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RAPE-DEFENSE

-Appellant respectfully submits that the filing of the case was motivated by
some factors other than the truth as to its commission. Accused should be
acquitted. (People vs. Rodrigo Domogoy, et. al., GR. 116738, March 22, 1999).

-In rape cases, there are three (3) well-entrenched principles being
observed, to wit:
a) An accusation for rape can be made with facility; it is difficult to prove
but more difficult for the person accused, though innocent, to disprove;
b) In view of the intrinsic nature of the crime of rape where only two
persons are usually involved, the testimony of the complainant must be scrutinized
with extreme caution; and
c) The evidence for the prosecution must stand or fall on its own merits and
cannot be allowed to draw strength from the weakness of the evidence for the
defense. (People of the Philippines vs. Lito Baygar y Escobar , G.R. No.
132238, November 17, 1999).

-A person accused of rape can be convicted solely on the testimony of the


victim provided the testimony is credible, natural, convincing, and otherwise
consistent with human nature and the course of things. (People vs. Pasayan, G. R.
No. 91619, September 9, 1996); (People vs. Jesus Edualino, G. R. No. 119072,
April 11, 1997)

It is well established that the appellate court generally does not disturb the findings
of the lower court considering that the latter is in a better position to pass upon the
matter of credibility having seen and heard the witnesses themselves and observed
their deportment and manner of testifying during the hearing. However, exception
is taken to this well-settled rule in order to keep faith with the immutable principle
that every criminal conviction must be supported by proof beyond reasonable
doubt (People v. Mejias, 168 SCRA 33, November 28, 1988).

Among others, the exceptions to the general rule are: (a) the conclusion is a
finding grounded entirely on speculations, surmises and conjectures; (b) the
inference made is manifestly mistaken, absurd or impossible; (c) there is grave
abuse of discretion; (d) the judgment is based on misapprehension of facts; and (e)
the court in making its findings, went beyond the issues of the case and the same
are contrary to the admissions of both the appellant and appellee (People v. Ale,
145 SCRA 58 [1986]).

While rape is truly a detestable crime, the probability looms large that it may be
resorted to as a contrivance to malign the accused who would be hard pressed to
prove his innocence and would thereby place his life, liberty or fortune or all of
them together, hanging on the balance (People v. Ymana, 171 SCRA 174, March
9, 1989, reiterating the ruling in People v. Barbo, 56 SCRA 459, March 19, 1974
and People v. Quintal, 125 SCRA 734, November 25, 1983). In the case at bar,
appellant is a married man, a fact known to the complainant (September 13, 1974,
TSN, p. 10). For the testimony of the offended party to be sufficient to convict for
the crime of rape, it must be clear and free from any serious contradiction. Her
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story must be impeccable and must ring true throughout or bear the stamp of
absolute truth and candor (People v. Ramos, 167 SCRA 476, November 18, 1988;
People v. Ymana, supra; People v. Lacuna, 87 SCRA 364, 1974). This the
complainant has failed to meet.

(PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. MELVIN GIRON y


SANTOS, accused-appellant., G.R. No. 44749, 1990 December 10, 2nd Division)

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Rape is an accusation easy to make, hard to prove but harder to defend by the
accused, though innocent. The evidence for the prosecution must be clear and
convincing to overcome the constitutional presumption of innocence. Rape is an
offense to which, as is often the case, only two people can testify, thus requiring
the most conscientious effort on the part of the arbiter to weigh and appraise the
conflicting testimonies. If a reasonable doubt exists, the verdict must be one of
acquittal (People v. Leoparte, G.R. No. 85328, July 4, 1990 reiterating People v.
Cabading, G.R. No. 74352, June 6, 1989).

(PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. MELVIN GIRON y


SANTOS, accused-appellant., G.R. No. 44749, 1990 December 10, 2nd Division)

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PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. JOSE PERMISON,


accused-appellant.

The Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee.


Rodolfo U. Jimenez Law Office for accused-appellant.

1991 July 26

2nd Division

G.R. No. 89664

DECISION

PARAS, J.:

An appeal from the decision * of the Regional Trial Court of Dagupan City,
Branch 40, in Criminal Case No. D-5703 convicting the appellant Jose Permison
of the crime of Rape.

The prosecution's version of the facts follows:

On July 8, 1983, at about 11:00 o'clock a.m., Rowena Permison, then six (6) years
old, was on her way home from her kindergarten class at Bantayan Elementary
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School, Mangaldan, Pangasinan when she was accosted by the appellant who told
her "Come here and I will have sexual intercourse with you" (t.s.n., pp. 6 and 9,
August 30, 1985). On hearing the appellant's remarks, Rowena tried to run away
from him. The appellant who is Rowena's uncle, being the brother of her father,
chased Rowena and after getting hold of her, dragged her to a nearby bamboo
grove where he removed her panty and his pants, and inserted his penis into her
vagina. Rowena felt pain in her vagina and something hot came out from the
appellant's penis (t.s.n., pp. 6-10, Ibid.).

Afterwards, the appellant whipped Rowena with a stick and sent her away with a
warning not to report the matter to her mother. Rowena went home crying and
immediately reported the matter to her mother. On the same day, her mother,
Belinda, brought her to the Pangasinan Provincial Hospital in Dagupan City where
she was examined by Dr. Fediles Ochave. (t.s.n., pp. 9-10, Ibid.).

The medical examination conducted by Dr. Ochave revealed these findings:

" Conscious, does not answer to question.


No external sign of physical injury.
Pelvic exam.

presence of slight congestion of labia minora and majora right and left.
hymen intact

vagina can not admit even the small finger


rectal exam Uterus small
adnexae free

Suggest Smear for presence of spermatozoa taken from vulvaSmear for


presence of spermatozoa taken from a panty brought by the mother which
contained about 2 cc mucoid like material whitish with reddish streaks
Vulva smear Negative for spermatozoa.
Taken from panty Negative for spermatozoa."

Vide, Exh. "A"

The following day, Belinda reported the incident to Barangay Captain Rogelio
Dizon who accompanied her to the police where she lodged a complaint for rape.

On the other hand, the evidence for the defense tends to show that on July 8, 1983,
the appellant was at home taking care of his nine-month old child as his wife was
washing their clothes; that in the afternoon of the same day, he was summoned by
the Barangay Captain on complaint of Belinda that he whipped his niece, Rowena,
when the latter came home from school; that he immediately appeared before the
Barangay Captain to deny the charge but Belinda had left for awhile; that he
waited for Belinda until 6:00 in the evening but the latter no longer returned; that
three days thereafter, he was again summoned by the Barangay Captain on
complaint of Belinda that he raped Rowena or July 8, 1983; that he waited for
Belinda at the Barangay Captain's house but the latter did not return; that he did
not commit the crime attributed to him; and that his sister-in-law Belinda
fabricated the rape charge against him because he threatened to kill her in a
previous quarrel. (p. 28, Rollo).
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Corroborating the appellant's testimony, the Barangay Captain confirmed that on


July 8, 1983, the only complaint of Belinda was that the appellant whipped
Rowena when the latter came home from school; that he confronted the appellant
who denied whipping Rowena but Belinda did not return anymore; that it was on
the following day when Belinda told him that Rowena was abused by the
appellant; that he again summoned the appellant who appeared before him but
Belinda, who had left as before, did not return anymore, and so he again sent the
appellant home. (T.s.n., pp. 201-209, March 16, 1987).

Cipriano Biala, whose land adjoins the school site in Bantayan and is traversed by
the pathway, testified that he worked on his land the whole day of July 8, 1983;
that he saw Rowena and her twin brothers on their way to school and on their way
back at about 10:00 o'clock in the morning; and that nothing untoward happened
to them. (T.s.n, pp. 4-10, September 21, 1987).

Two other neighbors, Menardo Caballero and Alfonso Gonzales, testified that they
saw the children of Belinda going to and from the school on July 8, 1983 but that
nothing unusual happened when they passed by. (T.s.n., pp. 12-15, September 21,
1987).

Lucrecia Abrigo, the teacher of Rowena (T.s.n., pp. 3-4, January 23, 1989),
testified that neither Rowena nor her mother complained to her of any act
committed against Rowena, nor was she notified of any complaint. (pp. 4-5, Id.).

On April 24, 1989, the trial court rendered judgment, the decretal portion reading
as follows

"WHEREFORE, the accused Jose Permison is found guilty beyond reasonable


doubt of the crime of rape, defined and penalized under Article 335 (3) of the
Revised Penal Code and hereby sentences him to suffer the penalty of Reclusion
Perpetua, to indemnify the offended party, Rowena Permison, the amount of
P50,000.00 as moral damages and to pay to costs." (p 31, Rollo)

In this appeal, the appellant assigns the following as errors:

1. The trial court erred in finding the appellant guilty beyond reasonable doubt
notwithstanding the fact that the testimony of the alleged victim Rowena is not
only uncorroborated but is inconsistent with human experience and behavior;

2. The trial court erred in not considering the fact that the alleged victim's mother
Belinda had sufficient motive to falsely charge the appellant with rape.

3. The trial court erred in not believing the testimony of the appellant as
corroborated by his witnesses.

We shall discuss the errors together as they all hinge on the issue of credibility of
witnesses.

The quantum of evidence required to sustain a conviction for rape supported by


the lone testimony of the complainant has been laid down as follows:

"The rule is, a judgment of conviction for the crime of rape cannot be based on the
testimony of the offended party alone unless such testimony is clear, positive, and
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convincing, or supported by other undisputed facts and strong circumstantial


evidence disclosed by the record. (People v. Poblador 76 SCRA 634). In People v.
Lacuna, 87 SCRA 364, We held that:

'. . . In a rape case, the uncorroborated testimony of the offended party may be
sufficient under certain circumstances to warrant conviction. But for this rule to
obtain, the lone testimony of the woman victim must be clear and free from any
serious contradiction, her story must be impeccable and must ring (true)
throughout or bear the stamp of absolute truth and candor. (People v. Royeras, 130
SCRA 250).

We fully realize that Rowena was of very tender age at the time of the alleged
incident. Her minority, however, does not necessarily lend credence to her
complaint. Numerous circumstances, detract from the credibility of Rowena's
version of what happened at about noon of July 8, 1983. At the trial, she testified

ATTY. REGINO

Q On your way home, after your school on said morning and said date, is there
anything that happened to you?

A Yes, sir, there was.

Q What happened to you?

A I was dragged by my uncle Berting into the bamboo groves and he removed my
panty and he had sexual intercourse with me, sir.

Q Who is this uncle Berting that you are referring to?

xxx xxx xxx

BRANCH CLERK OF COURT.

The witness went down from the witness stand and walked towards the persons
and looked around, afterwhich, she pointed to a man inside the courtroom and
when asked, answered by the name of Jose Permison.

xxx xxx xxx

ATTY. REGINO

Q When he was able to overtake you, what did he do?

A He removed my panty and he removed his panty also and he put his penis
inside my vagina, sir.

Q How did you feel when your "Mama Berting" put his penis inside your vagina?

A I felt pain, sir.

Q Aside from pain, did you feel anything?


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A Yes, sir.

Q What did you feel?

A Something came out from my Uncle Berting which is very hot, sir.

Q Where did you feel that liquid that is hot?

ATTY. GUBATAN

Objection, Your Honor, she did not say liquid.

Court

Reform the question.

ATTY. REGINO

Q Where did you feel that something hot in your body?.

Witness

In my vagina, sir.(T.s.n., pp. 6-11, August 30, 1985).

The theory of the prosecution, however, does not inspire belief Medical findings
which are bereft of telltale signs negate carnal intercourse.

Elaborating on her findings, Dr. Ochave explained

Q In your findings, you stated further "presence of slight congestion between


labia minora and majora right and left." What do you mean by slight congestion?
A There is increase in color of that certain tissue. It is reddish in color. There is
increase in color.

xxx xxx xxx

Q What is the possible cause of this slight congestion?

A It may be due to a pressure from an object or by scratching, sir.

Q Between the two possible causes that you stated, considering the size of the
genitalia of Rowena Permison, would you say that the scratch is more the act that
caused the discoloration or congestion?

A It is possible, sir.

Q If that object (referring to the penis) is applied with force upon the genitalia of
that girl like Rowena Permison, it could not have caused only a minimal or slight
congestion, but instead it would be an extensive congestion?

A Yes, sir. (T.s.n., pp. 8-17, March 10, 1986).

xxx xxx xxx


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Q You also quoted in Exhibit "A" the following "hymen intact". Are we made to
understand that there was no sign at all that you noted to indicate that part of the
genitalia of Rowena Permison was touched?

A None, sir.

Q You further stated in Exhibit "A" the following: "Vagina can not admit even
the small finger". Will you further explain this finding, why is it that that was the
condition of that part of Rowena Permison?

A Because the vagina of the child is very very small, sir.

Q You tried to insert your finger?

A Yes, sir.

Q Your smallest finger?

A Yes, sir.

Q The vagina of Rowena Permison can not admit your small finger?

A Yes, sir. (pp. 17-19, Ibid.).

Since there is nothing in the medico-legal findings that would support Rowena's
claim of rape, her mother, Belinda, in her bid to show that intercourse had taken
place, introduced Rowena's panty which contained about 2 cc. mucoid like
material with reddish streaks. The said mucoid like material, however, which was
subjected to laboratory analysis is of doubtful evidentiary value. Dr. Ochoa
testified thus

Q This mucoid like substance which you found in the panty as you said could
come from an expression of a male person or from the nose of a person
considering that you found mucous in the panty that was allegedly given to you by
the mother of Rowena Permison. Is it possible that a person used that panty wiped
the nose, flowing nose of a person either the mother who gave the panty to you or
Rowena Permison herself because at that time she was crying?

Witness

A It is possible, sir.

xxx xxx xxx

Atty. Gubatan:

Q If according to you in your findings written in Exhibit A, there is reddish


streaks on the mucoid like material, is it not more possible that the substance came
from a bleeding nose than a male person?

Witness:
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A It may come from an injured tissue which caused the bleeding, sir.

xxx xxx xxx

Q But you did not find any bleeding tissue in the entire female organ of Rowena
Permison, did you not?

A None, sir.

xxx xxx xxx

Q If there is no breakage on the tissue of Rowena Permison, where did that blood
come from?

Witness.

A It may have come from the tissue where the mucous came from than from an
injured tissue.

(T.s.n., pp. 31-35, Ibid.)

While this Court has, in numerous cases affirmed the judgments of conviction
rendered by the trial court in rape charges especially where the offended parties
were very young and presumptively had no ill motives to concoct a story if only to
secure indictments for a crime as grave as rape, this Court likewise reversed
judgments of conviction and acquitted the accused when there were strong
indications pointing to the possibility that the rape charges were merely motivated
by some factors except the truth as to their commission.

In the instant case, Rowena's mother who filed the complaint, has strong motives
to falsely charge the appellant because there is bad blood between her and the
appellant and his wife, beginning a few months before the alleged incident, and
continuing. They had a quarrel and the appellant threatened to kill her.

On cross examination, Belinda testified

Q That small house is near the house of your brother-in-law, Jose Permison, the
accused in this case is it not?

A Yes, sir.

ATTY. GUBATAN

Q And because of some misunderstanding, you (left) that house and transferred to
the house of your parents, did you not?

A Yes, sir.

Q Do you remember the day when you transferred to the house of your parents?

A February. I do not know the exact date.

Q Was it in 1983?
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A 1983.

Q Now, can you still recall the cause of that misunderstanding that prompted you
to abandon your previous house and transfer to the house of your parente?

A Yes, sir.

Q Please tell the Court.

A I transferred to the house of my parents because Berting warned that he


will kill me.

Q When you said Berting, are you referring to the accused in this case?

A Yes, sir.

Q Can you tell the Court the reason, if you know, why Berting or the accused in
this case said that he will kill you?

A Yes, sir. He will kill me if I will not leave that house.

ATTY. GUBATAN

Q Was there any exchange of words between you and the accused at that time he
threatened to kill you?

A Yes, sir. He said 'Animal'.

Q What was the immediate cause of your altercation on that particular occasion?
Do you still remember?

A I ordered his child not to throw the waste matter or the pan which was placed
beside our kitchen. And when his wife told me something, I answered, then he
appeared on the scene.

xxx xxx xxx

Q And since that incident in February, 1983 up to the present, you were not in
talking terms with the accused, is it not?

A Yes, sir. (T.s.n., pp. 10-13, June 20, 1985).

Rowena heard the appellant's threat to kill her mother, and she hated him ever
since. On cross examination, she testified

COURT

xxx xxx xxx

Were you close to your uncle Berting when you were still young?

A No Madam.
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ATTY. GUBATAN

Q Why?

A Because my uncle Berting said, he will kill my mother. (T.s.n., p. 15, October
10, 1989).

Q Were you present when your uncle Berting threatened to kill your mother?

A Yes, sir.

Q At that time, your house (was) very near the house of your uncle Berting, is that
right?

WITNESS

A Yes, sir.

xxx xxx xxx

Q Since that time, you have hated your uncle Berting because of what he did to
your mother, have you not?

A Yes, sir. (pp. 19-20, Ibid.)

The foregoing circumstances more than sufice to cast doubt on the credibility of
Rowena's testimony. On the other hand, the appellant's denial of the charge is
credible, corroborated as it is by disinterested witnesses, one of them being the
Barangay Captain no less.

The appellant's immediate response to the summons of the Barangay Captain to


oppose the charges imputed to him is an act consistent with innocence. As the
saying goes "the guilty flees even if no one pursueth, but the innocent stands as
brave as a lion." (People vs. Aragona, 138 SCRA 571).

While the rule of long-standing is that alibi is a weak defense, it is an equally


enduring rule that the prosecution must rely on the strength of its evidence rather
than on the weakness of that of the defense. (People vs. Hora, 153 SCRA 21). In
the instant case, the Court has no option but to declare that the prosecution has
failed to meet the exacting test of moral certainty and proof of guilt of the
appellant beyond reasonable doubt. A reversal of the trial court's guilty verdict is
inevitable.

WHEREFORE, the decision of the trial court is hereby REVERSED. Accused-


appellant is hereby ACQUITTED of the charge against him.

SO ORDERED.

Melencio-Herrera (Chairman), Padilla, Sarmiento and Regalado, JJ., concur.

Footnotes
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* Penned by Judge Deodoro J. Sison.

(PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. MARCELINO SAN


JUAN y SALAZAR, accused-appellant., G.R. Nos. 112449-50, 2000 July 31,
SECOND DIVISION)

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For alibi to be validly invoked, the accused must not only prove that he was
somewhere else when the crime was committed but must also satisfactorily
establish that it was physically impossible for him to be at the locus criminis at the
time of the commission.50 [People v. Flores, G.R. No. 129284, March 17, 2000, p.
11.] In the instant case, the trial court disbelieved appellant's alibi. Said the court:

. Appellant's defense of alibi, which is basically weak, does not gain vigor from
the testimony of a close relative, namely his spouse.52 [People v. Magdato, G.R.
Nos. 134122-27, February 7, 2000, pp. 10-11.]

(PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. ROMEO ARILLAS


Y MONTOYA, accused-appellant., G.R. No. 130593, 2000 June 19, EN
BANC)

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It is fundamental that every element of an offense must be alleged in the complaint


or information. The purpose of the rule is to enable the accused to suitably prepare
his defense. He is presumed to have no independent knowledge of the facts that
constitute the offense.25 [Balitaan vs. Court of First Instance of Batangas, Branch
11, 115 SCRA 729 (1982), citing Francisco, The Revised Rules of Court, Criminal
Procedure, p. 77.] Thus, we ruled that it is a denial of the right of an accused to be
informed of the nature of the accusation against him, and consequently, a denial of
due process if he is convicted of a crime in its qualified form notwithstanding the
fact that the information, on which he was arraigned, charges him only of the
crime in its simple form by not specifying the circumstance that qualifies the
crime.26 [People vs. Garcia, supra.]

(PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. FELIMON


ALIPAYO y TEJADA, DANILO MACABALITAO y ROMUALDEZ,
JELLIE LIPA Y RUDIKE, and VIRGILIO TAMAYO y ZALMAZAN,
accused-appellants., G.R. No. 122979, 2000 February 02, En Banc)

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Not only are the testimonies of accused-appellants raising alibi conflicting and
incredible, they fail to satisfy the twin requirements in order for such defense of
alibi to be plausible. First, they must prove that they were nowhere in the vicinity
of the crime at the time of its commission; they must prove that they were
somewhere else instead. Second, they must prove that it was highly impossible for
them to be present at the crime scene at the time of its occurrence.42 [See People
v. Caisip, G.R. No. 119757, 290 SCRA 451, 457 (1998)] We have already
discussed how accused-appellants' version raises serious doubts, thereby falling
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short of the first requirement. Neither have they proven that it was highly
impossible for them to be present at the crime scene at the time of its occurrence.
Notably, the place where accused-appellants claim they were is just three or four
minutes away from A. Bonifacio park where the crime took place.43 [T.S.N., 8
December 1994, p. 10, Records, Vol. II, p. 628.]

Also working against accused-appellants is the time-honored principle that alibi is


an inherently weak defense and, unless supported by clear and convincing
evidence, cannot prevail over the positive declaration of the victim who, in a
natural and straightforward manner, convincingly identified the accused-appellants
as those who sexually violated her.44 [People v. Sumampang, G.R. No. 117322,
290 SCRA 471, 476 (1998)] This Court has held in a long line of cases that denial
is a weak defense and it cannot prevail over a positive identification. Positive
identification where categorical and consistent and without any showing of ill
motive on the part of the eyewitness testifying on the matter prevails over a denial
which, if not substantiated by clear and convincing evidence, is negative and self-
serving evidence undeserving of weight in law.45 [People v. Caisip, supra, citing
People v. Ondalok and Mahinay, G.R. Nos. 95682-83, May 27, 1997.] As
discussed above, both Ornella and Alexis, who have not been shown to have any
ill motive, have positively identified appellants as the authors of the crime. Thus,
we are persuaded that accused-appellants are indeed guilty. The testimony of 16-
year old Ornella, in particular, inspires belief. We have held that when the
offended parties are young and immature girls from the ages of twelve to sixteen,
courts are inclined to lend credence to their version of what transpired, considering
not only their relative vulnerability but also the shame and embarrassment to
which they would be exposed by court trial if the matter about which they testified
is not true.46 [People v. Clopino, G.R. No. 117322, 290 SCRA 432, 444-445
(1998) citing People v. Molina, 53 SCRA 495 (1973)] Ornella's credibility as a
rape victim is enhanced considering that she has no motive to testify against the
accused-appellants and there is absolutely no evidence on record which can even
remotely suggest that she could have been actuated by any motive.47 [People v.
Belo, G.R. No. 109148, December 4, 1998.]

(THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. JOHNNY


BARTOLOME y CABINONG, accused-appellant., G.R. No. 133987, 2000
January 28, En Banc)

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Fortunately, for JOHNNY, the special qualifying circumstance of relationship was


not alleged in the information. We have declared that the circumstances under the
amendatory provisions of Section 11 of R.A. No. 7659, the attendance of which
could mandate the imposition of the single indivisible penalty of death, are in the
nature of qualifying circumstances which cannot be proved as such unless alleged
in the information, and even if proved, the death penalty ca not be imposed.14
[People v. Garcia, 281 SCRA 463 (1997); People v. Ramos, 269 SCRA 559
(1998); People v. Ilao, 269 SCRA 658 (1998)] To impose the death penalty on the
basis of this relationship, which has not been alleged in the information, would
violate JOHNNY's constitutional and statutory right to be informed of the nature
and the case of the accusation against him.15 [People v. Garcia, supra note 14;
People v. Ilao, supra note 14.]
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