ms. Rivera on the side of
the road walking weakly and breathing heavily. She
cannot speak then that is why we brought her to the
police. Demek insisted that we first take her to the
police but upon seeing her only wearing a skirt we
took her to the hospital.”11
xxx xxx xxx (Italics supplied)

III. The testimonial evidence of the private complainant as well as


applicable laws and jurisprudence clearly established conspiracy
among the accused-appellants.

The prosecution presented the victim, Ms. Rivera, who testified that
the three accused were only using hand signals and head nods to give
instruction to each and everyone of them during the robbery.
Afterwards the one whom she identified as the apparent leader, Timeo
Yhapp barked at the others telling them that she was too beautiful to
be true and thus Yhapp must taste her. Upon kissing her the two (2)
other accused jeered.12 Under Article 8 of the Revised Penal Code,
when the crime is already committed, conspiracy will not be
appreciated as a separate offense but as a manner of incurring
criminal liability, the act of one is the act of all, regardless of the
extent of the participation of the other offenders.13

Furthermore, in a long line of cases it is declared that the existence of


conspiracy need not be expressed by direct evidence it may be implied
from the acts of the accused although they don’t even know each
other, as what was declared in People v. Aguilos:

xxx xxx xxx


“Conspiracy need not be proven by direct evidence. After all,
secrecy and concealment are essential features of a successful
conspiracy. It may be inferred from the conduct of the accused
before, during and after the commission of the crime, showing
that they had acted with a common purpose and design.

11
TSN dated March 31, 2006 p. 22.
12
TSN dated March 12, 2006 p. 15.
13
Citing Luis Reyes, Revised Penal Code Book 1, 16th Ed., 124(2006).

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Conspiracy may be implied if it is proved that two or more
persons aimed by their acts towards the accomplishment of
the same unlawful object, each doing a part so that their
combined acts, though apparently independent of each other,
were, in fact, connected and cooperative, indicating a
closeness of personal association and a concurrence of
sentiment. There may be conspiracy even if an offender does
not know the identities of the other offenders, and even
though he is not aware of all the details of the plan of
operation or was not in on the scheme from the beginning.
One need only to knowingly contribute his efforts in
furtherance of it. One who joins a criminal conspiracy in effect
adopts as his own the criminal designs of his co-
conspirators.” 14

xxx xxx xxx (Italics supplied)

IV. The testimony of the private complainant as well as the applicable


laws and jurisprudence clearly established that the accused-appellant
conspired with the other accused in the commission of the crime.

When the prosecution presented Ms. Wanda, the victim, she positively
identified the accused-appellant Pedro Sarmiento as the one who
carried the knife while opening the door of the car, and also she
identified Sarmiento as the one who held her hand while Yhapp was
raping her, and all the while the accused-appellant was jeering and
clapping his hand.15

Since Robbery with Rape16 was committed, all those who committed
robbery will also be liable for the rape committed; the conspiracy to
rob is all that is needed to punish them all as principals in the
commission of the crime.17

Although the accused-appellant testified that he was not the one who
committed the rape, he did not say that he prevented the commission
of rape done by his companion.18 The accused to be exonerated of
liability in the rape must prove that he prevented the commission of
rape.19

The accused-appellant said in his testimony that he did not know the
other accused. Granting for the sake of argument that this is true,

14
GR. 121828, June 27, 2003.
15
TSN dated March 31, 2006 p. 23.
16
Revised Penal Code, Art 294.
17
People v. Mendoza, July 9, 1998, 292 SCRA 168.
18
TSN dated March 31, 2006 p. 24.
19
People v. Mendoza, 292 SCRA 168.

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under the Doctrine of Implied Conspiracy, the Honorable Supreme
Court declared in the Aguilos case,20 conspiracy may exist although the
offenders do not know each other as long as their acts show a
common design.

V. Positive identification by the private complainant as well as


applicable jurisprudence clearly negates the accused-appellant’s
defense of alibi even if corroborated by another witness.

The accused-appellant used the defense of alibi. In his testimony, he


said that he slept early that night in his house somewhere in Cubao,
Quezon City. He also presented his uncle, Dominodor Burao, as a
witness to corroborate his alibi.21 But his allege uncle’s testimony is
self serving then after the victim positively identified him as one of the
robbers after all of them removed their mask. As it was declared in
People v. Corpuz,22 if the alibi of the accused can only be confirmed by
his relatives, his denial of culpability deserves scant consideration,
especially, in the face of affirmative testimony of the victim as to his
presence in the crime scene.

Furthermore, in order for the court to appreciate the accused-


appellants’ defense of alibi, it must be physically impossible for him to
be at the scene of the crime during its commission. 23 Sarmiento was
only said he was at his house in Cubao which is only two (2) corners
away from Lubayong Street, the area where the crime took place.

Moreover, it is a well settled rule that the defense of alibi is worthless


in the face of positive identification of prosecution witnesses 24 or the
offended party.25 Ms. Rivera positively identified Mr. Sarmiento as the
one holding the knife and as the one cheering Yhapp on while she was
being ravished by the latter.26

VI. The court correctly appreciated the aggravating circumstance of


nighttime in the commission of the crime.

20
GR. 121828, June 27, 2003
21
TSN dated March 31, 2006 p. 24.
22
240 SCRA 203, (1995).
23
Ibid.
24
People v. Tansiangco, L-128164, February 28, 1964.
25
People v. Lachica, 382 SCRA 162.
26
TSN dated March 12, 2006 p. 14.

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Aside from the fact that the crime happened during the night the
victim Ms. Rivera, testified that she always passes by Lubayong Street
on her way to work. Furthermore it is well known that Lubayong Street
is one of the busiest streets in the Cubao area. This clearly implicates
that the accused would not have been successful if they carried out
their plan during the day time. That is why they waited for their victim
at end of dusk to take advantage of the silence of the night. Under the
Article 14 of the Penal Code,27 nighttime is appreciated when it was
purposely sought for by the offenders. Furthermore when the offender
took advantage of nighttime or the same facilitated the commission of
the crime, nighttime need not be specifically sought for.28

VII. The pieces of evidence presented by the prosecution as well as the


clear and credible testimony of the private complainant satisfied the
crucible test of reasonable doubt to overthrow the Constitutional
guaranty of presumption of innocence and clearly established the
accused-appellants guilt beyond reasonable doubt.

The prosecution presented four (4) witnesses including the victim


herself to prove the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt
withstanding the crucible test of reasonable doubt and overthrowing
the presumption of innocence of the said appellant.

The victim Wanda Rivera positively identified all of the accused when
they removed their mask after robbing her.29 She also identified Yhapp
as the one who raped her while the accused-appellant Sarmiento was
jeering her. It is a well settled rule in this jurisdiction that an accurate
and convincing testimony of the rape victim alone is enough to
warrant a conviction for rape since no decent woman would publicly
admit that she was raped and face public contempt, unless she was in
fact ravished.30

Although the victim’s testimony is enough to warrant conviction it was


even corroborated by the other witnesses presented by the
prosecution. Dr. Quinto testified that Ms. Rivera was positive of fresh
spermatozoa and vaginal laceration upon physical examination, after
the latter was brought to her clinic. She positively stated in her
affidavit that Ms. Rivera indeed had carnal knowledge during the time
when she examined her.31

27
Revised Penal Code, Art 14, Par. 6.
28
Citing Luis Reyes, Revised Penal Code Book 1, 16th Ed., 364(2006).
29
TSN dated March 12, 2006 p. 11.
30
People v. Mendoza, July 9, 1998, 292 SCRA 168.
31
TSN dated March 12, 2006 pp. 8-9.

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Moreover, the prosecution presented a couple, Demek and Angela
Catindoyok that found Ms. Rivera traumatized by the side walk at
Lubayong Street in Cubao.32 Angela Catindoyok even testified that she
saw the three men running towards their direction and one of them
was carrying a laptop as the place where they incidentally met was
illuminated by post lights in the said street.33

PRAYER

32
TSN dated March 12, 2006 pp. 14-15.
33
Ibid.

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VIEWED IN THE FOREGOING LIGHT, it is respectfully prayed for that the
instant appeal be DENIED for lack of merit.

Other relief and remedies as are just and equitable, are likewise prayed for.

March 31, 2006 Manila City, Philippines

OFFICE OF THE SOLICITOR GENERAL


#234 Palack St, GSIS Building,
Brgy. Vito Cruz, Manila, Philippines
By
Dioxenos Barreras Sulit
Associate Solicitor General

Copy Furnished
Atty. Zelpidio Paparan
Epal Law Office
LTA, Bldg. Salcedo Village, Makati
Counsel of the Accused-appellant

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