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FIRST DIVISION

G.R. No. 208469, August 13, 2014

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. SAMUEL TIW-TIW SANICO, Accused-


Appellant.

RESOLUTION

REYES, J.:

For review1 is the Decision2 rendered by the Court of Appeals (CA) on November 19, 2012 in CA-G.R.
CR-HC No. 00769-MIN affirming, but with modifications as to the penalties, damages and interests
imposed, the conviction by the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Butuan City, Branch 1, 3 of Samuel Tiw-Tiw
Sanico (accused-appellant) for one count of rape under paragraph 1(a) of Article 266-A 4 of the Revised
Penal Code (RPC), as amended by Republic Act (R.A.) No. 8353, 5 and lascivious conduct under Article
3366 of the same code, in relation to R.A. No. 7610, 7 otherwise known as The Special Protection of
Children Against Child Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act.

Antecedents

Two separate Informations were filed against the accused-appellant before the
RTC, viz:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary

In Criminal Case No. 12021 for Acts of Lasciviousness

That at more or less 1:00 P.M. of April 19, 2006 at XXX City, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this
Honorable Court, the above-named accused, with lewd design, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and
feloniously commit acts of lasciviousness upon the person of AAA, 8 a twelve (12) year [old] minor, by
touching her breast against her will, to the damage and prejudice of the latter in such amount as may be
proven in Court.

CONTRARY TO LAW: (Article 336 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended in relation to R.A. [No.]
7610)9 (Citation omitted)

In Criminal Case No. 12022 for Rape

That sometime in the year 2005 at XXX City, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable
Court, the above-named accused, by means of force, threat or intimidation, did then and there willfully,
unlawfully and feloniously have carnal knowledge with one AAA, a twelve (12) year old minor, against her
will.

CONTRARY TO LAW: (Article 266-A, par. (1)(a), in relation to Article 266-B, par. 6(10) of R.A. [No.] 8353
in relation to R[.]A[.] [No.] 7610)10 (Citation omitted)

The accused-appellant went into hiding but was subsequently arrested in his hometown in Leyte on May
13, 2008. He was arraigned on August 26, 2008, during which he entered a not guilty plea. 11cralawred

During the pre-trial, the prosecution and the defense stipulated on the following: (a) the identity of the
accused-appellant and the fact of his arrest in Leyte; (b) AAA was more than 12 but less than 13 years of
age at the time the acts complained of were allegedly committed by the accused-appellant; and (c) the
incident on April 19, 2006 occurred in AAAs residence.12cralawred

In the joint trial that ensued, the prosecution offered the testimonies of AAA, her mother BBB, and Dr.
Roslyn D. Orais (Dr. Orais), medico-legal officer of the National Bureau of Investigation, Caraga Region.
On the other hand, the accused-appellant was the defenses lone witness. 13cralawred

Version of the Prosecution

As indicated in her birth certificate, AAA was born on June 14, 1993. Her mother BBB works as a cook,
while her father is a trisikad driver. AAA was 12 years old when the acts complained of were allegedly
committed by the accused-appellant, but was already 15 years of age at the time she testified in
court.14cralawred

The accused-appellant was a pig butcher and ice cream vendor. He and his children rented a room for
about ten (10) to eleven (11) years in the house where AAA lives with her family. Thereafter, the accused-
appellants family moved to their own house built near AAAs residence. 15cralawred

AAA claimed that the accused-appellant raped her in 2005, but she could not recall the exact month and
date. She remembered though that she was raped at around 2:00 p.m. while she was washing dishes in
the kitchen. There was nobody else in the house except her and the accused-appellant. He approached
and held her hands tightly. She boxed the accused-appellant, but he pushed her. Thereafter, he
threatened to kill her if she would shout. Knowing that the accused-appellant was a pig butcher, AAA was
overcome by fear. He then succeeded in removing her clothes and undergarments and pushing her
against the wall. He took off his short pants and briefs and inserted his penis into her vagina for two to
three minutes. She felt pain. The accused-appellant then pulled up his short pants and laid down in the
sofa.16cralawred

AAA alleged that she was again raped for six or seven times, but she endured the harrowing experiences
in silence due to the accused-appellants threat to kill her. She also dreaded the possibilities of quarrels
and deaths, which would ensue if her parents find out. 17cralawred

On April 19, 2006, at around 1:00 p.m., AAA was napping in a room with her niece. AAA woke up when
she felt that the accused-appellant was touching her. AAA rose and repeatedly boxed the accused-
appellant, but the latter held her tightly, pulled up her clothes and mashed her breast. Her father, CCC,
was just in another room at that time, but out of fear, AAA kept quiet. When the accused-appellant took off
his short pants and inserted his penis into AAAs vagina, the latter resisted. Being merely built out of
wood, the house shook, which caused CCC to wake up. CCC lost consciousness for a short period of
time when he caught the accused-appellant performing lascivious acts on AAA. The accused-appellant
then seized the opportunity to flee.18cralawred

At around 4:00 p.m. on the same day, Dr. Orais performed a medico- genital examination on AAA and
found the latter to have suffered from sexual abuse. AAAs hymen was coaptated or slightly open and
bore old healed laceration at 3 and 9 oclock positions. The hymenal laceration was possibly caused by
an injury secondary to intravaginal penetration by a blunt object. No human spermatozoa was found in
AAAs vagina. Dr. Orais, however, explained that even in the presence of seminal fluid, there are cases
when no sperm can be found. Dr. Orais likewise noted no physical or extra-genital injuries on AAA, but
found ample evidence of sexual intercourse having occurred more than one but less than four month/s
ago. Dr. Orais also testified that AAA was at times uncooperative, timid, and emotionally
restrained.19cralawred

BBB testified that it was CCC who saw the accused-appellant touching AAAs breast. BBB sought
payment of moral damages.20cralawred

Version of the Defense

The accused-appellant was the lone witness for the defense. At the time he testified in court, he was 53
years old. He stated that for years, he had lived in the house of AAAs family, but was no longer a resident
therein when the acts complained of were allegedly committed. 21cralawred
On April 19, 2006, the accused-appellant had a drinking spree with CCC in the latters house lasting from
8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. As the two were both drunk, the accused-appellant slept in the salawhile CCC did
so in his room. The accused-appellant woke up from slumber when AAA touched the formers pocket to
search for money. She got some coins and bills. The accused-appellant, in turn, touched AAAs chest and
asked the latter to remove her short pants. AAA complied. As the accused-appellant was touching AAAs
breast, CCC woke up. Upon seeing what was taking place, CCC got abolo to hack the accused-appellant,
but the latter escaped.22cralawred

The accused-appellant testified that he had never inserted his penis in AAAs vagina. He admitted
touching AAA on April 19, 2006 but he did so only because the latter initiated it. He also claimed that he
was very close to AAA and he treated her as if she were his own child. 23cralawred

The Ruling of the RTC

On October 13, 2009, the RTC rendered an Omnibus Judgment 24 convicting the accused-appellant of one
count of rape and of acts of lasciviousness. The RTC found AAAs testimony of what had transpired as
sincere and truthful, noting though that a specific allegation as to the exact date and month of the
commission of rape in 2005 was absent. The trial court thus pointed out the settled doctrine that in a
prosecution for rape, the material fact or circumstance to be considered is the occurrence of rape, not the
time of its commission,25 the latter not being an element of the crime.26Further, the accused-appellant
cannot ascribe any ill-motive against AAA which could have induced the latter to fabricate such grave
charges. The accused-appellants flight after he learned that charges were filed against him likewise
worked to disfavor him. If he were indeed innocent, he would have stayed to vindicate himself from the
accusations.27cralawred

The dispositive portion of the RTC decision reads:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary

WHEREFORE, the prosecution having established the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt in
the offenses as charge[d], in criminal case no. 12022 for rape[,] he is sentenced to reclusion perpetua, to
pay [AAA][,] through her father[,] the sum of Fifty Thousand Pesos ([P]50,000.00) as civil indemnity and
another Fifty Thousand Pesos ([P]50,000.00) as moral damages. In criminal case no 12021 for acts of
lasciviousness, he is sentenced to suffer imprisonment of 4 years, 2 months and 1 day to 6 years. He is
further ordered to pay [AAA] the sum of Twenty Five Thousand Pesos ([P]25,000.00) as moral damages
and another Twenty Five Thousand Pesos ([P]25,000.00) as exemplary damages.

He shall serve his sentence at Davao Prison and Penal Farms, Panabo City, Davao del Norte. In the
service of his sentence[,] he shall be credited with the full time benefit of his preventive imprisonment
provided he agrees in writing to abide by the same disciplinary rules imposed upon convicted prisoners[,]
otherwise[,] if he does not[,] he shall be entitled with only four-fifths (4/5) of his preventive imprisonment
pursuant to Article 29 as amended of the [RPC].

SO ORDERED.28chanrobleslaw

The Parties Arguments Before the CA

The accused-appellant challenged the above disquisition before the CA. 29 He argued that while the time
of the commission of the crime is not an essential element of rape, a complainants inability to give the
exact dates, during which she was allegedly raped, puts her credibility in question. 30cralawred

AAA alleged that she was raped on April 19, 2006, at around 1:00 p.m. However, Dr. Orais, who
conducted a medical examination on AAA three hours after the incident, testified that human spermatozoa
was absent in AAAs vagina and the hymenal lacerations found were possibly inflicted more than a month
ago.31cralawred

The accused-appellant admitted though that he could be held liable for acts of lasciviousness for touching
AAAs breast and asking her to remove her short pants. 32cralawred
The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), on its part, sought the dismissal of the appeal. 33 It contended
that the accused-appellants denial of the charges against him cannot prevail over AAAs positive
testimony. Further, the date of the commission of rape becomes relevant only when the accuracy and
truthfulness of the complainants narration practically hinge thereon. 34 Such circumstance does not obtain
in the case under review.35cralawred

The accused-appellant was also nonchalant in admitting that he touched AAAs breast and asked her to
remove her short pants. The accused-appellants behavior exhibited no less than his lewd designs on
AAA.36cralawred

The Ruling of the CA

On November 19, 2012, the CA rendered the herein assailed decision, 37 the decretal portion of which
states:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the appeal is hereby DISMISSED. The October 13, 2009 Omnibus
Judgment of the [RTC] of Butuan City, Branch 1, is herebyAFFIRMED with MODIFICATION as
follows:cralawlawlibrary

1) In Criminal Case No. 12021, [the accused-appellant] is sentenced to 8 years and 1 day
of prision mayor as minimum to 17 years, 4 months and 1 day ofreclusion temporal as
maximum. The moral and exemplary damages of [P]25,000.00 each awarded by the court a
quo are reduce[d] to [P]15,000.00 each. He is further ordered to pay civil indemnity of
[P]20,000.00 and a fine of [P]15,000.00.
2) In Criminal Case No. 12022, being in accordance with the law and the evidence, [the accused-
appellant] is sentenced to reclusion perpetua. In addition to the awards of civil indemnity of
[P]50,000.00 and moral damages of [P]50,000.00, [the accused-appellant] is further ordered to
pay AAA exemplary damages in the amount of [P]30,000.00.
3) [The accused-appellant] is further ordered to pay interest at the rate of twelve percent
(12%) per annum on all the damages awarded in this case from date of finality of this judgment
until fully paid.

SO ORDERED.38chanrobleslaw

In additionally directing the payment of fine and civil indemnity, and modifying both the penalty imposed
upon the accused-appellant and the award of damages to AAA as regards Criminal Case No. 12021 for
lascivious conduct, the CA explained that:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary

[A]n assiduous review of the arguments [the accused-appellant] proffered reveals that what was
questioned by him was his conviction for the crime of rape only. In fact, in his appellants brief, he
emphasized that he is liable only for the charge of acts of lasciviousness after having admitted that he
merely touched the breast of AAA and asked the latter to remove her short pants for him to see her
private part. Apparently, [the] accused-appellant no longer assailed his conviction [for] the crime of acts of
lasciviousness.

This notwithstanding, we are constrained to review the entire records of the case pursuant to the settled
rule that when an accused appeals from the sentence of the trial court, he waives his constitutional
safeguard against double jeopardy and throws the whole case open to the review of the appellate court,
which is then called upon to render such judgment as the law and justice dictate, whether favorable or
unfavorable to them, and whether they are assigned as errors or not. x x x

xxxx

While we sustain [the] accused-appellants conviction of acts of lasciviousness, yet, we nonetheless


modify the penalty imposed and the damages awarded by the court a quo. x x x [W]e find that the court a
quo erroneously imposed the penalty [for] the crime of acts of lasciviousness under Article 336 of the RPC
in relation to RA 7610. It is important to note that [the] accused-appellant was charged [with] acts of
lasciviousness under Article 336 of the RPC in relation to RA 7610 which defines sexual abuse of children
and prescribes the penalty therefore under Article III, Section 5 thereof. Certainly, [the] accused-appellant
was sufficiently informed of the accusation against him and he can thus be convicted of the crime of acts
of lasciviousness under RA 7610 based on the evidence presented against him. Article III, Section 5, of
RA 7610 reads:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary

Section 5. Child Prostitution and Other Sexual Abuse -


Children, whether male or female, who for money or profit, or any other consideration or due to the
coercion or influence of any adult, syndicate or group, indulge in sexual intercourse or lascivious conduct,
are deemed to be children exploited in prostitution and other sexual abuse.

The penalty of reclusion temporal in its medium period to reclusion perpetuashall be imposed
upon the following:
(a) x x x

(b) Those who commit the act of sexual intercourse or lascivious conduct with a child exploited in
prostitution or subject to other sexual abuse; Provided, That when the victim is under twelve (12) years of
age, the perpetrators shall be prosecuted under Article 335, paragraph 3 for rape and Article 336 of Act
No. 3815, as amended, the Revised Penal Code, for rape or lascivious conduct, as the case may be;
Provided, That the penalty for lascivious conduct when the victim is under twelve (12) years of age shall
be reclusion temporal in its medium period, x x x.

xxxx
Paragraph (b) punishes sexual intercourse or lascivious conduct not only with a child exploited in
prostitution, but also with a child subjected to other sexual abuses. It covers not only a situation where a
child is abused for profit, but also where one through coercion, intimidation or influence engages in
sexual intercourse or lascivious conduct with a child.

The elements of sexual abuse under Section 5, Article III of RA 7610 are the
following:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary

1. The accused commits the act of sexual intercourse or lascivious


conduct;chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary

2. The said act is performed with a child exploited in prostitution or subjected to other sexual abuse;
andChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary

3. The child, whether male or female, is below 18 years of age.

[T]here is no doubt that [the] accused-appellant is guilty of acts of lasciviousness under Section 5(b),
Article XIII of RA 7610 after having admitted the lascivious conduct he made with AAA. It is undisputed
that AAA was still 12 years old when the crime happened and as admitted by [the] accused-appellant
himself, he was touching AAA because AAA was looking for money inside his pocket and he told AAA to
remove her short pants for him to see her private part. x x x.

It is important to note however that a child is deemed subjected to other sexual abuse when the child
indulges in lascivious conduct under the coercion or influence of any adult. x x x

xxxx

Undoubtedly, [the] accused-appellants acts were covered by the definitions of sexual abuse and
lascivious conduct under Section 2(g) and (h) of the Rules and Regulations on the Reporting and
Investigation of Child Abuse Cases promulgated to implement the provisions of RA 7610, particularly on
child abuse:
(g) Sexual abuse includes the employment, use, persuasion, inducement, enticement or coercion
of a child to engage in, or assist another person to engage in, sexual intercourse or lascivious
conduct or the molestation, prostitution, or incest with children;chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary

(h) Lascivious conduct means the intentional touching, either directly or through clothing, of the
genitalia, anus, groin, breast, inner thigh, or buttocks, or the introduction of any object into the
genitalia, anus or mouth, of any person, whether of the same or opposite sex, with an intent to abuse,
humiliate, harass, degrade, or arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person, bestiality, masturbation,
lascivious exhibition of the genitals or [pubic] area of a person. x x x
Indubitably, AAA was deemed to be [a] child subjected to other sexual abuse as defined above.
Accordingly, the imposable penalty should be the penalty prescribed under RA 7610 and not the penalty
under Article 336 of the RPC as imposed by the court a quo. In People v. Leonardo, the Supreme Court
ruled that the penalty to be imposed for violation of Section 5, Article III of RA 7610 is as
follows:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary

For acts of lasciviousness performed on a child under Section 5(b), Article III of Republic Act No. 7610,
the penalty prescribed is reclusion temporalin its medium period to reclusion perpetua. Notwithstanding
that Republic Act No. 7610 is a special law, the [accused-] appellant may enjoy the benefits of the
Indeterminate Sentence Law.

Applying the Indeterminate Sentence Law, the [accused-]appellant shall be entitled to a minimum term to
be taken within the range of the penalty next lower to that prescribed by Republic Act No. 7610. The
penalty next lower in degree is prision mayor medium to reclusion temporal minimum, the range of which
is from 8 years and 1 day to 14 years and 8 months. On the other hand, the maximum term of the penalty
should be taken from the penalty prescribed under Section 5(b), Article III of Republic Act No. 7610, which
is reclusion temporal in its medium period to reclusion perpetua, the range of which is from 14 years, 8
months and 1 day toreclusion perpetua. The minimum, medium and maximum term of the same is as
follows: minimum 14 years, 8 months and 1 day to 17 years and 4 months; medium 17 years, 4
months and 1 day to 20 years; and maximum reclusion perpetua.

Thus, in this case, we imposed on [the] accused-appellant the indeterminate sentence of 8 years and 1
day of prision mayor as minimum to 17 years, 4 months and 1 day ofreclusion temporal as maximum.

Corollarily, in view of recent jurisprudence, we deem it proper to reduce the amount of moral and
exemplary damages awarded by the court a quo from [P]25,000.00 each to [P]15,000.00 each. [The]
accused-appellant is however ordered to pay civil indemnity of [P]20,000.00 and a fine of
[P]15,000.00.39 (Citations omitted)

On the other hand, in Criminal Case No. 12022, the CA affirmed the accused-appellants conviction for
rape and the award by the RTC of civil indemnity and moral damages in favor of AAA. Additionally, the CA
ordered the payment of P30,000.00 as exemplary damages. In both Criminal Case Nos. 12021 and
12022, the CA likewise directed the accused-appellant to pay AAA the legal interest of twelve percent
(12%) per annum on all damages awarded to be computed from the date of finality of the decision until
full payment.40 The CA cited the following as reasons:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary

Indubitably, it is unimaginable for a young girl like AAA to concoct a tale of defloration, drag herself and
the rest of her family to a lifetime of shame, and make them the object of gossip among their neighbors
and friends if the accusation was indeed untrue. x x x.

xxxx

The contention of [the] accused-appellant that the rape allegedly committed on April 19, 2006 was highly
implausible because of the absence of fresh lacerations and spermatozoa in AAAs vagina is untenable. It
should be emphasized that [the] accused-appellant was charged [with] rape that occurred sometime in
2005 and not on April 19, 2006. The fact that only old healed lacerations were found does not negate
rape. x x x:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary

x x x In People v. Espinoza, it was held that healed lacerations do not negate rape. In fact,
lacerations, whether healed or fresh, are the best physical evidence of forcible defloration. x x
x.chanrobleslaw

Moreover, in the present case, Dr. Orais clarified to the court that even if the alleged sexual assault took
place in the year 2005 or a year after AAA was examined, the old healed lacerations could still be found.

xxxx

[T]he absence of spermatozoa does not disprove rape, In fact, in People v. Perez, it was held
that:cralawlawlibrary

x x x The absence of spermatozoa is not a negation of rape. The presence or absence of spermatozoa is
immaterial since it is penetration, not ejaculation, which constitutes the crime of rape. x x x.

xxxx

As to the award of damages, x x x the victim shall likewise be entitled to exemplary damages in the
amount of Thirty Thousand Pesos ([P]30,000.00) as justified under Article 2229 of the Civil Code to set a
public example and serve as a deterrent against the elders who abuse and corrupt the youth. 41 (Citations
omitted)

Issue

The accused-appellant now comes before the court for relief insisting anew on the alleged failure of the
prosecution to prove beyond reasonable doubt that he had, in fact, raped AAA.

Both the accused-appellant and the OSG did not file supplemental briefs, adopting instead their
respective arguments raised before the CA.42cralawred

The Ruling of the Court

We affirm the CAs verdict convicting the accused-appellant of the charges against him, but modify the
same by (a) reinstating the penalty and damages for lascivious conduct imposed by the RTC in Criminal
Case No. 12021; and (b) reducing to six percent the interests imposed upon the damages awarded to
AAA in both Criminal Case Nos. 12021 and 12022.

Criminal Case No. 12021

As aptly stated by the CA, it would be a superfluity to exhaustively re-evaluate the accused-appellants
conviction in Criminal Case No. 12021 for lasciviousness conduct committed on April 19, 2006. First. The
RTC and the CA uniformly found the accused-appellant guilty as charged. Second.The accused-appellant
himself admitted touching AAAs breast and directing the latter to take off her short pants. Third. In the
appeal filed before the CA and this court, no error was ascribed on the part of the RTC in convicting the
accused-appellant for lascivious conduct.

The RTC and the CA, were however, not in agreement as to the proper imposable penalty for the
accused-appellants lascivious conduct. The RTC applied the provisions of Article 336 of the RPC and
sentenced the accused-appellant to 4 years, 2 months and 1 day to 6 years of imprisonment. The CA, on
the other hand, invoking Section 5(b) of R.A. No. 7610, which punishes sexual abuses committed against
minors, imposed upon the accused-appellant the indeterminate penalty of 8 years and 1 day of prision
mayor as minimum to 17 years, 4 months and 1 day of reclusion temporal as maximum.
In the instant appeal, the Information relative to Criminal Case No. 12021 bears the caption for acts of
lasciviousness. It is, however, indicated that the acts are being prosecuted pursuant to the provisions of
Article 336 of the RPC, in relation to R.A. No. 7610. 43cralawred

In the herein assailed decision, the CA explained that during the trial, the prosecution was able to prove
the existence of the requisites of sexual abuse under Section 5(b), R.A. No. 7610. The CA thus modified
the penalty and imposed instead the one provided for in R.A. No. 7610.

In Flordeliz v. People,44 we allowed the imposition of a penalty provided for in R.A. No. 7610 despite the
absence in the Information filed of any explicit reference to the said statute. We declared
that:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary

We are aware that the Information specifically charged petitioner with Acts of Lasciviousness under the
RPC, without stating therein that it was in relation to R.A. No. 7610. However, the failure to designate the
offense by statute or to mention the specific provision penalizing the act, or an erroneous specification of
the law violated, does not vitiate the information if the facts alleged therein clearly recite the facts
constituting the crime charged. The character of the crime is not determined by the caption or preamble of
the information nor by the specification of the provision of law alleged to have been violated, but by the
recital of the ultimate facts and circumstances in the complaint or information.

In the instant case, the body of the Information contains an averment of the acts alleged to have been
committed by petitioner and unmistakably describes acts punishable under Section 5(b), Article III of R.A.
No. 7610.45 (Citation omitted)

In the accused-appellants case before the Court, the Information even specifically mentions R.A. No.
7610. The accused-appellant, therefore, was fairly apprised that he was being charged with violation of
R.A. No. 7610 as well. Further, it was shown that the requisites of Section 5(b) of the statute are present.
The CA thus inferred that it could not be precluded from imposing the proper penalty provided for in R.A.
No. 7610.

The CA aptly declared that when an appeal is filed in a criminal action, it opens the entire matter for
review and that the requisites of sexual abuse under Section 5(b) of R.A. No. 7610 are present in the
accused-appellants case. However, grounds exist compelling us to reinstate the penalty and damages
imposed by the RTC in Criminal Case No. 12021.

It bears stressing that the case before the Court involves two separate Informations filed one for rape
and another for lascivious conduct.

People v. Francisco46 involved the issue of under which appellate jurisdiction the crimes of rape and
lascivious conduct fall. The court, however, had the occasion to explain that:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary

Nor can we widen the scope of our appellate jurisdiction on the basis of the fact that the trial court heard
two (2) distinct and separate cases simultaneously. Such procedure [referring to the conduct of a joint
trial] adopted by the trial court cannot and did not result in the merger of the two (2) offenses. In fact, a
cursory reading of the assailed decision of the court a quo reveals with pristine clarity that each case was
separately determined by the trial judge, as each should be separately reviewed on appeal. x x x. 47

In the case at bench, the commission of lascivious conduct was admitted by the accused-appellant in his
testimony. No issue regarding his conviction for lascivious conduct had been raised in his appeal before
the CA as well. Despite the fact that the appeal filed was captioned as one with reference to Criminal
Case Nos. 12021 and 12022, the body stated in no uncertain terms that what was being assailed was
merely the conviction for rape. Effectively then, it was as if no appeal was filed relative to Criminal Case
No. 12021. Hence, the penalty imposed by the RTC for lascivious conduct should not be disturbed
anymore. Necessarily then, the CA cannot impose upon the accused-appellant a graver penalty and
increase the amount of damages awarded to AAA at least relative to Criminal Case No. 12021. This is the
path more in accord with the general rule that penal laws are to be construed liberally in favor of the
accused.48cralawred

Criminal Case No. 12022

The court finds no reversible error committed by the RTC and the CA anent the accused-appellants
conviction for rape in Criminal Case No. 12022.

In People of the Philippines v. Hermenigildo Delen y Esco Billa, 49 the court emphatically stated
that:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary

It is a fundamental rule that the trial courts factual findings, especially its assessment of the credibility of
witnesses, are accorded great weight and respect and binding upon this Court, particularly when affirmed
by the Court of Appeals. This Court has repeatedly recognized that the trial court is in the best position to
assess the credibility of witnesses and their testimonies because of its unique position of having observed
that elusive and incommunicable evidence of the witnesses deportment on the stand while testifying,
which opportunity is denied to the appellate courts. Only the trial judge can observe the furtive glance,
blush of conscious shame, hesitation, flippant or sneering tone, calmness, sigh, or the scant or full
realization of an oath. These are significant factors in evaluating the sincerity of witnesses, in the process
of unearthing the truth. The appellate courts will generally not disturb such findings unless it plainly
overlooked certain facts of substance and value that, if considered, might affect the result of the case.

Moreover, [w]e have repeatedly held that when the offended parties are young and immature girls, as in
this case, 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 if the
matter about which they testified were not true. 50cralawred

The foregoing doctrines apply with greater force in the instant case where the accused-appellant cannot
ascribe any ill-motive against AAA in accusing him of the offenses charged, and where the factual findings
of the RTC coincide with those of the CA.

For conviction to be had in the crime of rape, the following elements must be proven beyond reasonable
doubt: (1) that the accused had carnal knowledge of the victim; and (2) that said act was accomplished
(a) through the use of force or intimidation, or (b) when the victim is deprived of reason or otherwise
unconscious, or (c) when the victim is twelve years of age, or is demented. 51cralawred

In the instant appeal, the RTC and the CA both found AAAs testimony that she was raped in 2005 as
credible. AAA did not specifically refer to an exact month and date when the sordid act was committed.
Nonetheless, her testimony that the accused-appellant threatened to kill her, pushed her to the wall and
inserted his penis in her vagina at around 2:00 p.m., while she was alone washing dishes at home, was
positive, clear and categorical.52cralawred

To exculpate him from liability, the accused-appellant invokes Dr. Orais medical findings that human
spermatozoa was absent in AAAs vagina, and that her hymen bore old healed and not fresh lacerations
possibly sustained more than one but less than four month/s ago. 53 These, however, are not compelling
reasons to warrant the reversal of the assailed decision.

The Information in Criminal Case No. 12022 charged the accused-appellant for raping AAA in 2005. On
the other hand, in Criminal Case No. 12021, the accused-appellant was indicted for committing lascivious
conduct on April 19, 2006. The results of the medical examination conducted on April 19, 2006 by Dr.
Orais, finding that there was no human spermatozoa found in AAAs vagina and that the latters hymen
bore old healed and not fresh lacerations, are not inconsistent with the conclusion that the latter was
raped in 2005. Repetitive as it may be, the rape was committed in 2005 and not shortly before the
medical examination conducted upon AAA on April 19, 2006.

Interests on all the damages imposed


upon the accused-appellant reduced from
12% to 6%

Prescinding from the above, the Court finds no grounds to reverse the herein assailed decision convicting
the accused-appellant of one count of rape and of lascivious conduct. The Court likewise finds no error in
the penalty, civil indemnity, and damages ordered by the CA relative to Criminal Case No. 12022.
However, in Criminal Case No. 12021, the lesser penalty and damages imposed by the RTC are
reinstated. Lastly, to conform to prevailing jurisprudence, an interest at the rate of six percent (6%) per
annum shall be imposed on all the damages awarded to AAA in both Criminal Case Nos. 12021 and
12022, to be computed from the date of the finality of this judgment until fully paid. 54cralawred

IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the Decision dated November 19, 2012 of the Court of Appeals in CA-
G.R. CR-HC No. 00769-MIN, is AFFIRMED with the following MODIFICATIONS:

(a) In Criminal Case No. 12021, the indeterminate penalty of 4 years, 2 months and 1 day of
imprisonment as minimum to 6 years as maximum imposed by the RTC upon the accused-appellant, and
the award in favor of AAA of Twenty Five Thousand Pesos (P25,000.00) as moral damages and Twenty
Five Thousand Pesos (P25,000.00) as exemplary damages, are reinstated;
andChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary

(b) An interest at the rate of six percent (6%) per annum on all the damages awarded to AAA in Criminal
Case Nos. 12021 to 12022 is likewise imposed upon the accused-appellant to be computed from the date
of the finality of this judgment until fully paid.

SO ORDERED.

Sereno, C.J., (Chairperson), Bersamin,* Villarama, Jr., and Mendoza,** JJ., concur.

Endnotes:

*
Acting Working Chairperson per Special Order No. 1741 dated July 31, 2014 vice Justice Teresita J.
Leonardo-De Castro.
**
Acting Member per Special Order No. 1738 dated July 31, 2014 vice Justice Teresita J. Leonardo-De
Castro.
1
See Notice of Appeal, rollo, pp. 32-34.
2
Penned by Associate Justice Jhosep Y. Lopez, with Associate Justices Edgardo T. Lloren and Henri
Jean Paul B. Inting, concurring; CA rollo, pp. 66-94.
3
Issued by Judge Eduardo S. Casals; id. at 30-41.
4
Article 266-A. Rape: When and How Committed. Rape is committed:cralawlawlibrary

1) By a man who shall have carnal knowledge of a woman under any of the following circumstances:
a) Through force, threat, or intimidation;
b) When the offended party is deprived of reason or otherwise unconscious;
c) By means of fraudulent machination or grave abuse of authority; and
d) When the offended party is under twelve (12) years of age or is demented, even though none of the
circumstances mentioned above be present.
xxxx
5
AN ACT EXPANDING THE DEFINITION OF THE CRIME OF RAPE, RECLASSIFYING THE SAME AS
A CRIME AGAINST PERSONS, AMENDING FOR THE PURPOSE ACT NO. 3815, AS AMENDED,
OTHERWISE KNOWN AS THE REVISED PENAL CODE AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES.
6
Article 336. Acts of lasciviousness. Any person who shall commit any act of lasciviousness upon
other persons of either sex, under any of the circumstances mentioned in the preceding article, shall be
punished by prision correccional.
7
AN ACT PROVIDING FOR STRONGER DETERRENCE AND SPECIAL PROTECTION AGAINST
CHILD ABUSE, EXPLOITATION AND DISCRIMINATION, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES.
8
The real name of the victim, her personal circumstances and other information which tend to establish or
compromise her identity, as well as those of her immediate family or household members, shall not be
disclosed to protect her privacy and fictitious initials shall, instead, be used, in accordance with People v.
Cabalquinto (533 Phil. 703 [2006]), and A.M. No. 04-11-09-SC dated September 19, 2006.
9
CA rollo, p. 67.
10
Id. at 67-68.
11
Id. at 68, 71.
12
Id. at 31.
13
Id. at 68, 74.
14
Id. at 68.
15
Id.
16
Id. at 68-70.
17
Id. at 70.
18
Id. at 70-71.
19
Id. at 72-74.
20
Id. at 74.
21
Id.
22
Id. at 74-75.
23
Id. at 76-77.
24
Id. at 30-41.
25
People v. Losano, 369 Phil. 966, 978 (1999).
26
People v. Pagpaguitan, 373 Phil. 856, 870 (1999).
27
CA rollo, pp. 38-40.
28
Id. at 40-41.
29
See Appellants Brief, id. at 17-29.
30
People v. Buendia, 432 Phil. 471, 487 (2002).
31
CA rollo, p. 25.
32
Id. at 26.
33
See Brief for the Plaintiff-Appellee, id. at 46-63.
34
People v. Cantomayor, 441 Phil. 840, 847 (2002).
35
CA rollo, pp. 58-60.
36
Id. at 60.
37
Id. at 66-94.
38
Id. at 90-93.
39
Id. at 79-84.
40
Villareal v. People, G.R. No. 151258, February 1, 2012, 664 SCRA 519, 598.
41
CA rollo, pp. 88-92.
42
See the OSGs Manifestation, rollo, pp. 38-41, and the Appellants Manifestation,rollo, pp. 51-53.
43
CA rollo, p. 67.
44
G.R. No. 186441, March 3, 2010, 614 SCRA 225.
45
Id. at 242.
46
406 Phil. 947 (2001).
47
Id. at 956.
48
See People v. Jose, G.R. No. 200053, October 23, 2013, 708 SCRA 608.
49
G.R. No. 194446, April 21, 2014.
50
Supra note 44, at 234, citing People v. Candaza, 524 Phil. 589, 605-606 (2006).
51
People v. Valdez, 466 Phil. 116, 129 (2004).
52
CA rollo, pp. 68-70.
53
Id. at 25.
54
People v. Cruz, G.R. No. 201728, July 17, 2013, 701 SCRA 548, 559-560.
SECOND DIVISION
JOJIT GARINGARAO, G.R. No. 192760

Petitioner,

Present:

CARPIO, J., Chairperson,

- versus - LEONARDO-DE CASTRO,*

BRION,

PERALTA,** and

PEREZ, JJ.

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Promulgated:

Respondent. July 20, 2011

x- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - x

DECISION

CARPIO, J.:

The Case

Before the Court is a petition for review1 assailing the 26 November 2009 Decision2 and 22 June 2010
Resolution3 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR No. 31354. The Court of Appeals affirmed with
modifications the decision of the Regional Trial Court of San Carlos City, Pangasinan, Branch 56 (trial
court), finding Jojit Garingarao (Garingarao) guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of acts of
lasciviousness in relation to Republic Act No. 7610 (RA 7610). 4

The Antecedent Facts


The facts of the case, as can be gleaned from the decision of the Court of Appeals, are as follows:

On 28 October 2003, AAA5 was brought to the Virgen Milagrosa Medical Center by her father BBB and
mother CCC due to fever and abdominal pain. Dr. George Morante (Dr.Morante), the attending physician,
recommended that AAA be confined at the hospital for further observation. AAA was admitted at the
hospital and confined at a private room where she and her parents stayed for the night.

On 29 October 2003, BBB left the hospital to go to Lingayen, Pangasinan to process his daughters
Medicare papers. He arrived at Lingayen at around 8:00 a.m. and left the place an hour later. CCC also
left the hospital that same morning to attend to their store at Urbiztondo, Pangasinan, leaving AAA alone
in her room.

When BBB returned to the hospital, AAA told him that she wanted to go home. Dr. Morante advised
against it but due to AAAs insistence, he allowed AAA to be discharged from the hospital with instructions
that she should continue her medications. When AAA and her parents arrived at their house around 11:30
a.m., AAA cried and told her parents that Garingaraosexually abused her. They all went back to the
hospital and reported the incident to Dr. Morante. They inquired from the nurses station and learned
that Garingarao was the nurse on duty on that day.

On 20 January 2004, the City Prosecutor filed an Information against Garingarao for acts of
lasciviousness in relation to RA 7610, as follows:

That on or about the 29th day of October 2003, at Virgen Milagrosa University Hospital, San
Carlos City, Pangasinan, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named
accused, with lewd designs, did then and there, willfully, unlawfully and feloniously touched the
breast of AAA, 16 years of age, touched her genitalia, and inserted his finger into her vagina, to
the damage and prejudice of said AAA who suffered psychological and emotional disturbance,
anxiety, sleeplessness and humiliation.

Contrary to Article 336 of the Revised Penal Code in relation to RA 7610. 6

During the trial, AAA testified that on 29 October 2003, between 7:00 a.m. and 8:00 a.m., Garingarao,
who was wearing a white uniform, entered her room and asked if she already took her medicines and if
she was still experiencing pains. AAA replied that her stomach was no longer painful. Garingarao then
lifted AAAs bra and touched her left breast. Embarrassed, AAA asked Garingarao what he was
doing. Garingarao replied that he was just examining her. Garingarao then left the room and returned 15
to 30 minutes later with a stethoscope. Garingarao told AAA that he would examine her
again. Garingarao lifted AAAs shirt, pressed the stethoscope to her stomach and touched her two
nipples. Garingarao then lifted AAAs pajama and underwear and pressed the lower part of her
abdomen. Garingarao then slid his finger inside AAAs private part. AAA instinctively crossed her legs and
again asked Garingarao what he was doing. She asked him to stop and informed him she had her
monthly period. Garingarao ignored AAA and continued to insert his finger inside her private
part. Garingarao only stopped when he saw that AAA really had her monthly period. He went inside the
bathroom of the private room, washed his hands, applied alcohol and left. When BBB arrived at the
hospital, AAA insisted on going home. She only narrated the incident to her parents when they got home
and they went back to the hospital to report the incident to Dr. Morante.

Dr. Morante testified on AAAs confinement to and discharge from the hospital.

The prosecution presented the following documents before the trial court:

(a) AAAs birth certificate to establish that she was 16 years old at the time of the incident;

(b) AAAs medical records establishing her confinement to and discharge


from Virgen Milagrosa Medical Center;

(c) the schedule of duties of the nurses at the hospital showing that Garingarao was on duty from
12:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. on 29 October 2003;

(d) a certificate from the Department of Education Division Office showing that BBB was present
at the office from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. on 29 October 2003;

(e) AAAs Medical Payment Notice;

(f) the incident report filed by AAAs parents with the police; and

(g) a letter from the hospital administrator requiring Garingarao to explain why no administrative
action should be filed against him in view of the incident.

For the defense, Garingarao gave a different version of the incident. Garingarao alleged that on 29
October 2003, he and his nursing aide Edmundo Tamayo (Tamayo) went inside AAAs room to administer
her medicines and check her vital signs. BBB then accused them of not administering the medicines
properly and on time. Garingarao told BBB that they should not be told how to administer the medicines
because they knew what they were doing and that they would be accountable should anything happen to
AAA. A heated argument ensued between BBB and Garingarao. BBB told Garingarao he was an arrogant
nurse. Garingarao replied that if BBB had any complaint, he could report the matter to the
hospital. Garingaraodenied that he inserted his finger into AAAs private part and that he fondled her
breasts. Garingarao alleged that the filing of the case was motivated by the argument he had with BBB.

Tamayo testified that he was with Garingarao when they went to AAAs room between 7:00 a.m. and 8:00
a.m. of 29 October 2003. He alleged that BBB was present and he accusedGaringarao of not
administering the medications properly. Tamayo alleged that Garingarao and BBB had an argument.
Tamayo stated that he would always accompany Garingaraowhenever the latter would visit the rooms of
the patients.

The Decision of the Trial Court

In its Decision7 dated 5 November 2007, the trial court found Garingarao guilty as charged. The trial court
gave credence to the testimony of AAA over Garingaraos denial. The trial court ruled that Garingarao was
positively identified by AAA as the person who entered her room, touched her breasts and inserted his
finger into her private part. The trial court also found that the prosecution was able to establish that BBB
and CCC were not in the room when Garingarao went inside.

The trial court found as baseless Garingaraos defense that the case was only motivated by the argument
he had with BBB. The trial court ruled that it was illogical for BBB to convince his daughter to fabricate a
story of sexual abuse just to get even at Garingarao over a heated argument.

The dispositive portion of the trial courts Decision reads:

WHEREFORE, premises considered, judgment is hereby rendered finding the


accused Jojit Garingarao GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of acts of lasciviousness
in relation to Republic Act 7610, and sentencing him to suffer the penalty of imprisonment ranging
from 12 years to 1 day of Reclusion Temporal as minimum to 14 years and 8 months
of Reclusion Temporal as maximum.

The accused is ordered to pay to the minor victim [AAA] P20,000.00 as moral damages
and P10,000.00 as fine.

SO ORDERED.8
Garingarao appealed from the trial courts Decision.

The Decision of the Court of Appeals

In its 26 November 2009 Decision, the Court of Appeals affirmed the trial courts decision with
modifications.

The Court of Appeals ruled that while Garingarao was charged for acts of lasciviousness in relation to RA
7610, he should be convicted under RA 7610 because AAA was 16 years old when the crime was
committed. The Court of Appeals ruled that under Section 5(b) of RA 7610, the offender shall be charged
with rape or lascivious conduct under the Revised Penal Code (RPC) only if the victim is below 12 years
old; otherwise, the provisions of RA 7610 shall prevail.

The Court of Appeals ruled that based on the evidence on record and the testimony of AAA, the decision
of the trial court has to be affirmed. The Court of Appeals ruled that under Section 2(h) of the Rules and
Regulations on the Reporting and Investigation of Child Abuse Cases, the introduction of any object into
the genitalia of the offended party as well as the intentional touching of her breasts when done with the
intent to sexually gratify the offender qualify as a lascivious act. AAAs testimony established
that Garingarao committed the lascivious acts.

The Court of Appeals found no reason for AAA or her family to fabricate the charges against Garingarao.
The Court of Appeals ruled that Garingaraos claim that the case was filed so that BBB could get even with
him because of the argument they had was too shallow to be given consideration. The Court of Appeals
likewise rejected Garingaraos defense of denial which could not prevail over the positive testimony of
AAA.

The Court of Appeals modified the penalty imposed by the trial court. The Court of Appeals ruled that the
duration of reclusion temporal in its maximum period should be 17 years, 4 months and 1 day to 20 years
and not 14 years and 8 months as imposed by the trial court. The Court of Appeals also raised the award
of moral damages and fine, which was deemed as civil indemnity, to conform with recent jurisprudence.

The dispositive portion of the Court of Appeals Decision reads:


WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the Decision dated November 5, 2007 of the Regional
Trial Court of San Carlos City, Pangasinan in Criminal Case No. SCC-4167 is hereby AFFIRMED
with the following MODIFICATIONS:

1. The penalty imposed on the accused-appellant is 14 years and 8 months of


reclusion temporal as minimum to 20 years of reclusion temporal as maximum[;]

2. The award of moral damages is raised from P20,000.00 to P50,000.00; and

3. The award of indemnity is raised from P10,000.00 to P50,000.00.

SO ORDERED.9

Garingarao filed a motion for reconsideration. In its 22 June 2010 Resolution, the Court of Appeals denied
the motion.

Hence, the petition before this Court.

The Issue

The only issue in this case is whether the Court of Appeals committed a reversible error in affirming with
modifications the trial courts decision.

The Ruling of this Court

The petition has no merit.

Garingarao alleges that the Court of Appeals erred in affirming the trial courts decision finding him guilty
of acts of lasciviousness in relation to RA 7610. Garingarao insists that it was physically impossible for
him to commit the acts charged against him because there were many patients and hospital employees
around. He alleges that AAAs room was well lighted and that he had an assistant when the incident
allegedly occurred. Garingarao further alleges that, assuming the charges were correct, there was only
one incident when he allegedly touched AAA and as such, he should have been convicted only of acts of
lasciviousness and not of violation of RA 7610.

We do not agree.

Credibility of Witnesses

The Court has ruled that in case of acts of lasciviousness, the lone testimony of the offended party, if
credible, is sufficient to establish the guilt of the accused. 10 In this case, both the trial court and the Court
of Appeals found the testimony of AAA credible over Garingaraos defense of denial and alibi. It is a settled
rule that denial is a weak defense as against the positive identification by the victim. 11 Both denial and
alibi are inherently weak defenses and constitute self-serving negative evidence which cannot be
accorded greater evidentiary weight than the positive declaration by a credible
witness.12 Garingaraos defense of denial and alibi must fail over the positive and straightforward
testimony of AAA on the incident. Further, like the trial court and the Court of Appeals, we find
incredible Garingaraos defense that the case was an offshoot of a heated argument he had with AAAs
father over the manner Garingarao was giving AAAs medications. It is hard to believe that AAAs parents
would expose her to a public trial if the charges were not true. 13 In addition, the prosecution was able to
establish that, contrary to Garingaraos allegation, both BBB and CCC were not in AAAs room at the time
of the incident.

Violation of RA 7610

Section 5, Article III of RA 7610 provides:

Section 5. Child Prostitution and Other Sexual Abuse. - Children, whether male or female, who for
money, profit, or any other consideration or due to the coercion or influence of any adult,
syndicate or group, indulge in sexual intercourse or lascivious conduct, are deemed to be children
exploited in prostitution and other sexual abuse.
The penalty of reclusion temporal in its medium period to reclusion perpetua shall be imposed
upon the following:

(a) x x x

(b) Those who commit the act of sexual intercourse or lascivious conduct with a child exploited in
prostitution or subject to other sexual abuse; Provided, That when the victim is under twelve (12)
years of age, the perpetrators shall be prosecuted under Article 335, paragraph 3 for rape and
Article 336 of Act No. 3815, as amended, the Revised Penal Code, for rape or lascivious conduct,
as the case may be; Provided, That the penalty for lascivious conduct when the victim is under
twelve (12) yeas of age shall be reclusion temporal in its medium period, x x x

(c) x x x

The elements of sexual abuse under Section 5, Article III of RA 7610 are the following:

1. The accused commits the act of sexual intercourse or lascivious conduct;

2. The said act is performed with a child exploited in prostitution or subjected to other sexual
abuse; and

3. The child, whether male or female, is below 18 years of age. 14

Under Section 32, Article XIII of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of RA 7610, lascivious conduct
is defined as follows:

[T]he intentional touching, either directly or through clothing, of the genitalia, anus, groin, breast,
inner thigh, or buttocks, or the introduction of any object into the genitalia, anus or mouth, of any
person, whether of the same or opposite sex, with the intent to abuse, humiliate, harass, degrade,
or arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person, bestiality, masturbation, lascivious exhibition
of the genitals or pubic area of a person.15

In this case, the prosecution established that Garingarao touched AAAs breasts and inserted his finger
into her private part for his sexual gratification. Garingarao used his influence as a nurse by pretending
that his actions were part of the physical examination he was doing. Garingarao persisted on what he was
doing despite AAAs objections. AAA twice askedGaringarao what he was doing and he answered that he
was just examining her.

The Court has ruled that a child is deemed subject to other sexual abuse when the child is the victim of
lascivious conduct under the coercion or influence of any adult. 16 In lascivious conduct under the coercion
or influence of any adult, there must be some form of compulsion equivalent to intimidation which
subdues the free exercise of the offended partys free will. 17 In this case, Garingarao coerced AAA into
submitting to his lascivious acts by pretending that he was examining her.

Garingarao insists that, assuming that the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses were true, he should
not be convicted of violation of RA 7610 because the incident happened only once. Garingarao alleges
that the single incident would not suffice to hold him liable under RA 7610.

Garingaraos argument has no legal basis.

The Court has already ruled that it is inconsequential that sexual abuse under RA 7610 occurred only
once.18 Section 3(b) of RA 7610 provides that the abuse may be habitual or not. 19Hence, the fact that the
offense occurred only once is enough to hold Garingarao liable for acts of lasciviousness under RA 7610.

Indemnity and Moral Damages

In view of recent jurisprudence, we deem it proper to reduce the amount of indemnity to P20,00020 and
moral damages awarded by the Court of Appeals to P15,000.21 We also impose on Garingarao a fine
of P15,000.22

WHEREFORE, we DENY the petition. We AFFIRM the 26 November 2009 Decision and 22 June 2010
Resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR No. 31354 withMODIFICATIONS. The Court
finds Jojit Garingarao GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of acts of lasciviousness in relation to Republic
Act No. 7610. He is sentenced to suffer the penalty of 14 years and 8 months of reclusion temporal as
minimum to 20 years of reclusion temporal as maximum and ordered to pay AAA P20,000 as civil
indemnity, P15,000 as moral damages and a fine of P15,000.

SO ORDERED.
ANTONIO T. CARPIO

Associate Justice

WE CONCUR:

TERESITA J. LEONARDO-DE CASTRO

Associate Justice

ARTURO D. BRION DIOSDADO M. PERALTA

Associate Justice Associate Justice

JOSE PORTUGAL PEREZ

Associate Justice

ATTESTATION
I attest that the conclusions in the above Decision had been reached in consultation before the case was
assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Courts Division.

ANTONIO T. CARPIO

Associate Justice

Chairperson

CERTIFICATION

Pursuant to Section 13, Article VIII of the Constitution, and the Division Chairpersons Attestation, I certify
that the conclusions in the above Decision had been reached in consultation before the case was
assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Courts Division.

RENATO C. CORONA

Chief Justice

* Designated acting member per Special Order No. 1006 dated 10 June 2011.

** Designated acting member per Special Order No. 1040 dated 6 July 2011.

1 Under Rule 45 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure.


2 Rollo, pp. 42-62. Penned by Associate Justice Mariflor P. Punzalan Castillo with Associate Justices
Mario L. Guaria III and Jane Aurora C. Lantion, concurring.

3 Id. at 63-64.

4 An Act Providing for Stronger Deterrence and Special Protection Against Child Abuse, Exploitation and
Discrimination, Providing Penalties for its Violation, and for Other Purposes.

5 The real names of the victim and her family were not disclosed pursuant to the ruling of this Court
in People v. Cabalquinto, G.R. No. 167693, 19 September 2006, 502 SCRA 419.

6 Rollo, p. 43.

7 Id. at 68-76. Penned by Presiding Judge Hermogenes C. Fernandez.

8 Id. at 75-76.

9 Id. at 61.

10 People v. Mendoza, G.R. No. 180501, 24 December 2008, 575 SCRA 616.

11 People v. Fetalino, G.R. No. 174472, 19 June 2007, 525 SCRA 170.

12 People v. Candaza, G.R. No. 170474, 16 June 2006, 491 SCRA 280.

13 People v. Ortoa, G.R. No. 174484, 23 February 2009, 580 SCRA 80.

14 Olivarez v. Court of Appeals, 503 Phil. 421 (2005).

15 Id. at 431-432. Emphasis in the original text.

16 Olivarez v. Court of Appeals, supra note 14.

17 People v. Abello, G.R. No. 151952, 25 March 2009, 582 SCRA 378.

18 Olivarez v. Court of Appeals, supra note 14.

19 Id.

20 Flordeliz v. People, G.R. No. 186441, 3 March 2010, 614 SCRA 225.

21 Id.; People v. Montinola, G.R. No. 178061, 31 January 2008, 543 SCRA 412.

22 Id.

Rape; statutory rape distinguished from child abuse. Under Section 5(b),
Article III of RA 7610 in relation to RA 8353, if the victim of sexual abuse is
below 12 years of age, the offender should not be prosecuted for sexual
abuse but for statutory rape under Article 266-A(1)(d) of the Revised Penal
Code and penalized with reclusion perpetua. On the other hand, if the victim is
12 years or older, the offender should be charged with either sexual
abuse under Section 5(b) of RA 7610 or rape under Article 266-A (except
paragraph 1[d]) of the Revised Penal Code. However, the offender cannot be
accused of both crimes for the same act because his right against double
jeopardy will be prejudiced. A person cannot be subjected twice to criminal
liability for a single criminal act. People of the Philippines v. Eduardo Dahilig
y Agaran, G.R. No. 187083, June 13, 2011.

Rape; statutory rape distinguished from child abuse. In this case, the victim
was more than 12 years old (i.e., 13 years old) when the crime was
committed against her. Therefore, appellant may be prosecuted either for:
(a) violation of Section 5(b) of RA 7610; or (b) rape under Article 266-A
(except paragraph 1[d]) of the Revised Penal Code. The prosecutions
evidence established that appellant sexually violated the person of AAA
through force and intimidation by threatening her with a bladed instrument
and forcing her to submit to his bestial designs. Accordingly, the accused can
indeed be charged with either Rape or Child Abuse and be convicted
therefor. Since the information merely charged the accused with rape in
violation of Article 266-A par. 1 in relation to Article 266-B, 1 par. of the st

Revised Penal Code, as amended by R.A. 8353, the Supreme Court convicted
the appellant for rape in violation of Article 266-A par. 1 in relation to Article
266-B, 1 par. of the Revised Penal Code. People of the Philippines v.
st

Eduardo Dahilig y Agaran, G.R. No. 187083, June 13, 2011.

n Criminal Case No. Q-00-96402, appellant was charged with having inserted his finger inside
"AAAs" vagina under Article 336 (Acts of Lasciviousness) of the RPC in relation to Section 5(b),
Article III of RA 7610. The elements of Acts of Lasciviousness under Article 336 are:

1. That the offender commits any acts of lasciviousness or lewdness;

2. That it is done under any of the following circumstances:

a) By using force or intimidation;

b) When the offended party is deprived of reason or otherwise unconscious; or

c) When the offended party is under 12 years of age; and

3. That the offended party is another person of either sex.


To obtain conviction for the same, the prosecution is also bound to establish the elements of sexual
abuse under Section 5, Article III of RA 7610, to wit:

1. The accused commits the act of sexual intercourse or lascivious conduct.

2. The said act is performed with a child exploited in prostitution or subjected to other sexual
abuse.

3. The child, whether male or female, is below 18 years of age.

petitioners contend that the assailed CA Decision and Resolution should be


reconsidered and the RTC Decision dated August 11, 1998 dismissed as
respondent's act of filingCivil Case No. 97-82225 and Criminal Cases Nos. 277576
to 78 constitutes forum shopping.

Forum shopping is the institution of two or more actions or proceedings grounded


on the same cause, on the supposition that one or the other court would render a
favorable disposition. It is usually resorted to by a party against whom an adverse
judgment or order has been issued in one forum, in an attempt to seek and possibly
to get a favorable opinion in another forum, other than by an appeal or a special
civil action for certiorari.[10]

There is forum shopping when the following elements concur: (1) identity of the
parties or, at least, of the parties who represent the same interest in both actions; (2)
identity of the rights asserted and relief prayed for, as the latter is founded on the
same set of facts; and (3) identity of the two preceding particulars, such that any
judgment rendered in the other action will amount to res judicata in the action
under consideration or will constitute litis pendentia.[11]

Perjury; litis pendentia. What is pivotal in determining whether forum shopping


exists or not is the vexation caused the courts and parties-litigants by a party who
asks different courts and/or administrative agencies to rule on the same or related
cases and/or grant the same or substantially the same reliefs, in the process
creating the possibility of conflicting decisions being rendered by the different
courts and/or administrative agencies upon the same issues. A perusal of the two
cases would show that while it involves the same res, it does not involve the same
parties or rights or relief prayed for. Clearly, it cannot be said that respondent
committed perjury when he failed to disclose in his Certification Against Forum
Shopping the previous filing of the cadastral case. Philip S. Yu vs. Hernan G.
Lim, G.R. No. 182291, September 22, 2010.

renalyn santiago <renalyn.santiago@yahoo.com>


To
Renalyn Sta Maria Santiago
Today at 6:32 PM
xxxx
Paragraph (b) punishes sexual intercourse or lascivious conduct not only with a child
exploited in prostitution, but also with a child subjected to other sexual abuses. It
covers not only a situation where a child is abused for profit, but also where one
through coercion, intimidation or influence engages in sexual intercourse or
lascivious conduct with a child.

The elements of sexual abuse under Section 5, Article III of RA 7610 are the
following:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary

1. The accused commits the act of sexual intercourse or lascivious


conduct;chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary

2. The said act is performed with a child exploited in prostitution or subjected to


other sexual abuse; andChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary

3. The child, whether male or female, is below 18 years of age.

_________________________

(g) Sexual abuse includes the employment, use, persuasion, inducement,


enticement or coercion of a child to engage in, or assist another person to
engage in, sexual intercourse or lascivious conduct or the molestation,
prostitution, or incest with children;chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary

exual intercourse or lascivious conduct;chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary The said act is


performed with a child exploited in prostitution or subjected to other sexual abuse;
andChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary The child, whether male or female, is below 18
years of age._________________________
requisites of sexual abuse under Section 5(b) of R.A. No. 7610

Rape; statutory rape distinguished from child abuse. Under Section 5(b), Article III of RA 7610 in
relation to RA 8353, if the victim of sexual abuse is below 12 years of age, the offender should
not be prosecuted for sexual abuse but for statutory rape under Article 266-A(1)(d) of the
Revised Penal Code and penalized with reclusion perpetua. On the other hand, if the victim is
12 years or older, the offender should be charged with either sexual abuse under Section 5(b) of
RA 7610 or rape under Article 266-A (except paragraph 1[d]) of the Revised Penal Code.
However, the offender cannot be accused of both crimes for the same act because his right
against double jeopardy will be prejudiced. A person cannot be subjected twice to criminal
liability for a single criminal act. People of the Philippines v. Eduardo Dahilig y Agaran, G.R. No.
187083, June 13, 2011.
Rape; statutory rape distinguished from child abuse. In this case, the victim was more than 12
years old (i.e., 13 years old) when the crime was committed against her. Therefore, appellant
may be prosecuted either for: (a) violation of Section 5(b) of RA 7610; or (b) rape under Article
266-A (except paragraph 1[d]) of the Revised Penal Code. The prosecutions evidence
established that appellant sexually violated the person of AAA through force and intimidation by
threatening her with a bladed instrument and forcing her to submit to his bestial designs.
Accordingly, the accused can indeed be charged with either Rape or Child Abuse and be
convicted therefor. Since the information merely charged the accused with rape in violation of
Article 266-A par. 1 in relation to Article 266-B, 1st par. of the Revised Penal Code, as amended
by R.A. 8353, the Supreme Court convicted the appellant for rape in violation of Article 266-A
par. 1 in relation to Article 266-B, 1st par. of the Revised Penal Code. People of the Philippines v.
Eduardo Dahilig y Agaran, G.R. No. 187083, June 13, 2011.
n Criminal Case No. Q-00-96402, appellant was charged with having inserted his finger inside
"AAAs" vagina under Article 336 (Acts of Lasciviousness) of the RPC in relation to Section 5(b),
Article III of RA 7610. The elements of Acts of Lasciviousness under Article 336 are:
1. That the offender commits any acts of lasciviousness or lewdness;
2. That it is done under any of the following circumstances:
a) By using force or intimidation;
b) When the offended party is deprived of reason or otherwise unconscious; or
c) When the offended party is under 12 years of age; and
3. That the offended party is another person of either sex.
To obtain conviction for the same, the prosecution is also bound to establish the elements of
sexual abuse under Section 5, Article III of RA 7610, to wit:
1. The accused commits the act of sexual intercourse or lascivious conduct.
2. The said act is performed with a child exploited in prostitution or subjected to other sexual
abuse.
3. The child, whether male or female, is below 18 years of age

Reply Reply to All Forward More

Dismissal; forum shopping. Forum shopping is defined as an act of a party, against whom an adverse
judgment or order has been rendered in one forum, of seeking and possibly getting a favorable opinion in
another forum, other than by appeal or special civil action for certiorari. It may also be the institution of two
or more actions or proceedings grounded on the same cause on the supposition that one or the other
court would make a favorable disposition. There is forum shopping where the elements of litis pendentia
are present, namely: (a) there is identity of parties, or at least such parties as represent the same interest
in both actions; (b) there is identity of rights asserted and relief prayed for, the relief being founded on the
same set of facts; and (c) the identity of the two preceding particulars is such that any judgment rendered
in the pending case, regardless of which party is successful, would amount to res judicata in the other. It
is expressly prohibited by this Court because it trifles with and abuses court processes, degrades the
administration of justice, and congests court dockets. A willful and deliberate violation of the rule against
forum shopping is a ground for summary dismissal of the case, and may also constitute direct contempt.

In this case, there is clearly no forum shopping committed by ASBT. The July 5, 2001 motion it filed
praying for reconsideration of the June 19, 2001 Resolution of the Court of Appeals, dismissing the
petition on the technical ground of lack of proof of the authority of ASBT President Mildred R. Santos to
bind the corporation in its appeal, is simply what it is, a motion for reconsideration. Sameer cannot insist
that it be treated as a new petition just to make it fit the definition of forum shopping in an attempt to evade
liability to pay the amounts awarded to Santos, et al. Nor was Sameer correct when it asseverated that the
Seventh Division, that initially dismissed then reinstated ASBTs petition, and the Former Fourth Division,
that rendered the questioned Decision and Resolution in favor of ASBT, can be considered as different
fora within the ambit of the prohibition. They are mere divisions of one and the same Court of Appeals.
And as explained by the appellate court, what actually happened was that after the Seventh Division
issued its June 19, 2001 Resolution dismissing the case for failure of ASBT to show that Mildred R.
Santos was authorized to sign and bind the corporation in the proceedings, ASBT complied and submitted
the requisite proof of authority. The Seventh Division then issued a Resolution on August 14, 2001
reinstating the petition. After an internal reorganization, it was the Fourth Division which promulgated a
decision on December 10, 2001. ASBT never filed a second petition. Sameer Overseas Placement
Agency, Inc. vs. Mildred R. Santos, etc. et al., G.R. No. 152579, August 4, 2009.

Dismissal; forum shopping. Forum shopping can be committed in three ways: (1) filing multiple cases
based on the same cause of action and with the same prayer, the previous case not having been resolved
yet (where the ground for dismissal is litis pendentia); (2) filing multiple cases based on the same cause of
action and the same prayer, the previous case having been finally resolved (where the ground for
dismissal is res judicata); and (3) filing multiple cases based on the same cause of action, but with
different prayers (splitting of causes of action, where the ground for dismissal is also either litis pendentia
or res judicata).

In the present case, there is no dispute that petitioners failed to state in the Certificate of Non-Forum
Shopping, attached to their Verified Complaint in Civil Case No. CV-05-0402 before RTC-Branch 195, the
existence of Civil Case No. CV-01-0207 pending before RTC-Branch 258. Nevertheless, petitioners insist
that they are not guilty of forum shopping, since (1) the two cases do not have the same ultimate objective
Civil Case No. CV-01-0207 seeks the annulment of the 8 November 2001 public auction and certificate
of sale issued therein, while Civil Case No. CV-05-0402 prays for the award of actual and compensatory
damages for respondents tortuous act of making it appear that an auction sale actually took place on 8
November 2001; and (2) the judgment in Civil Case No. CV-01-0207, on the annulment of the foreclosure
sale, would not affect the outcome of Civil Case No. CV-05-0402, on the entitlement of petitioners to
damages. The Court, however, finds these arguments refuted by the allegations made by petitioners
themselves in their Complaints in both cases.

Petitioners committed forum shopping by filing multiple cases based on the same cause of action,
although with different prayers. Fidel O. Chua and Filiden Realty and Development Corporation
vs.Metropolitan Bank and Trust Company, et al, G.R. No. 182311, August 19, 2009.
All of these four cases were dismissed one by one by the First, Second, Third and Fifth Divisions of the
Sandiganbayan. So, from the point of view even of the common tao, tapos na ang boksing, like the
Pacquiao fight. But after being acquitted in the four criminal cases and after the lapse of more than ten
years since the alleged victim, Jimenez, complained about it, the Ombudsman still filed a civil case for
forfeiture of the dollars allegedly received by Perez for which he was criminally charged and already
acquitted. This move of the Ombudsman is really quite disturbing. It conveys a chilling message that a
person already absolved in all four criminal cases filed against him can still be sued civilly for the same
subject. This is not only forum shopping but a form of harassment since the dismissal of the criminal
cases indubitably shows that there is really no basis for filing the civil case.

he prosecution failed to present competent or sufficient evidence against him to sustain the indictment or
support a verdict of

Forum shopping is considered a serious offense which can be made by a complainant. The law in
the Philippines explicitly prohibits the filing of more than one case for the same cause of action in
any forum or court of law so that the courts will not be clogged by complaints of people who may file
more than one complaint in an effort to gain a favorable decision in any of the numerous cases filed.