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G.R. No.

90342

May 27, 1993

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,


vs.
HILARIO MACASLING, JR. y COLOCADO, accused-appellant.
The Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee.
Public Attorney's Office for accused-appellant.
FELICIANO, J.:
Hilario Macasling, Jr. appeals from the Decision of the Regional Trial Court
which sentenced him to suffer life imprisonment, to pay a fine and costs of
litigation.
Appellant Macasling was charged with violation of Republic Act ("R.A.") No.
6425, as amended, in an information which reads as follows:
The undersigned accuses Hilario Macasling, Jr. y Colocado for violation of
Section 21(b) in relation to Section IV, Article II of Republic Act No. 6425,
as amended by Batas Pambansa Blg. 179 (Sale, Administration, Delivery,
Transportation & Distribution), committed as follows:
That on or about the 20th day of August 1988, in the City of Baguio,
Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the abovenamed accused, not authorized by law, did then and there, wilfully,
unlawfully and feloniously sell, deliver, distribute, dispatch in transit or
transport fifty (50) grams of shabu, knowing fully well that said shabu [is]
a prohibited drug, in violation of the above-mentioned provision of law. 1
Appellant entered a plea of not guilty at arraignment and the case
proceeded to trial. After trial, on 18 August 1989, the trial court rendered
a decision with the following dispositive portion:
WHEREFORE, in view of all the foregoing, the Court finds the accused
Hilario Macasling, Jr. guilty beyond reasonable doubt of transporting
and/or attempting to deliver 50 grams of shabu in violation of Section
21(b), Article IV in relation to Section 15, Article III, in relation to No. 2(e),
Section 2, Article I of Republic Act No. 6425, as amended, and hereby
sentences him to life imprisonment and to pay the fine of Twenty

Thousand (P20,000.00) Pesos, without subsidiary imprisonment in case of


insolvency, and to pay the costs.
The 50 grams of shabu contained in the wrapped package marked Happy
Days (Exh. H and series) being the subject of the crime, is hereby declared
confiscated and forfeited in favor of the State and referred to the
Dangerous Drugs Board for immediate destruction.
The accused Hilario Macasling, Jr. being a detention prisoner is entitled to
be credited 4/5 of his preventive imprisonment in the service of his
sentence under Article 29 of the Revised Penal Code.
So Ordered. 2
The evidence of record discloses that on 19 August 1988, at about 3:00
o'clock in the afternoon, Lt. Manuel Obrera, Chief of the Narcotics and
Intelligence Division, Integrated National Police ("INP"), Baguio City,
received a telephone call from the Chief of the Narcotics Command
("Narcom"), First Regional Unit, INP. The latter sought the assistance of Lt.
Obrera in the apprehension of appellant, who according to the Narcom
Chief, would be delivering shabu at Room No. 77 of the Hyatt Terraces
Hotel in Baguio City, on that same afternoon. Lt. Obrera quickly formed a
team which include Pat. Ramoncito Bueno, Pat. Martel Nillo and himself
and hastily left for the hotel. There they were met by the Narcom Chief
who informed them that appellant Macasling had previously agreed with a
Chinese businessman in Las Pinas, Metro Manila, that appellant would
deliver about 250 grams of shabu at Room 77 of the Hyatt Terraces Hotel.
Accordingly, Lt. Obrera and his companions waited inside Room No. 77 of
the hotel, for appellant to show up. Appellant, however, did not arrive that
afternoon. Instead, he arrived at the Hyatt Terraces Hotel at about 1:00
o'clock in the early morning of the following day, together with one Editha
Gagarin and a third person who was an undercover Narcom agent. Lt.
Obrera opened the door of Room No. 77 to let appellant and his party in,
upon noticing that the Narcom agent was combing his hair, which was prearranged signal meaning that appellant had the shabu in his possession.
When appellant and his party were inside Room No. 77, Lt. Obrera and his
companions identified themselves to appellant and asked him about the
shabu. Appellant handed over a small package with a wrapper marked
"Happy Days" which, upon being opened by arresting officers, was found
to contain about 50 grams of crystalline granules. 3 Appellant and Editha

Gagarin were brought to Camp Bado, Dangwa, La Trinidad, Benguet,


where the fact of their arrest was officially recorded. They were later
transferred to the Baguio City Jail as detention prisoners. The crystalline
granules were forwarded to the INP Crime Laboratory in Camp Crame,
Quezon City, for examination. The Forensic Chemist in charge of the
examination subjected the granules to four (4) different tests, namely, the
color test, the melting point test, the thin layer chromatography test, and
the spectro-infra red test. All the test showed the presence of
metamphetamine hydrochloride, the scientific name of the substance
popularly called shabu. 4
The investigation by the City Prosecutor of Baguio City initially included
Editha Gagarin. However, upon the basis of a letter written by appellant
Macasling admitting sole responsibility for the acts charged in the
information, Editha was excluded from the information. In that letter,
appellant stated that Editha was completely innocent, and that she had
merely come along with appellant at his invitation, to Baguio City.
Appellant Macasling made the following assignment of errors in his Brief:
1.
The lower court erred in not holding that since the arresting officers
were not armed with a search warrant of arrest, the arrest and consequent
confiscation of the package with a wrapper marked 'Happy Days'
contain[ing] 50 grams of shabu (Exh. H and series) are illegal and
unlawful, hence are inadmissible in evidence.
2.
The lower court erred in not acquitting the accused on the ground
that 'shabu' is not of those mentioned in R.A. No. 6425, as amended.
3.
The lower court erred in not acquitting the accused on the ground
that he was deprived of his constitutional right to be informed of the
nature and the cause of the accusation against him. 5
We shall consider the above alleged errors though not in the order
submitted by appellant.
We consider first appellant's argument that he cannot be convicted of the
offense charged in the information considering that shabu the term in
the information is not a dangerous drug, since it is not one of those
enumerated as such in R.A. No. 6425 (The Dangerous Drugs Act).

R.A. No. 6425, as amended, distinguishes between "prohibited drugs" and


"regulated drugs." Article I, Section 2 (e) defines the term "dangerous
drugs" as referring either to "prohibited drugs" or to "regulated drugs" in
the following manner:
(e)

"Dangerous drugs" refers to either:

(1)
"Prohibited drug" which includes opium and its active components
and derivatives, such as heroin and morphine; coca leaf and its
derivativeness; principally cocaine; alpha and beta eucaine,
hallucinogenic drugs, such as mescaline, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD)
and other substances producing similar effects; Indian hemp and its
derivatives; all preparations made from any of the foregoing; and other
drugs and chemical preparations, whether natural or synthetic, with the
physiological effects of a narcotic or a hallucinogenic drug; or (As
amended by B.P. Blg. 179, March 12, 1982.)
(2)
"Regulated drug" which includes self-inducing sedatives, such as
secobarbital, phenobarbital, pentobarbital, barbital, amobarbital and any
other drug which contains a salt or derivative of a salt of barbituric acid;
and salt, isomer or salt of an isomer, of amphetamine, such as benzedrine
or dexedrine, or any drug which produces a physiological action similar to
amphetamine; and hypnotic drugs, such as methaqualone, nitrazepam or
any other compound producing similar physiological effects (as amended
by P.D. No. 1683, March 14, 1980.)
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(Emphasis supplied)
The statute penalizes the sale, administration, delivery, distribution and
transportation of both "prohibited drugs" and "regulated drugs:"
Article II
Prohibited Drugs
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Sec. 4.
Sale, Administration, Delivery, Distribution and
Transportation of Prohibited Drugs. The penalty of life imprisonment to
death and a fine ranging from twenty thousand to thirty thousand pesos
shall be imposed upon any person who, unless authorized by law, shall

sell, administer, deliver, give away to another, distribute, dispatch in


transit or transport any prohibited drug, or shall act as broker in any of
such transactions. If the victim of the offense is a minor, or should a
prohibited drug involved in any offense under this Section be the
proximate cause of the victim thereof, the maximum penalty herein
provided shall be imposed. (As amended by P.D. No. 1675, February 17,
1980.)
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Article III
Regulated Drugs
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Sec. 15.
Sale, Administration, Dispensation, Delivery, Transportation
and Distribution of Regulated Drugs. The penalty of life imprisonment to
death and a fine ranging from twenty thousand to thirty thousand pesos
shall be imposed upon any person who, unless authorized by law, shall
sell, dispense, deliver, transport or distribute any regulated drug. If the
victim of the offense is a minor, or should a regulated drug involved in any
offense under this section be the proximate cause of the death of the
victim thereof, the maximum penalty herein provided shall be imposed.
(As amended by P.D. No. 1683, March 14, 1980.)
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(Emphasis supplied)
The trial court after noting the above-quoted provisions of the statute,
went on to say that:
From the above provisions of law, it is clear that shabu which is the street
name of metamphetamine hydrochloride, is not among those enumerated
as prohibited drugs under No. 1 (e), Section 2, Article I on Definition of
Terms of Republic Act 6425, as amended.
Obviously, metamphetamine hydrochloride (shabu) is a derivative of
amphetamine or a compound thereof, meaning to say, amphetamine in
combination with other drugs or elements which, if one looks closer, is

actually enumerated among the regulated drugs under No. 2(e), Section 2,
Article I on Definition of Terms of Republic Act 6425, as amended.
Note that the law says when it defines regulated drugs as those "which
includes self inducing sedatives such as . . . of amphetamine such as
benzedrine or dexedrine, or any other drug which produces a physiological
action similar to amphetamine, and hypnotic drugs, such as
methaqualone or any other compound producing similar physiological
effect." Since shabu is actually metamphetamine hydrochloride, it would
then be obvious that its component parts would be the compound of
amphetamine with other elements to form metamphetamine
hydrochloride. In other words, among the elements contained in
metamphetamine hydrochloride is amphetamine, a regulated drug.
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(Emphasis supplied)
We agree with the above ruling of the trial court. This Court has in fact
taken judicial notice that shabu is a "street name" for metamphetamine
hydrochloride (or "methyl amphetamine hydrochloride"). 7 Considering
the chemical composition of shabu, the Court has declared that shabu is a
derivative of a regulated drug, 8 the possession, sale, transportation, etc.
of which is subject to the provisions of R.A. No. 6425 as amended. It
remains only to point out that, in the case at bar, the laboratory
examination conducted on the crystalline granules recovered from
appellant in fact yielded the compound metamphetamine hydrochloride.
The use in the criminal information of the casual or vulgar term shabu
rather than the scientific term metamphetamine hydrochloride, does not
affect the legal responsibility of appellant under the relevant provisions of
R.A. No. 6425 as amended.
It is true, as pointed out by the trial court, that the preambular portion of
the criminal information in this case referred to violation of "Section 21 (b)
in relation to Section 4, Article II of R.A. No. 6425 as amended by Batas
Pambansa Blg. 179." Section 21 (b) of the statute reads as follows:
Sec. 21.
Attempt and Conspiracy. The same penalty prescribed by
this Act for the commission of the offense shall be imposed in case of any
attempt or conspiracy to commit the same in the following case:
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(b)
Sale, Administration, delivery, distribution and transportation of
dangerous drugs;

(Emphasis supplied)

The Court stressed this point as in the body of the Information what is
alleged as the offense committed is that the accused unlawfully and
feloniously sell, deliver, distribute, dispatch in transit or transport 50
grams of shabu knowing fully well that said shabu is a prohibited durg in
violation of the law.

Section 4, Article II of the statute deals with "sale, administration,


distribution and transportation of prohibited drugs." Upon the other hand,
Section 15 of the statute is concerned with the "sale, administration,
dispensation, delivery, transportation and distribution of regulated drugs."
It will be recalled that the term "dangerous drugs" as used in the statute
covers both "prohibited drugs" and "regulated drugs." Thus, again as
pointed out by the trial court, the opening clause of the information
should, more precisely, have referred to Section 15 which deals with
"regulated drugs" rather than to Section 4 which refers to "prohibited
drugs." This imprecision in the specification of the appropriate section of
R.A. No. 6425 as amended has, however, no consequences in the case at
bar. For it is the character of the acts charged in the criminal information
and proven at the trial that is important, rather than the correctness of the
designation of the section and article of the statute violated. It should also
not escape notice that the penalty provided in Section 4: "life
imprisonment to death and a fine ranging from P20,000.00 to
P30,000.00," is exactly the same penalty imposed in Section 15 of the
statute.

It can readily be seen that the subject matter of the offense, as recited in
the body of the Information, is the transport or sale or delivery of the 50
grams of shabu. This is the allegation of fact in respect to the acts
consituting the offense. This is the offense that would need to be proved.
However, the allegation that shabu is a prohibited drug is a conclusion of
law. Apparently, the prosecutor, who filed the Inforamtion considered
shabu a prohibited drug. Thus, the prosecutor designated the offense as a
violation of Section 21 (b) in relation to Section 4, Article II of Republic Act
No. 6425, as amended. The Court pointed this out as should shabu, which
really is the street name of metamphetamine hydrochloride be, in fact, a
regulated drug, the the designation of the offense should have been
Violation of Section 21 (b), Article IV in relation to Section 15, Article III of
Republic Act 6425, as amended. But note, despite the mistaken
designation of he offense for as recited in the body of the Information,
what is charged is still the sale, transport or delivery of 50 grams of
shabu. That is the one important. Only the designation of the offense was
a mistake from regulated drug to prohibited drug which is a conclusion of
law.

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In much the same way, appellant's contention that he had been deprived
of his right to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation
against him, is bereft of merit. The acts with which he was charged are
quite plainly set out in the operative portion of the criminal information:
that appellant "did willfully, unlawfully and feloniously sell, deliver,
distributed, dispatch in transit or transport 50 grams of shabu, knowing
fully well that said shabu [is] a prohibited drug . . .". We agree with the
trial court that the use of the term "prohibited drug" was merely a
conclusion of law, something which is for the Court to determine; in the
circumstances of this case, the inaccurate use of the term "prohibited
drug" was also merely a falsa descriptio. The trial court said:

This would not violate the constitutional right of the accused to be


informed of the nature and cause of the accuasation against him. As in
fact, the accused is still informed of the offense charged, that is, the
unlawful, transport, sale or delivery of 50 grams of shabu.
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(Emphasis partly in the original and partly supplied)


Appellant's next contention is that because he was not lawfully arrested,
the package with a "Happy Days" wrapper containing 50 grams of shabu,
taken from him was inadmissible in evidence. Appellant's claim that he
was unlawfully arrested is anchored on the fact that the arresting officers
had neither warrant of arrest nor a search warrant.

The basic difficulty with appellant's contention is that it totally disregards


the antecedents of the arrest of the appellant inside Room No. 77 of the
Hyatt Terraces Hotel. It will be recalled that the arresting officers had been
informed by the Chief of the Narcom Regional Office that a transaction
had been agreed upon by appellant in Las Pinas, Metro Manila, involving
delivery of shabu, which delivery was, however, to take place in Room No.
77 at the Hyatt Terraces Hotel in Baguio City. Only appellant with Editha
Gagarin and the undercover Narcom agent showed up at Room No. 77 at
the Hyatt Terraces Hotel and the Narcom undercover agent had signalled
that appellant had with him the shabu. The reception prepared by the
arresting officers for appellant inside Room No. 77 was in fact an
entrapment operation. The sale of the shabu (understood as the meeting
of the minds of seller and buyer) did not, of course, take place in the
presence of the arresting officers. The delivery or attempted delivery of
the subject matter did, however, take place in their presence. The trial
court explained:
The situation at hand is no different from a buy bust operation and is in
fact part of a buy bust operation. It must be stressed that the sale was
transacted and closed in Las Pinas, Metro Manila by a Chinese
businessman but the delivery was directed to be made in Room 77, Hyatt
Terraces, Baguio. And instead of the Chinese businessman being inside
Room 77 to receive the delivery, the Narcom elements took his place to
entrap the party that will deliver.
Normally, the buy bust operation may take the form of both the
negotiation for the sale and delivery being made in the same place
between the seller and the poseur buyer. And when the sale is agreed
upon, on the same occasion the drug is delivered upon the payment being
given. And it is at this juncture that the police or the Narcom elements
close in to arrest the offender in the act of selling and delivering. This is
the classic case of a "buy-bust" operation, to bust drug pushing.
But surely, there are variations of a "buy-bust" operation, where the sale is
agreed upon in one place like on the street and then the delivery is to be
made in another place as when the buyer and the seller proceed to the
house where the drug is stored for the delivery. And upon the delivery of
the drug by the seller to the buyer, the police elements will arrest the
seller in the act of delivering.

And in the case at bar, the situation is but an extension of the second
variation above illustrated where the sale is agreed upon in one place but
the delivery is to be made in another place. As here the sale was agreed
upon in Las Pinas but the delivery is to be made in a far away place, in
Hyatt Terraces, Baguio City. Surely, the above is still part and parcel of a
buy bust operation although as we said it is more a "buy the delivery"
operation.
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The fact that the Narcom got to know beforehand the delivery to be made
thru their intelligence sources must be given credence by the Court. Like
any other organization fighting the crime on drugs, the Narcom must have
intelligence sources or it cannot perform its functions well and fulfill its
mission.
Thus, to wait for the delivery, the Narcom elements deployed themselves
inside Room 77 in place of the Chinese businessman to entrap the party
who will appear to deliver the shabu which they would be in his
possession thru a pre-arranged signal of their undercover agent.
Whosoever comes and appear at Room 77 would be it. All other persons
are unexpected (sic) to come to Room 77 and have no business appearing
there except to deliver the shabu unless explained. And ultimately their
waiting paid off as accused Hilario Macasling, Jr. appeared in Room 77 to
deliver the shabu and from whom it was taken by the Narcom. The lack of
warrant of arrest is not fatal as this would be covered by the situation
provided for warrantless arrests under Section 5, Rule 113 of the Rules of
Court where an offender is arrested while actually committing and offense
or attempting to commit the offense in the presence of a peace officer.
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The Court must stressed that the situation in the case at bar is very
different from a situation where the law enforcing agents or elements will
simply accost people at random on the road, street, boat, plane or bus
without any pre-arranged transaction and without warrant of arrest or
search warrant and by chance find drugs in the possession of a passerby.
This latter situation is clearly not permissible and would be in violation of
the constitutional rights of a person against unreasonable searches and

seizures. This would be a fishing expedition. You search first, and if you
find anything unlawful you arrest.
But here it is not at random. There was a previous unlawful transaction.
There is a designated place for delivery, Room 77 and a specified time
frame, that very day of August 19, 1988 or thereabouts, and limited to a
particular person, in the sense that whoever would appear thereat would
be it. Those who don't knock at Room 77 and don't go inside Room 77 will
not certainly be arrested. But those who will there at that time and in that
place will surely be arrested because of the advance information, thru the
intelligence sources, on the delivery and the prior transaction made. This
makes a lot of difference.
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But in the case at bar, accused Hilario Macasling, Jr., at the time of his
arrest, was actually in the act of committing a crime or attempting to
commit a crime in the presence of the peace officers as he appeared there
in Room 77 to deliver 50 grams of shabu, a regulated drug, which was
previously bought but directed to be delivered thereat.
The accused had no reason to be at Room 77, knocking therein, and going
inside, if he was not the party to deliver the shabu, and indeed he was.
And the Narcom elements have the right to pounce on him immediately
lest he gets away, or is tipped off, or can sense something is amiss or
wrong. Unless, of course, accused can explain then and there that he
knocked on the door and went inside Room 77 by mistake like being an
innocent hotel boy, room boy or hotel employee who is going inside the
room to fix the room. Or that accused is a hotel guest who committed a
mistake as to his correct room. but this is not the situation at hand as no
such explanation was immediately made by the accused. On the contrary,
accused went inside the room when let in indicating beyond reasonable
doubt that he was the party to deliver, and indeed he was, as the shabu
was taken from his person after the pre-arranged signal was given by the
undercover agent. These circumstances speak for themselves. Res Ipsa
Loquitor. The accused was caught in flagrante delicto.
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(Emphasis supplied)

We consider that under the total circumstances of this case, the


warrantless arrest of appellant inside Room No. 77 was merely the
culmination of an entrapment operation and that the taking of shabu from
appellant was either done immediately before, or was an incident of, a
lawful arrest. 11
As his principal factual defense, appellant denied knowledge of the fact
that the package bearing the "Happy Days" wrapper contained a quantity
of a dangerous drug, claiming that he has merely been instructed by his
employer, Mr. Ben Diqueros, to bring the package to Baguio City as a gift
for Mrs. Diqueros. Appellant sought to explain his trip to Baguio by
insisting that he has been asked by Mr. Diqueros to drive the latter's
Toyota Celica car to the Diqueros Residence in Tranco Ville, Baguio City, as
Mrs. Diqueros was planning to sell the car. Macasling had in turn invited
Editha Gagarin, together with the latter's children and mother, to join him
in Baguio City. They reached Baguio City later in the evening of 19 August
1988 and stayed temporarily at the Castilla Monte. Appellant contended
that he had left the Castilla Monte to see Mrs. Diqueros at their residence
in Tranco Ville but was informed by one Mario and a domestic helper that
Mrs. Diqueros was at the Hyatt Terraces Hotel. Appellant then had Mario
accompany him to the hotel where they found Mrs. Diqueros playing in the
casino. Appellant, however, decided not to bother Mrs. Diqueros and so
returned to the Castilla Monte.
While at the Castilla Monte, appellant continued, he received a telephone
call from Mario informing him that Mrs. Diqueros had finished playing at
the casino. Although it was then midnight, appellant together with Editha
Gagarin proceeded to the Hyatt Terraces Hotel. There they were met at
the hotel lobby by Mario who informed them that Mrs. Diqueros was at
Room. No. 77. Appellant claimed that he was, in Room No. 77, searched at
gunpoint and that the package he was carrying for Mrs. Diqueros was
seized. Unknown to him , he insisted, the gift package contained "shabu."
12
The trial court was not persuaded by appellant's elaborate disclaimer of
knowledge about the shabu, finding such disclaimer as contrived and
improbable and not worthy of credence. 13 The rule, of course, is that
testimony to be believed must not only originate from a credible witness,
but must also itself be credible. 14 We see no reason, and we have been
pointed to none, why the Court should overturn the appraisal of the trial

court of the credibility (or rather lack of credibility) of the long story
offered by the appellant. We find no basis for departing from the basic rule
that the appraisal by the trial court of the credibility of witnesses who
appeared before it is entitled to great respect from appellate courts who
do not deal with live witnesses but only with the cold pages of a written
record.
WHEREFORE, the Decision of the Regional Trial Court Baguio City, in
Criminal Case No. 5936-R is hereby AFFIRMED in toto. No pronouncement
as to costs.
SO ORDERED.
Bidin, Davide, Jr., Romero and Melo, JJ., concur.

. . . In the evening of May 21,1987, while the offended party was on her
way home from the house of Emerenciana Aberasturi at Malitbog,
Southern Leyte, she was held by the accused and forcibly dragged
towards the sea. She shouted for help but to no avail.
Upon reaching the seashore, the accused held her hair and immersed her
in the sea. The place of immersion was knee-deep. Her whole body wet,
she was dragged ashore by him. He then pushed her and she fell down.
While she was lying down, he gagged her with his T-shirt and then boxed
her thrice on her abdomen.
Thereafter, the accused removed her panty, inserted his fingers into her
vagina, and after pulling them out, had sexual intercourse with her. She
tenaciously resisted the lustful designs of the accused by moving her
body, pushing him and even boxing him while he was sexually abusing
her. Her efforts at resistance, however, proved futile as he was much
stronger than she. (p. 19, Rollo.)
What happened afterwards are as follows:

G.R. No. 91261


February 19, 1991
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,
vs.
REY FRANCIS YAP TONGSON @ REY, accused-appellant.
The Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee.
Public Attorney's Office for accused-appellant.
GRIO-AQUINO, J.:

Appeal from the decision of the Regional Trial Court of Maasin, Southern
Leyte, Branch 25 in Criminal Case No. 1178 finding the accused, Rey
Francis Yap Tongson, alias Rey, guilty of the crime of rape committed
against 13-year-old Glenda Laplana.
As found by the trial court, the facts of the case are as follows:

. . . After he had performed the act, he warned her not to divulge it or else
he would kill her. The accused then brought her towards the house of Tiu
Tiam Su where he was then working.
When they reached near the house of Tiu Tiam Su alias Onjo, the accused
told her to wait because he would get a pump boat. She did not, however,
wait for him. As soon as he was at a distance from the house of Tiu Tiam
Su, she ran towards the house of her aunt, Estela.
Upon arriving at Estela's house she called for the people upstairs. Estela
responded to her call. They met at the stairway. Estela asked her why she
was wet and crying. She told Estela she (victim) was raped by the laborer
of Tiu Tiam Su. She then went up the house after telling Estela about the
incident.
Later that evening she was brought to the office of the Chief of Police,
Guerillito Lura. There were policemen and civilians (among them being the
accused) in that office. When the Chief of Police asked her who among

those men raped her, she pointed to the accused. After identifying the
accused she went to the hospital for examination.
Corroborating certain parts of the victim's testimony, Estela Aberasturi
declared that at about 9:00 o'clock in the evening of May 21, 1987, Arleta
Espera (a maid of Emerenciana Aberasturi, Estela's mother-in-law) went to
her house in the poblacion of Malitbog. Arleta asked her where Glenda
Laplana was. She told Arleta that Glenda was at Emerenciana's house.
Arleta said Glenda went ahead of her as she (Glenda) felt sleepy.
When she (Estela) went downstairs, she felt surprised to see Glenda
crying and her whole body wet. She had no more slippers. She asked her
why she was crying. Glenda answered she was raped by the laborer of Tiu
Tiam Su. She further noticed that Glenda's hair was sandy and she had
bruises on her arms and feet. After questioning Glenda, she told her
parents-in-law and also her brother-in-law about the incident. And, they
called for a policeman.
Guerillito Lura, the Station Commander of the Malitbog Police, testified
that in the evening of May 21, 1987 the guard of the Police Station sent
for him, informing him there was a rape incident. He immediately went to
the police station. He found many people there. He asked the guard what
transpired. The guard told him that Pat. Claro Faelnar and Pfc. Macario
Lagatierra were in pursuit of the perpetrator, a laborer of Tiu Tiam Su.
He followed the policemen to Tiu Tiam Su's residence. When he arrived
there he asked Lando (a son of Tiu Tiam Su) where Pat. Faelnar and Pfc.
Lagatierra were. He was told that they were looking for Rey. The
policemen were then in the bodega of Tiu Tiam Su searching for Rey. They
could not find Rey at that instant. Pat. Lagatierra followed Rey as he
evaded the police and managed to jump out of the bodega.
He summoned other policemen and some people around to help
apprehend the culprit. Among them were Fernando Aberasturi, his brother
(Rico), and a younger brother, Fernando apprehended Rey at the wharf
about 50 meters away from the bodega of Tiu Tiam Su. Rey was brought
to him immediately.

When the victim (whom he had summoned) arrived, he asked her to


pinpoint the person who raped her. She immediately pointed to the
accused, Rey Tongson, from among some twenty persons present. The
accused just bowed his head when the victim identified him. Before the
victim (Glenda Laplana) arrived at his office, he asked the accused if it
was true that he raped her. He admitted without hesitation.
Dr. Leonardo S. Gimeno told the court he examined the victim, Glenda
Laplana, at about 11:00 o'clock in the evening of May 21, 1987. He issued
a medico-legal certificate containing his findings (Exh. A). He found all
those multiple contusions and abrasions indicated in Item No. 1 of Exh.
"A". These injuries could have been caused by fistic blows or by some
pressure on the victim after she fell down.
With reference to Item No. 2, he told the victim to undress because he
wanted to examine her vagina. Upon taking off her panty, he saw blood on
the front portion of her panty. There was blood also on the vaginal orifice.
The blood came from the first-degree laceration. One cause of this
laceration is the forced entry into the vagina of a man's penis.
As he examined the victim further, he found traces of sand and grass in
the vaginal canal. The injuries sustained by the victim indicate signs of
struggle by her during the incident. His examination, however, proved
negative for spermatozoas. (pp. 16-18, Rollo.)
The records do not reveal when the victim filed a complaint, but the
information based on the complaint was filed with the Regional Trial Court
on June 30, 1987.
After the trial, the lower court found Tongson guilty beyond reasonable
doubt of the crime of rape.1wphi1 It sentenced him to suffer the penalty
of reclusion perpetua and ordered him to indemnify the offended party in
the amount of thirty thousand pesos (P30,000.00). Petitioner-appellant
was given credit for his preventive imprisonment.
In this appeal, the accused-appellant alleges that the trial court erred: (1)
in giving much weight and credit to the evidence of the prosecution
without considering that of the defense, and (2) in finding him guilty
beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of rape.

Contrary to appellant Tongson's claim that the offended party voluntarily


submitted to his sexual advances, the trial court found that the victim
Laplana resisted vigorously so that he had to drag her towards the
seashore. She testified that she shouted for help many times but nobody
was on the road at the time, so no one came to help her. She described
how she struggled against the appellant, causing him to box her three (3)
times in the abdomen, and her futile efforts to attract the attention of the
persons attending a public dance some 120 to 130 meters from the
seashore where she was sexually assaulted.
The alleged "public setting" of the rape is not an indication of consent.
For, as pointed out by the Solicitor General, rape may be committed at a
place where people congregate such as parks (People vs. Vidal, 127 SCRA
171), by the roadside (People vs. Aragona, 138 SCRA 569), or on a
passageway at noontime (People vs. Lopez, 141 SCRA 385). In the case of
People vs. Barcelona, G.R. No. 82589, October 31, 1990, we took judicial
notice of the fact that a man overcome by perversity and beastly passion
chooses neither time, place, occasion, nor victim.
That no spermatozoa was present in the specimen that was taken from
the vagina of the victim did not disprove the rape. Presence or absence of
spermatozoa is immaterial since it is penetration, however slight, and not
ejaculation that constitutes rape (People vs. Paringit, G.R. No. 83947,
September 13, 1990; People vs. Barro, Jr., G.R. No. 86385, August 2,
1990).
Appellant's contention that he did not have sexual intercourse with the
complainant but merely inserted his light middle finger into her vagina
was correctly found by the trial court to be incredible:
The claim of the accused that he merely inserted his middle right finger
into the victim's vagina does not appear credible. He admitted though that
he did it without her permission. His demonstration of how it was done
defies our imagination. Here is the reactment (sic) of the fantastic scene;
Sitting side by side with her, he placed his right thigh over the victim's left
thigh, holding her right hand with his left, and at the same time inserting
his middle right finger into her vagina, while the victim was holding his

right lap with her left hand. The situation described by him appears
awkward and improbable.
Moreover, it does not jibe with his pre-demonstration testimony that he
was embracing the victim with his left hand, face to face with her, when
he inserted his right middle finger into her vagina. Furthermore, by
demonstrating that the victim held his right lap with her left hand while he
was inserting his finger, he wanted to imply that she voluntarily consented
to such insertion. And yet according to him, she got mad. Is this not
absurd? (p. 45, Rollo.)
That the complainant was raped was established by the medical findings,
to wit: "blood in the vaginal orifice, first degree laceration of one inch or
more at 6:00 o'clock position of the vaginal orifice" (p. 61, Rollo). Dr.
Leonardo Gimeno, the physician who examined the victim after the
incident, declared that the injury to her vaginal orifice was "caused by the
forced entry into the vagina of a man's penis" (p. 62, Rollo). The doctor's
other findings support complainant's testimony that she was raped on the
seashore. Sand and grass were found in her vagina. The multiple
abrasions and contusions on the victim's lips, right face, lower back
including both buttocks, left elbow, left thigh, both knees, legs and feet,
are mute testimonies giving credence to her claim that the appellant
dragged her on the shore and forcibly had sexual intercourse with her.
When a woman testifies that she was raped, she says all that is necessary
to show its commission, for no young and decent Filipino in this case
only thirteen (13) years old would publicly admit having been ravished
unless it is the truth, for her natural instinct is to protect her honor (People
vs. Manago, G.R. No. 90669, November 21, 1990; People vs. Barcelona,
G.R. No. 82589, October 31, 1990). The testimony of a rape victim is
credible where no motive to testify against the accused is shown except
the desire to vindicate her honor (People vs. Lutanez, G.R. No. 78854,
December 21, 1990; People vs. Fabro, G.R. No. 79673, November 15,
1990).
In any case, whether or not carnal knowledge is voluntary and free is a
question of credibility (People vs. Mercado, G.R. No. 72726, October 15,
1990). Since the witnesses to rape are often only the victim and the
offender, the trial judge's evaluation of the witnesses' credibility deserves

utmost respect in the absence of arbitrariness, considering the trial


judge's advantage of observing the witnesses' demeanor in court (People
vs. Felipe, G.R. No. 90390, October 31, 1990. We find no reason to reverse
the trial court's conviction of Tongson for rape.
G.R. No. 82589

October 31, 1990

WHEREFORE, the appealed decision of the Regional Trial Court in Criminal


Case No. 1178 is affirmed in all respects except the award of damages to
the victim Glenda Laplana which is increased from P30,000 to P40,000 in
accordance with the latest policy of the Court.

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,


vs.
GIDEON BARCELONA y DEQUITO, defendant-appellant.

SO ORDERED.

The Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee.

Narvasa, Cruz, Gancayco and Medialdea, JJ., concur.

Jose P. Villanueva counsel de oficio for accused-appellant.


PADILLA, J.:
In Criminal Case No. 6026 of the Regional Trial Court of Palawan, Gideon
Barcelona y Dequito was charged with the crime of Rape committed as
follows:
That on or about the 7th day of November, 1985 at Barangay IV,
Poblacion, Municipality of Roxas, Province of Palawan, Philippines and
within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the said accused with lewd
design, by means of force, threat and intimidation, did then and there,
wilfully, unlawfully and felonously have carnal knowlege, with one Sylina
Rodriguez against her wil and consent to her damage and predice. 1
When arraigned, the acused, assisted by counsel, pleaded "Not Guilty" to
the commission of the crime. 2 After trial, however, he was found guilty,
as charged, and sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua, to
pay the offended party the amount of P30,000.00, and to pay the cost. 3
From this judgment, the accused appealed to this Court.
The incrimatory facts of the case, according to the People's counsel, are
as follows:
Around 6:30 p.m. of November 7, 1985, Sylina Rodriguez, a sixteen-year
old high scholl student of the Roxas National Comprehensive High School

in Roxas, Palawan, was walking on her way home (July 2, 1986 tsn, p. 7.).
Upon reaching a point in the diversion road near the Medicare Hospital of
the new townsite, she looked back and say a male person jogging (Ibid.,
p.8). She continued walking (Ibid.). The jogger overtook her and, upon
doing so, suddenly turned back and took hold of her hands and started
pulling her towards the bushes (Ibid.). She resisted and hit him with fist
blows on his chest (Ibid.). As he was pulling her, he threatened to kill her
by making a motion to pull something from his back (Ibid.. p. 9). He was
finally able to pull her to the bushes (Ibid.).
In the bushes, he forcibly undressed her, removing both her skirt and
panty (Ibid., p. 10). He also undressed and forced her to lay down on her
back (Ibid.). He then lay on top of her and began to kiss her cheeks and
lips (Ibid., pp. 9-10). At this point, she was in tears (Ibid., p, 11). Then he
inserted his organ into her private part (Ibid., p. 1 0). She immediately felt
a stab of pain (Ibid., p. 11). When he was finished he allowed her to dress
up but warned her not to report the incident to the police authorities (Ibid,
p. 12). The victim then went home (Ibid., p. 13).
The following day, November 8, 1985, accompanied by her uncle and
auntie, she reported the matter to the police authorities (Ibid., p. 14).
Thereafter, she was brought to the Medicare Community Hospital where
she was examined (Ibid.).
Upon information from Hernando Cayaon that he saw accused-appellant,
Gideon Barcelona jogging near the diversion road in the late afternoon of
November 7, 1985, the police authorities invited the latter on November
9, 1985 for questioning (November 18, 1986, tsn, p. 3). Upon
confrontation, the victim positively Identified accused-appellant as the
person who raped her (July 2, 1986, tsn, p. 14). Thereafter, accusedappellant was placed under arrest. 4
The accused Gideon Barcelona, however, denied that he committed the
crime imputed to him and interposed the defense of alibi. The trial court
summarized the evidence for the defense as follows:
The accused in his defense testified that he is presently 19 years old
having been born on November 7, 1968. He was employed since October
1985 in the finishing outfit of Paning Paner and has their base at Cabugan

Island, Roxas, Palawan. Normally, they go to the Poblacion of Roxas every


Saturday to haul water and supplies. Sometime in the afternoon of
November 9, 1985, he was fetched by P/Sgt. Eriberto Castillo of Roxas
Police Station and taken to the Municipal Building. In the said place he saw
Melchor Cayaon as well as his brothers and sisters. He alleged since
complainant saw him, she did not positively Identified (sic) him but
entertained doubts as the person who raped her.
Supporting in part his testimony was the statement of Roger a detainee at
the municipal jail of Roxas, Palawan at the time who alleged that he saw
suspect Melchor Cayaon in the early morning of 8 November, 1985. He
stated that at about 8:00 A.M. of the same day when victim saw Melchor
Cayaon, the former identified the latter as the one who raped her. He
further heard the complainant describe that the person who raped her had
curly hair. Suspect Melchor Cayaon had curly hair while accused Gideon
Barcelona had no curly hair.
In addition to this, witness Jose Lagrada testified that he was the
companion of the accused at the fishing outfit of Paning Paner. In brief,
said witness testified that he knew accused Gideon Barcelona. Both of
them were employed in said fishing outfit about the latter part of October,
1985 and continued uninterruptedly until his arrest on November 9, 1985.
He stated that their schedule of fishing is from 7:00 o'clock a.m. up to
1:00 o'clock p.m. He claimed that from the last week of October 1985 up
to his arrest on November 9, 1985, accused Barcelona never went to the
Poblacion of Roxas, Palawan and continuously stayed at Cabugan Island.
Despite prior knowledge that the latter was arrested for rape, he never
informed the Police Force of Roxas, Palawan or any person for that matter
about the stay of Barcelona in their place of work nor did he visited (sic)
accused in jail despite his close friendship with him. (Test. of Jose Lagrada,
tsn: pp. 1-11, December 12, 1986) 5
In this appeal, the accused-appellant claims that the trial court erred: (1)
in giving weight to the testimony of the complainant which is allegedly
materially inconsistent, contradictory and incredible; and (2) in convicting
the accused-appellant when there is no evidence on record that his guilt
has been proved beyond reasonable doubt.

We find no merit in the appeal. There is no doubt that the complainant


had been raped on 7 November 1985, in the manner testified to by her
and affirmed by the trial court. When a woman testifies that she has been
raped, she says in effect all that is necessary to show that rape was
committed, for no young and decent Filipino woman would publicly admit
that she has been criminally ravished unless that is the truth, for her
natural instinct is to protect her honor. 6
Besides, complainant's testimony is confirmed by the surrounding physical
facts. Medical examination of her genitalia in the morning following the
attack showed that (1) there was a slight mucosal inflammation of the
labia majora; (2) hymenal laceration at 2:00 o'clock, 5:00 o'clock, and
9:00 o'clock; and (3) whitish mucosal vaginal discharge, scanty in amount
noted. 7 Dr. Feliciano Velasco, medical officer of the Roxas Palawan
Medicare Community Hospital, who examined the complainant, opined
that this was the first time she had sexual intercourse because the
lacerations on the hymen were fresh. 8
Moreover, the outrage was immediately reported to the police authorities
after its commission, removing any doubt that the complainant may have
concocted her charge against the appellant.
The appellant contends, however, that the crime of Rape was not
committed because no force or intimidation was employed, i.e., no
external injuries or bruises or scratches were found on the complainant's
body, despite her testimony that she was dragged to the bushes, and that
the complainant did not offer tenacious and spirited resistance to the
assault on her.
The absence of physical injuries on the complainant's body does not, of
itself, negate the complainant's testimony that she was raped; nor does it
make the complainant a willing partner in the sex act. The victim need not
kick, bite, hit, slap or scratch with her fingernails the offender to
successfully claim that she had been raped. It is enough that coition was
undertaken against her will. It is sufficient that the carnal knowledge was
done after the woman yielded because of an authentic apprehension of a
real fear of immediate death or great bodily harm. In this case, there is
evidence that the offended girl yielded to the carnal desires of the
appellant for fear that he might kill her since, according to complainant,

the appellant had threatened her with death and made menacing gestures
as if to draw a weapon. It is this same fear that must have prevented her
from making an outcry or reporting the outrage to her uncle. 9
As the Court had said in a case, 10 "the force or violence required in rape
cases is relative. When applied it need not be too overpowering or
irresistible. What is essential is that the force used is sufficient to
consummate the purpose which the offender had in mind, or to bring
about the desired result. In using force, it is not even necessary that the
offender is armed with a weapon, as the use of a weapon serves only to
increase the penalty. Intimidation can be addressed to the mind as well. In
sum, the absence of external signs or physical injuries does not negate
the commission of the crime of rape.
As to the identity of the perpetrator of the dastardly act, the complainant
declared, and the trial court agreed with her, that the appellant
committed the crime. The complainant positively identified the accused as
the person who raped her 11 and, as the trial court said, she had no doubt
nor second thought about her identification of the accused-appellant.
Besides, it would appear that the complainant had no ill motive to falsely
against the appellant. In fact, the appellant was a complete stranger to
her and she did not know his name then; But, when they came face to
face, the second time, she readily pointed to the appellant as the person
who ravished her. 12 This court consistently held that the testimony of a
rape victim as to who abused her is credible where she has no motive to
testify falsely against the accused. 13
The appellant argues that the testimony of the complainant should not be
given weight and credence because it is allegedly inconsistent,
contradictory and incredible in that: (1) on direct examination, she
declared that in trying to repel the advances of the appellant, she bit him
on the left forearm, whereas, on cross examination, she denied having
stated that she bit the appellant; (2) on direct examination, the complaint
that she did not report the incident to her uncle because she was afraid
but, on cross examination, she stated that she reported the incident to her
uncle who, in turn, reported it to the police; and (3) on direct examination,
the complainant testified that the sexual act took about twenty (20)
minutes and that she felt pain, but that she felt no ejaculation, while on

cross examination, she stated that there was ejaculation inside her
vagina.

definitely, without basis for a man overcome by perversity and beastly


passion chooses neither time, place, occasion, nor victim.

These alleged contradictory statements are not fatal as they refer to


relatively minor details, and they are to be expected from uncoached
witnesses. They do not affect, nor can they prevail over the positive
identification of the appellant as the rapist. As repeatedly held by the
Court, the discrepancies and inconsistencies in the testimony of
prosecution witnesses which refer to minor details do not impair the
probative value of their testimony. 14

There being no error committed in the judgment appealed from, the same
should be affirmed.
WHEREFORE, the judgment appealed from is hereby AFFIRMED with costs.
SO ORDERED.
Melencio-Herrera (Chairperson), Paras, Sarmiento and Regalado JJ., concur.

The insinuation of the appellant that he could not have raped the
complainant on 7 November 1985 because it was his birthday is,