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THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES (Appellee)

Versus
LAMBERTO RAFON (Appellant)
G.R. No. 169059, September 5, 2007

THE CASE:
The case is an appeal of the Decision rendered by the Court of Appeals dated March 5, 2005. The CA
affirmed the Decision of the RTC of Gumaca, Quezon which sentenced the appellant Lamberto Rafon to
death for raping his minor daughter AAA.

THE FACTS (BASED ON THE TESTIMONY OF THE VICTIM):


Sometime in 1994 at Gumaca, Quezon, appellant first raped his daughter AAA in their house when the
latter was in Grade Five and while her mother was working overseas. Her two younger brothers were at a
neighbors house watching television, while her two sisters were studying in the poblacion. Appellant,
who was drunk, allegedly forced her to lie down on the papag and remove her clothes. He then warned
her not to make any noise, or he would kill her and her siblings. Appellant started kissing her and then
she felt pain when he inserted his penis inside her vagina and proceeded to have sexual intercourse with
her. She tried to cross her legs but was overpowered by the appellant and she could not do anything but
cry silently. She did not report the harrowing experience to anyone for fear that appellant would commit
his threats.
Appellant allegedly raped AAA several more times thereafter until she was in second year high school, the
last incident being sometime in 1998. The latter recalled that the last incident was similar to the first, with
the appellant forcing her to lie down and to remove her clothes, and successfully having his way with her.
Afraid of what appellant might do to her and her family, AAA did not dare tell her mother BBB of her
sufferings in the hands of her father. It was at the instance of her boyfriend to whom she first revealed the
truth about her father that she eventually had the courage to tell BBB. When BBB arrived home in
January 1999, AAA relayed the rape incidents to her and they both went to the police to report the matter.
Dr. Daquilanea testified that AAA went to see her on January 4, 1999 at the Dona Marta District Hospital
to have herself examined because she was raped. The doctor found healed multiple laceration of the
hymen in AAA at the 3 oclock, 6 oclock, and 9 oclock positions that according to her could have been
caused by sexual intercourse.

THE CONTENTION OF THE APPELLANT:


As the lone witness for his defense, appellant denied the charges against him. He testified that AAA was
his daughter and he was legally married to BBB. From 1994 to 1998, he worked as a laborer so that he
sometimes went to Lopez, Quezon to haul coco lumber. Averring that BBB never left their house during
the said period. However, on cross-examination, appellant testified that BBB had been working as a
beautician in Saudi Arabia since 1995 and came home for a vacation every two years. Appellants
parents allegedly stayed with them in their house while BBB was away.
Appellant also testified the following reasons why AAA filed a rape case against him:

1) It was his brother-in-law CCC who had a grudge against him because the latter wanted a share in
the money sent to him by his wife.
2) CCC allegedly initiated the criminal complaint against him because he owed appellant P10,000
and was angry at him.

THE RULING OF THE RTC:


The RTC found the appellant guilty beyond reasonable doubt of two (2) counts of rape, as defined and
penalized under Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by R.A. No. 7659. The first count
was statutory rape, penalized under Article 335 of the RPC. The second count was qualified rape,
punishable under Articles 266-A and 266-B of the RPC, as introduced by the Anti-Rape Law of 1997. It
imposed the penalty of death for each crime of rape.
The RTC also ordered the appellant to indemnify AAA the following:
1) For each act of rape = P75,000 for each act, or a total of P150,000.
2) Moral damages = P20,000
3) Exemplary damages = P10,000 for each count of rape, or the total amount of P60,000.
The RTC also ordered appellant to pay the cost of suit.
The case was thereafter elevated to the Supreme Court on automatic review. The parties were directed
to file their respective Briefs, and both complied.
On September 21, 2004, the Supreme Court issued a Resolution transferring the case to the Court of
Appeals for intermediate review.

THE RULING OF THE COURT OF APPEALS:


The Court of Appeals affirmed the judgment of the RTC with modification. It denied the appeal of the
appellant. It ordered that:
1) Appellant be liable for moral damages amounting to P50,000.
2) Appellant be liable for P25,000 as exemplary damages for each count of rape.

THE ISSUES:
FIRST ISSUE: Whether the RTC erred in giving credence to the testimony of AAA, which according to
him was unreliable and unbelievable.
SECOND ISSUE: Whether the statement in the information, which indicated only the year of commission
was too vague so that he was deprived of his constitutional right to be informed of the accusation against
him and to fully prepare for his defense.
THIRD ISSUE: Whether the RTC erred in finding him guilty beyond reasonable doubt despite the
appellants contention of uncertainty of the commission of the crime charged.

THE RULING OF THE SUPREME COURT:

The Supreme Court affirmed both the RTC and CA Decisions in finding the appellant guilty beyond
reasonable doubt of two (2) counts of qualified rape. However, appellant was sentenced to suffer only the
penalty of reclusion perpetua since the death penalty was abolished by virtue of R.A. No. 9346.
The Supreme Court ordered that appellant be liable to pay private complainant AAA:
1) P75,000 as civil indemnity.
2) P75,000 as moral damages.
3) P25,000 as exemplary damages.

THE BASES OF THE SUPREME COURT RULING:


REGARDING THE FIRST ISSUE: Whether the RTC erred in giving credence to the testimony of
AAA, which according to him was unreliable and unbelievable.
SC: No. The RTC did not err in giving credence to the testimony of AAA, which according to him
was unreliable and unbelievable.
1) The time of the commission is not a material ingredient of rape.
In the case of People vs. Bugayong, the Supreme Court held that when the time given in the
complaint is not of the essence of the offense, it need to be proven as alleged and the complaint
will be sustained if the proof shows that the offense was committed at any time within the period
of the statute of limitations and before the commencement of the action.
2) Adverted inconsistencies regarding the testimony of the victim in rape cases are minor
and inconsequential. They are plainly insufficient to render complainants testimony
doubtful, more they do not negate the commission of rape.
a) Appellant erred in his contention that the testimony of AAA was futile because of three
reasons: (A) That on direct examination, she states that she removed her clothes but not
cross-examination, she testified that it was her appellant who undressed her, (B) That she
narrated that her brothers were watching television at their neighbors house when her
father first raped her but when asked again later, she answered that they were sleeping,
and (C) She claimed that her mother was abroad when the rape incidents transpired but
her mother never left the house in the years 1994 to 1998.
b) The testimony of a witness must be considered and calibrated in its entirety, and not in
truncated portions or isolated passages.
c) AAAs clear and categorical narration of the sexual assaults against her, free from
material inconsistency. Deserves full faith and credence especially when set against
appellants bare denial.
d) It is unbelievable that complainant would falsely accused her own father of committing so
grave a crime as rape only to fuel a grudge harbored by her uncle. There is no other
conclusion than that her declarations bear the ring of truth.
e) The ascendancy of influence flows from the fathers parental authority over his children
and from the latters correlative duty of reverence and respect against the former. The
employment of threats and intimidation in order to subject AAA to his evil desires coupled
with his moral ascendancy and influence over her are sufficient factors to build a climate
of psychological terror.

REGARDING THE SECOND ISSUE: The statement in the information, which indicated only the
year of commission was too vague so that he was deprived of his constitutional right to be
informed of the accusation against him and to fully prepare for his defense.
SC: No. The contention of the appellant was erroneous because the information had sufficiently
stated the acts committed that composes the offense charged.
1) The objection raised by the appellant was raise belatedly, and he should have made his
objection before he was arraigned.
a) Section 9, Rule 117 of the Rules of Criminal Procedure provides that The failure of the
accused to assert any ground of a motion to quash before he pleads to the complaint or
information, either because he did not file a motion to quash or failed to allege the same in
said motion, shall be deemed a waiver of any objections except those based on the grounds
provided for in Paragraphs (a), (b), (g) and (i) of Section 3 of this Rule.
b) He did not timely object to the alleged defects in the information and he actively participated
in the trial, defending himself and confronted the witnesses against him. Hence there was no
denial of due process.
2) It is unnecessary to state in the information the precise date that the offense was
committed, except when it is an essential element of the offense.
a) The date of commission is not an element of the offense of rape.
b) The gravamen of rape is carnal knowledge of a woman under any of the circumstances
provided by law.
3) A rape victim is not expected to mechanically keep memory details of the rape incident,
and then when called to testify, automatically give an accurate account of the traumatic
experience she suffered.
REGARDING THE THIRD ISSUE: Whether or not the RTC erred in finding him guilty beyond
reasonable doubt despite the appellants contention of uncertainty of the commission of the crime
charged.
SC: No. The RTC did not commit error when it found appellant guilty beyond reasonable doubt.
The essential elements of the crime of rape was sufficiently established in the information the
exact date of birth of AAA (November 3, 1983), her age at the time she was raped, and the proof
that carnal knowledge was committed against the victim.
1) The appellant committed statutory rape in 1994 against AAA, since she was only 11 years
old at that time.
a) The applicable law then is governed by Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code before the
enactment of R.A. No. 8353 or the Anti-Rape Law of 1997.
b) An essential element of the offense is that the victim is under 12 years of age. Having carnal
knowledge with a woman under 12 years of age is considered statutory rape.
c) The offense, being statutory rape, what essentially had to establish was simply the fact of
having sexual intercourse with AAA.
d) Proof of the use of force in committing the sexual act was unnecessary and superfluous.
2) The appellant committed qualified rape in 1998 against AAA, since she was already 15
years old at that time.
a) The applicable law which the offense falls under Paragraph 1 (a) of Article 266-A and 266-B
of the Revised Penal Code, as amended.

b) An essential element of qualified rape is that the carnal knowledge occurred through the use
of force, threat or intimidation. In the present case, the appellant threatened to kill AAA and
his brothers if she refused or tell other people about the incident.
3) The relation that existed between the complainant and the accused/appellant was also
established beyond cavil not only as shown in the birth certificate of AAA but also by the
testimony of both complainant and the accused.
a) The appellant acknowledged that AAA was his daughter.
b) The complainant AAA acknowledged that the person who raped her was her father.
4) The complainant AAAs testimony is corroborated by physical evidence, she having
sustained laceration of the hymen.
5) In both rape cases, the complainant AAA was under 18 years of age at that time. Hence,
the crime of rape was sufficiently proved.
6) The Court of Appeals correctly affirmed the decision of the RTC.
a) The appellate court did not find errors in the decision of the RTC.
b) There was no overlooked, misunderstood, or misapplied fact, circumstance of weight and
substance that would have affected the result of the case.
c) The credibility of the witnesses was established by the RTC. The witnesses were considered
credible because they testified in a categorical, straightforward, spontaneous, frank and
consistent manner.