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PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-Appellee,

vs.
JOSELITO ALMENDRAL y ALCASABAS, accused-Appellant.

In this case of incestuous rape, the victim claims she was defiled by her own father about forty (40) times. Moral justice
demands that the father be punished for each and every despicable act on his minor daughter, but the law, restricted by
the requirements of procedure, allows his conviction only for two counts of simple rape.

Facts:
• This is an appeal from the Decision of the Regional Trial Court of San Pedro, Laguna, finding appellant Joselito
Almendral y Alcasabas guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Rape

The Information that spawned the Decision states:

That on or about sometime (sic) 1987, prior and subsequent thereto, in the Municipality of Biñan, Province of
Laguna, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, accused Joselito Almendral y Alcasabas,
with lewd design and by means of force, violence and intimidation, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and
feloniously have carnal knowledge of said Maria Jessica Estrada y Almendral against her will and consent, to her
damage and prejudice.

• Appellant pleaded not guilty to the charge. Trial proceeded in accordance with the Rules.
• Sometime in 1987 when Jessica was eleven (11) years old and there were no other persons in the house,
appellant summoned her to the room. He made her sit on the papag and touched her breast and her "private
organ." As she was seated, he undressed her. Not knowing what was going on, Jessica allowed appellant to
undress her completely. Then he made her lie down and placed himself on top of her. He forcibly inserted his
penis into her "private organ." At first, he failed to penetrate her but he tried to do it again and succeeded. Later,
appellant dressed, told Jessica not to tell her mother about what happened, and left the house. It was then that
Jessica noticed that her private part was bloody. Afraid that appellant might harm her should she tell her mother,
she kept mum about the incident.
• Appellant did the same sex act to her around twenty (20) more times before she reached the age of thirteen (13)
and twenty (20) more times after that, all in their house in Tubigan.
• The last time appellant sexually violated her was in 1992 when she was fifteen (15) years old and in third year
high school.
• After her marriage on June 30, 1994, her husband, Analito Estrada (Anton), asked her "who was ahead of him" in
deflowering her. Jessica told her husband about the sexual incidents with her father.
• Accused then posits that the credibility of the victim-witness is not plausible due to the fact that she could not
remember the exact dates of the rape incidents and that it could’ve been the victim’s easy way out in appeasing
the ire of her husband. Appellant interposed the defenses of denial and alibi, claiming that he could not have
committed the crime because he was employed in Sta. Barbara, Pangasinan between 1986 and 1988. His alibi is
supported by a certification28 issued by Mayor Bautista that appellant was in his employ as his official driver from
May 16, 1986 until its issuance on July 18, 1988.

Issue:

W/N the lack of exactness on the dates of commission either affects the credibility of the victim-witness and/or prejudices
the accused with regard to the information filed against him

Held:

Ratio:

The victim's failure to recall the exact dates of the sexual assault she experienced in the hands of appellant, a failure she
frankly admitted in court,24 does not necessarily puncture her credibility.

Thus, in People v. Villar, where the child victim claimed that the accused raped her more than a hundred times, the Court
said:
Furthermore, the Court cannot impose the burden of exactness in the victim's recollection of her harrowing
experience more so in the present case where the victim was an innocent and tender 9-year old lass when she
was first raped.

In People vs. Sagucio (277 SCRA 183 [1997], where this Court faced the same issue of alleged inconsistencies in the
victim's narration, we held that errorless testimony cannot be expected especially when a witness is recounting details of a
harrowing experience. A court cannot expect a rape victim to remember every detail of the appalling outrage.

n this appeal, appellant further raises for the first time the issue of the sufficiency of the Information filed against him. He
argues that the trial court erred in convicting him under a defective information. He contends that he should not be
convicted on the basis of the Information simply alleging "that on or about sometime (sic) 1987, prior and subsequent
thereto" because it does not specify the circumstances under which the crime was committed. The vague Information
purportedly left the appellant unable to defend himself properly, as he had no opportunity to explain his whereabouts from
1989 to 1992.29 He adds that the lack of an allegation of an approximate date or month or even a single specific date
when the rapes were committed sorely affected the credibility of the alleged victim.30

The information filed against an accused is intended to inform him of the accusations against him in order that he could
adequately prepare his defense. It is thus textbook doctrine that an accused cannot be convicted of an offense unless it is
clearly charged in the complaint or information.31 To ensure that the constitutional right of the accused to be informed of
the nature and cause of the accusation against him is not violated, the information must state the name of the accused,
the designation given to the offense by the statute, a statement of the acts or omissions so complained of as constituting
the offense; the name of the offended party; the approximate time and date of the commission of the offense, and the
place where the

offense has been committed.32 It must embody the essential elements of the crime charged by setting forth the facts and
circumstances that have a bearing on the culpability and liability of the accused so that he can properly prepare for and
undertake his defense.33

However, it is not necessary for the information to allege the date and time of the commission of the crime with exactitude
unless time is an essential ingredient of the offense.34 Failure to specify the exact dates or time when the rapes occurred
does not ipso facto make the information defective on its face. The date or time of the commission of the rape is not a
material ingredient of the said crime35 because the gravamen of rape is carnal knowledge of a woman through force and
intimidation. In fact, the precise time when the rape takes places has no substantial bearing on its commission.36 As such,
the date or time need not be stated with absolute accuracy. It is sufficient that the complaint or information states that the
crime has been committed at any time as near as possible to the date of its actual commission. 37

Moreover, appellant failed to raise the issue of the defective information before the trial court through a motion for bill of
particulars or motion to quash the information. Such failure to object to the allegation in the information as to the time of
commission of the rapes before appellant pleaded not guilty thereto amounted to a waiver of the defect in the information.
Objections as to matters of form or substance in the information cannot be made for the first time on appeal.

Appellant likewise never objected to the presentation of evidence by the prosecution to prove that the offenses were
committed "on or about sometime (sic) 1987, prior and subsequent thereto." He cannot now pretend that he was unable to
defend himself in view of the vagueness of the allegation in the Information as to when the crimes were committed, as it
was shown to the contrary that he participated in the trial and was even able to give an alibi in his defense.