Saturday, January 27, 2007

2006 Criminal Law Case Digests

EVANGELINE LADONGA VS. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES
G.R. No. 141066. February 17, 2005


Facts: In 1989, spouses Adronico and Evangeline Ladonga became Alfredo Oculam’s regular customers in his pawnshop business. Sometime in May 1990, the Ladonga spouses obtained a P9,075.55 loan from him, guaranteed by United Coconut Planters Bank (UCPB) Check No. 284743, post dated to July 7, 1990 issued by Adronico; sometime in the last week of April 1990 and during the first week of May 1990, the Ladonga spouses obtained an additional loan of P12,730.00, guaranteed by UCPB Check No. 284744, post dated to July 26, 1990 issued by Adronico; between May and June 1990, the Ladonga spouses obtained a third loan in the amount of P8,496.55, guaranteed by UCPB Check No. 106136, post dated to July 22, 1990 issued by Adronico; the three checks bounced upon presentment for the reason “CLOSED ACCOUNT”; when the Ladonga spouses failed to redeem the check, despite repeated demands, he filed a criminal complaint against them. While admitting that the checks issued by Adronico bounced because there was no sufficient deposit or the account was closed, the Ladonga spouses claimed that the checks were issued only to guarantee the obligation, with an agreement that Oculam should not encash the checks when they mature; and, that petitioner is not a signatory of the checks and had no participation in the issuance thereof. The RTC rendered a joint decision finding the Ladonga spouses guilty beyond reasonable doubt of violating B.P. Blg. 22. Petitioner brought the case to the Court of Appeals. The Court of Appeals affirmed the conviction of petitioner.

Issue: Whether or not the petitioner who was not the drawer or issuer of the three checks that bounced but her co-accused husband under the latter’s account could be held liable for violations of Batas Pambansa Bilang 22 as conspirator.

Held: The conviction must be set aside. Article 8 of the RPC provides that “a conspiracy exists when two or more persons come to an agreement concerning the commission of a felony and decide to commit it.” To be held guilty as a co-principal by reason of conspiracy, the accused must be shown to have performed an overt act in pursuance or furtherance of the complicity. The overt act or acts of the accused may consist of active participation in the actual commission of the crime itself or may consist of moral assistance to his co-conspirators by moving them to execute or implement the criminal plan. In the present case, the prosecution failed to prove that petitioner performed any overt act in furtherance of the alleged conspiracy. Apparently, the only semblance of overt act that may be attributed to petitioner is that she was present when the first check was issued. However, this inference cannot be stretched to mean concurrence with the criminal design. Conspiracy must be established, not by conjectures, but by positive and conclusive evidence. Conspiracy transcends mere companionship and mere presence at the scene of the crime does not in itself amount to conspiracy.
Even knowledge, acquiescence in or agreement to cooperate, is not enough to constitute one as a party to a conspiracy, absent any active participation in the commission of the crime with a view to the furtherance of the common design and purpose

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES VS. ANTONIO MENDOZA Y BUTONES
G.R. No. 152589 & 152758. January 31, 2005

Facts: Before us is the Motion for Reconsideration filed by herein accused-appellant of our Decision dated 24 October 2003 in G.R. No. 152589 and No. 152758. In said decision, we modified the ruling of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 61, Gumaca, Quezon, in Crim. Case No. 6636-G finding accused-appellant guilty of rape under Articles 266-A and 266-B of the Revised Penal Code and instead, we adjudged him guilty only of attempted rape. We, however, upheld the ruling of the court a quo with regard to Crim. Case No. 6637-G finding accused-appellant guilty of incestuous rape of a minor under Art. 266-B of the Revised Penal Code as amended by Republic Act No. 8353 and for this, we sentenced accused-appellant to suffer the ultimate penalty of death.

Issue: Whether or not the accused committed attempted rape or acts of lasciviousness.

Held: After a thorough review and evaluation of the records of this case, we find no sufficient basis to modify our earlier decision convicting accused-appellant of attempted rape in Crim. Case No. 6636-G.There is an attempt to commit rape when the offender commences its commission directly by overt acts but does not perform all the acts of execution which should produce the felony by reason of some cause or accident other than his own spontaneous desistance. Upon the other hand, Article 366 of the Revised Penal Code states: “(a)ny person who shall commit any act of lasciviousness upon the other person of either sex, under any of the circumstances mentioned in the preceding article, shall be punished by prision correccional.” As explained by an eminent author of criminal law, rape and acts of lasciviousness have the same nature. There is, however, a fundamental difference between the two. In rape, there is the intent to lie with a woman whereas this element is absent in acts of lasciviousness. In this case, the series of appalling events which took place on the night of 18 March 1998 inside the humble home of private complainant and of accused-appellant, establish beyond doubt that the latter intended to ravish his very own flesh and blood. As vividly narrated by private complainant before the trial court, accused-appellant, taking advantage of the cover of darkness and of the absence of his wife, removed her (private complainant’s) clothing and thereafter placed himself on top of her. Accused-appellant, who was similarly naked as private complainant, then proceeded to kiss the latter and he likewise touched her breasts until finally, he rendered private complainant unconscious by boxing her in the stomach. These dastardly acts of accused-appellant constitute “the first or some subsequent step in a direct movement towards the commission of the offense after the preparations are made.” Far from being mere obscenity or lewdness, they are indisputably overt acts executed in order to consummate the crime of rape against the person of private complainant.

SALVADOR D. FLOR VS. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES
G.R. No. 139987. March 31, 2005


Facts: Information for libel was filed before the RTC, Branch 20, Naga City, against the petitioner and Ramos who were then the managing editor and correspondent, respectively, of the Bicol Forum, a local weekly newspaper circulated in the Bicol Region. It states: On or about the 18th day up to the 24th day of August, 1986, in the Bicol Region comprised by the Provinces of Albay, Catanduanes, Sorsogon, Masbate, Camarines Sur, and Camarines Norte, and the Cities of Iriga and Naga, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court under R.A. No. 4363, and B.P. Blg. 129, the above-named accused who are the news correspondent and the managing editor, respectively, of the local weekly newspaper Bicol Forum, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously, without justifiable motive and with malicious intent of impeaching, discrediting and destroying the honor, integrity, good name and reputation of the complainant as Minister of the Presidential Commission on Government Reorganization and concurrently Governor of the Province of Camarines Sur, and to expose him to public hatred, ridicule and contempt, write, edit, publish and circulate an issue of the local weekly newspaper BICOL FORUM throughout the Bicol Region, with banner headline and front page news item read by the public throughout the Bicol Region “VILLAFUERTE’S DENIAL CONVINCES NO ONE”. The trial court found the petitioner guilty. The Court of Appeals likewise upheld the decision of the trial court.

Issue: Whether or not the questioned news item is libelous.

Held: No. Libel is defined as “a public and malicious imputation of a crime, or of a vice or defect, real or imaginary, or any act, omission, condition, status, or circumstance tending to cause the dishonor, discredit, or contempt of a natural person or juridical person, or to blacken the memory of one who is dead.” The law recognizes two kinds of privileged matters. First are those which are classified as absolutely privileged which enjoy immunity from libel suits regardless of the existence of malice in fact. The other kind of privileged matters are the qualifiedly or conditionally privileged communications which, unlike the first classification, may be susceptible to a finding of libel provided the prosecution establishes the presence of malice in fact. The exceptions provided for in Article 354 of the Revised Penal Code fall into this category. The interest of society and the maintenance of good government demand a full discussion of public affairs. Complete liberty to comment on the conduct of public men is a scalpel in the case of free speech. The sharp incision of its probe relieves the abscesses of officialdom. Men in public life may suffer under a hostile and an unjust accusation; the wound can be assuaged with the balm of a clear conscience. Rising superior to any official, or set of officials, to the Chief Executive, to the Legislature, to the Judiciary – to any or all the agencies of Government – public opinion should be the constant source of liberty and democracy.

NORMA A. ABDULLA versus PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES
G.R. NO. 150129 April 6, 2005

Facts: Convicted by the Sandiganbayan in its Crim. Case No. 23261 of the crime of illegal use of public funds defined and penalized under Article 220 of the Revised Penal Code, or more commonly known as technical malversation, appellant Norma A. Abdulla is now before this Court on petition for review under Rule 45. Along with Nenita Aguil and Mahmud Darkis, appellant was charged under an Information which pertinently reads: That on or about November, 1989 or sometime prior or subsequent thereto, in Jolo, Sulu, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused: NORMA A. ABDULLA and NENITA P. AGUIL, both public officers, being then the President and cashier, respectively, of the Sulu State College, and as such by reason of their positions and duties are accountable for public funds under their administration, while in the performance of their functions, conspiring and confederating with MAHMUD I. DARKIS, also a public officer, being then the Administrative Officer V of the said school, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously, without lawful authority, apply for the payment of wages of casuals, the amount of FORTY THOUSAND PESOS (P40,000.00), Philippine Currency, which amount was appropriated for the payment of the salary differentials of secondary school teachers of the said school, to the damage and prejudice of public service .Appellant’s co-accused, Nenita Aguil and Mahmud Darkis, were both acquitted. Only appellant was found guilty and sentenced by the Sandiganbayan in its decision. Upon motion for reconsideration, the Sandiganbayan amended appellant’s sentence by deleting the temporary special disqualification imposed upon her. Still dissatisfied, appellant, now before this Court, persistently pleas innocence of the crime charged.
Issue: 1) Whether or not there was unlawful intent on the appellant’s part.

2) Whether or not the essential elements of the crime of technical malversation is present.

Held: The Court must have to part ways with the Sandiganbayan in its reliance on Section 5 (b) of Rule 131 as basis for its imputation of criminal intent upon appellant. The presumption of criminal intent will not automatically apply to all charges of technical malversation because disbursement of public funds for public use is per se not an unlawful act. Here, appellant cannot be said to have committed an unlawful act when she paid the obligation of the Sulu State College to its employees in the form of terminal leave benefits such employees were entitled to under existing civil service laws. There is no dispute that the money was spent for a public purpose – payment of the wages of laborers working on various projects in the municipality. It is pertinent to note the high priority which laborers’ wages enjoy as claims against the employers’ funds and resources. Settled is the rule that conviction should rest on the strength of evidence of the prosecution and not on the weakness of the defense. Absent this required quantum of evidence would mean exoneration for accused-appellant. The Sandiganbayan’s improper reliance on Sec. 5(b) of Rule 131 does not save the day for the prosecution’s deficiency in proving the existence of criminal intent nor could it ever tilt the scale from the constitutional presumption of innocence to that of guilt. In the absence of criminal intent, this Court has no basis to affirm appellant’s conviction. 2. The Court notes that there is no particular appropriation for salary differentials of secondary school teachers of the Sulu State College in RA 6688. The third element of the crime of technical malversation which requires that the public fund used should have been appropriated by law, is therefore absent. The authorization given by the Department of Budget and Management for the use of the forty thousand pesos (P40,000.00) allotment for payment of salary differentials of 34 secondary school teachers is not an ordinance or law contemplated in Article 220 of the Revised Penal Code. Appellant herein, who used the remainder of the forty thousand pesos (P40,000.00) released by the DBM for salary differentials, for the payment of the terminal leave benefits of other school teachers of the Sulu State College, cannot be held guilty of technical malversation in the absence, as here, of any provision in RA 6688 specifically appropriating said amount for payment of salary differentials only. In fine, the third and fourth elements of the crime defined in Article 220 of the Revised Penal Code are lacking in this case. Acquittal is thus in order.

ENRIQUE “TOTOY” RIVERA Y DE GUZMAN VS. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES
G.R. No. 138553. June 30, 2005

Facts: On May 6, 1993, in the Regional Trial Court at La Trinidad, Benguet an information for direct assault was filed against petitioner, allegedly committed, as follows: That on or about the 20th day of March, 1993, at Tomay, Shilan, Municipality of La Trinidad, Province of Benguet, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously attack, employ force and seriously resist one Lt. EDWARD M. LEYGO, knowing him to be a policeman, by then and there challenging the latter to a fistfight and thereafter grappling and hitting the said policeman on his face, thus injuring him in the process while the latter was actually engaged in the performance of his official duties. The trial court convicted petitioner of the crime of direct assault. The Court of Appeals affirmed the decision of the trial court.
Issue: Whether or not the Court of Appeals erred in affirming the judgment of conviction rendered by the trial court.

Held: Direct assault, a crime against public order, may be committed in two ways: first, by any person or persons who, without a public uprising, shall employ force or intimidation for the attainment of any of the purposes enumerated in defining the crimes of rebellion and sedition; and second, by any person or persons who, without a public uprising, shall attack, employ force, or seriously intimidate or resist any person in authority or any of his agents, while engaged in the performance of official duties, or on occasion of such performance. Unquestionably, petitioner’s case falls under the second mode, which is the more common form of assault and is aggravated when: (a) the assault is committed with a weapon; or (b) when the offender is a public officer or employee; or (c) when the offender lays hand upon a person in authority. In any event, this Court has said time and again that the assessment of the credibility of witnesses and their testimonies is best undertaken by the trial court, what with reality that it has the opportunity to observe the witnesses first-hand and to note their demeanor, conduct, and attitude while testifying. Its findings on such matters, absent, as here, of any arbitrariness or oversight of facts or circumstances of weight and substance, are final and conclusive upon this Court and will not to be disturbed on appeal.

FRUSTRATED HOMICIDE- ESSENTIAL REQUISITES FOR COMPLETE SELF-DEFENSE

CONRADO CASITAS VS. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES
G.R. No.152358, February 5, 2004

Facts: Early in the morning of August 25, 1994, Romeo C. Boringot was awakened by his wife Aida, the latter having heard somebody shouting invectives at her husband, viz: “You ought to be killed, you devil.” So Romeo stood up and peeped to see who was outside. When he did not see anybody, he proceeded towards the road.
Upon passing by a coconut tree, he was suddenly hacked at the back with bolo which was more that 1 foot long. He looked back at his assailant and he recognized him to be appellant Conrado whom he knew since the 1970’s and whose face he clearly saw as light from the moon illuminated the place. Appellant went on hacking him, hitting him in different parts of the body, including ears and the head. While hitting him, appellant was shouting invectives at him. Appellant also hit him with a guitar causing Romeo to sustain an injury on his forehead. All in all, he sustained 11 wounds.
Petitioner invoked self-defense. The trial court rejected petitioner’s plea of self-defense and convicted him of frustrated homicide.

Issue: Whether or not petitioner acted in self-defense.

Held: The petitioner was burdened to prove, with clear and convincing evidence, the confluence of the three essential requisites for complete self-defense: (a) unlawful aggression on the part of the victim; (b) reasonable means used by the person defending himself to repel or prevent the unlawful to repel or prevent the unlawful aggression; (c) lack of sufficient provocation on the part of the person defending himself. By invoking self-defense, the petitioner thereby submitted having deliberately caused the victim’s injuries. The burden of proof is shifted to him to prove with clear and convincing all the requisites of his affirmative defense. He must rely on the strength of his own evidence and not the weakness of that of the disbelieved after the petitioner admitted inflicting the mortal injuries on the victim. In this case, the petitioner failed to prove his affirmative defense.
The number, nature and location of the victim’s wounds belie the petitioner’s claim that the said wounds or the victim were inflicted as they duel with each other.
Witness for the petitioner testified that the wounds sustained by petitioner could not have been caused by bolo.
Petitioner never surrendered voluntarily to the police and admitted that he had injured the victim. This would have bolstered his claim that he hacked the victim to defend himself. The petitioner did not do so.

BIGAMY; ELEMENTS, EFFECT OF DECLARATION OF NULLITY OFSECOND MARRIAGE ON THE GROUND OF PSYCHOLOGICAL INCAPACITY; PENALTY

VERONICO TENEBRO VS. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS
G.R. No. 150758, February 18, 2004

Facts: Veronico Tenebro contracted marriage with Leticia Ancajas on April 10, 1990. The two were wed by a judge at Lapu-Lapu City. The two lived together continuously and without interruption until the later part of 1991, when Tenebro informed Ancajas that he had been previously married to a certain Hilda Villareyes on Nov. 10, 1986. Tenebro showed Ancajas a photocopy of a marriage contract between him and Villareyes. Invoking this previous marriage, petitioner thereafter left the conjugal dwelling which he shared with Ancajas, stating that he was going to cohabit with Villareyes.
On January 25, 1993, petitioner contracted yet another marriage, this one with a certain Nilda Villegas. When Ancajas learned of this third marriage, she verified from Villareyes whether the latter was indeed married to the petitioner. Villareyes confirmed in handwritten letter that indeed Tenebro was her husband.
Ancajas thereafter filed a complaint for bigamy against petitioner. During trial, Tenebro admitted having married to Villareyes and produced two children. However, he denied that he and Villareyes were validly married to each other, claiming that no marriage ceremony took place. He alleged that he signed a marriage contract merely to enable her to get the allotment from his office in connection with his work as a seaman. The trial court found him guilty of bigamy.

Issues: (1) Whether or not the petitioner is guilty of the crime of bigamy.
(2) What is the effect of declaration of nullity of the second marriage of the petitioner on the ground of psychological incapacity?

Held: (1) Yes, petitioner is guilty of the crime of bigamy. Under Article 349 of the Revised Penal Code, the elements of the crime of bigamy are: (1) that the offender has been legally married; (2) that the first marriage has not been legally dissolved or, in case his or her spouse is absent, the absent spouse could not yet be presumed dead according to the Civil Code; (3) that he contracts a second or subsequent marriage; and (4) that the second or subsequent marriage has all the essential requisites for validity. The prosecution sufficient evidence, both documentary and oral, proved the existence of the marriage between petitioner and Villareyes.
(2) A second or subsequent marriage contracted during subsistence of petitioner’s valid marriage to Villareyes, petitioner’s marriage to Ancajas would be null and void ab initio completely regardless of petitioner’s psychological capacity or incapacity. Since a marriage contracted during the subsistence of a valid marriage is automatically void, the nullity of this second marriage is not per se an argument for the avoidance of criminal liability for bigamy. Pertinently, Article 349 of the RPC criminalizes “any person who shall contract a second or subsequent marriage before the former marriage has been legally dissolved, or before the absent spouse has been declared presumptively dead by means of a judgment rendered in the proper proceedings”. A plain reading of the law, therefore, would indicate that the provision penalizes the mere act of contracting a second or subsequent marriage during the subsistence of a valid marriage.

KIDNAPPING FOR RANSOM

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES VS. ABDILA SILONGAN, ET. AL.
G.R. No. 137182, Apirl 24, 2003

Facts: On March 16, 1996, businessman Alexander SaldaƱa went to Sultan Kudarat with three other men to meet a certain Macapagal Silongan alias Commander Lambada. They arrived in the morning and were able to talk to Macapagal concerning the gold nuggets that purportedly being sold by the latter. The business transaction was postponed and continued in the afternoon due to the death of Macapagal’s relative and that he has to pick his brother in Cotabato City.
Then at around 8:30 PM, as they headed to the highway, Macapagal ordered the driver to stop. Suddenly, 15 armed men appeared. Alexander and his three companions were ordered to go out of the vehicle, they were tied up, and blindfolded. Macapagal and Teddy were also tied and blindfolded, but nothing more was done to them. Alexander identified all the abductors including the brothers of Macapagal.
The four victims were taken to the mountain hideout in Maguindanao. The kidnappers demanded P15, 000,000 from Alexander’s wife for his release, but the amount was reduced to twelve million. The victims were then transferred from one place to another. They made Alexander write a letter to his wife for his ransom. But on several occasions, a person named Mayangkang himself would write to Alexander’s wife. The two other victims managed to escape but Alexander was released after payment of ransom. The trial court convicted Macapagal and his companions of the crime of Kidnapping for Ransom with Serious Illegal Detention.

Issue: Whether it is necessary that there is actual payment of ransom in the crime of Kidnapping.

Held: No, it is necessary that there is actual payment of ransom in the crime of Kidnapping. For the crime to be committed, at least one overt act of demanding ransom must be made. It is not necessary that there be actual payment of ransom because what the law requires is merely the existence of the purpose of demanding ransom. In this case, the records are replete with instances when the kidnappers demanded ransom from the victim. At the mountain hideout where Alexander was first taken, he was made a letter to his wife asking her to pay ransom of twelve million. Also Mayangkang himself wrote more letters to his family threatened the family to kill Alexander if the ransom was not paid.

ESTAFA; TRUST RECEIPTS LAW

EDWARD ONG VS. COURT OF APPEALS
G.R. No. 119858, April 29, 2003

Facts: Petitioner Edward Ong, representing ARMAGRI International Corporation (ARMAGRI), executed two trust receipts acknowledging receipt from the Solid Bank Corp. of goods valued at P 2,532,500 and P 2, 050,000. In addition, he bounded himself to any increase or decrease of interest rate in case Central Bank floated rates and to pay any additional penalty until the trust receipts are fully paid.
When the trust receipts became due and demandable, ARMAGRI failed to pay or deliver the goods to the Bank despite several demand letters. The trial court convicted Ong of two counts of estafa for violation of the Trust Receipts Law.

Issue: Whether the appellant is guilty of two counts estafa for violation of the Trust Receipts Law.

Held: Yes, he is guilty for failure by the entrustee to account for the goods received in trust constitutes estafa. The Trust Receipts Law is violated whenever the entrustee fails to: (1) turn over the proceeds of the sale of goods, or (2) return the goods covered by the trust receipts if the good are not sold. The mere failure to account or return gives rise to the crime which is malum prohibitum. There is no requirement to prove intent to defraud.
The Bank released the goods to ARMAGRI upon execution of the trust receipts and as part of the loan transactions of ARMAGRI. The Bank had a right to demand from ARMAGRI payment or at least a return of the goods. ARMAGRI failed tom pay or return the goods despite repeated demands by the Bank.
It is well-settled doctrine long before the enactment of the Trust Receipts Law, that the failure to account, upon demand, for funds or property held in trust is evidence of conversion or misappropriation. Under the law, mere failure by the entrustee to account for the goods received in trust constitutes estafa. The Trust Receipts Law punishes dishonesty and abuse of confidence in the handling of money or goods to prejudice the public order. The mere failure to deliver proceeds of the sale or the goods if not sold constitutes a criminal offense that causes prejudice not only to the creditor, but also to the public interest. Evidently, the Bank suffered prejudice for neither money nor the goods were turned over the Bank.

PARRICIDE; ELEMENTS

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES VS. PO3 ARMANDO DALAG
G.R. No. 129895, April 30, 2003

Facts: Armando Dalag, a member of the Philippine National Police, was lawfully married to Leah Nolido Dalag. They had three children. Their marriage was far from idyllic. Their covertures were marred by violent quarrels, with Leah always at the losing end. Each time the couple had a quarrel, she sustained contusions, bruises and lumps on different parts of her body.
On August 15, 1996, Armando was drinking when Leah admonished him not to do so. Leah was then banged on the wall by Armando. Then he pushed and kicked Leah on the left side of her body which caused her to fall on the ground. Even as Leah was already lying prostrate, Armando continued to beat her up, punching her on the different parts of her body. Leah then fled to the house of Felia Horilla but Armando ran after her and herded her back to their house. Leah fell again to the ground and lost her consciousness. The trial court convicted Armando of parricide.

Issue: Whether the trial court correctly convicted the accused.

Held: Yes, the trial court correctly concluded that the injuries sustained by Leah that caused her death were the consequence of the appellant’s deliberate and intentional acts.
The crime of parricide is defined by Article 246 of the Revised Penal Code thus: Any person who shall kill his father, mother, or child, whether legitimate or illegitimate, or any of his ascendants, or descendants, or his spouse, shall be guilty of parricide and shall be punished by the penalty of reclusion perpetua to death.
The prosecution is mandated to prove the following essential elements: (1) a person is killed; (2) the deceased is killed by the accused; and (3) the deceased is the father, mother or child, whether legitimate or illegitimate, or a legitimate other ascendant or other descendant, or the legitimate spouse of the accused. The prescribed penalty for the crime is reclusion perpetua to death. The key element in parricide of a spouse, the best proof of the relationship between the accused and the deceased would be the marriage certificate.

STATUTORY RAPE; INFORMATION; TIME NOT AN ESSENTIAL ELEMENT

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES VS. BENJAMIN HILET
G.R. No. 146685-86, April 30, 2003

Facts: Sometime in 1998, ten-year old Richelle Cosada was told by appellant Benjamin Hilet, the common law husband of her mother not to go to school and watch the house. At about 10 AM, while her mother was out selling fish, Richelle saw appellant sharpening his bolo. Moments later, appellant dragged her towards the room and raped her. She kept the afternoon of March 17, 1999. Richelle finally confided to her mother. The latter asked their neighbor to report the incident to the police. The trial court convicted the appellant guilty of two counts of statutory rape.

Issue: Whether time is an essential element of statutory rape.

Held: No, time is not an essential element of statutory rape. An information is valid as long as it distinctly states the elements of the offense and the acts or omission constitutive thereof. The exact date of the commission of a crime is not an essential element of rape. Thus, in a prosecution of rape, the material fact or circumstance to be considered is the occurrence of rape, not the time of its commission.
It is not necessary to state the precise time when the offense was committed except when time is a material ingredient of the offense. In statutory rape, time is not an essential element. What is important is the information alleges that the victim is a minor under twelve years of age and the accused had carnal knowledge of her, even if no force or intimidation was used or she was not otherwise deprived of reason.

STATUTORY RAPE; INFORMATION; TIME IS NOT AN ESSENTIAL ELEMENT

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES VS. LOZADA

Facts: Reynaldo Diaz, a tricycle driver, went to a coffee shop to meet Ronnie Sanchez and this Sanchez disclosed to Diaz his plan to rob Rosita Sy. Thereafter Belleza Lozada arrived. They planned to wait Rosita Sy as she would normally leave her drugstore between 10:30 and 11 PM. They have also planned to kill Rosita Sy, upon realizing that Sy would be killed, Diaz excused himself on the pretext that he would get a weapon but he delayed himself and the plan was not implemented that night because of the delay. They have agreed to pursue it the next day. Diaz deliberately stayed away from their meeting place the next day. The following day, he learned over the radio that a lifeless body of Rosita was found in a remote area.

Issue: Whether or not all elements of a Robbery with Homicide are present to constitute a penalty of death.

Held: The SC ruled that all the elements were present. The taking with animo lurid or personal property belonging to another person by means of violence against or intimidation of person or using force upon thing constitutes robbery, and the complex crime of robbery with homicide arises when by reason or on the occasion of robbery, someone is killed. All these elements have satisfactorily been shown by the prosecution.

“BATTERED WOMAN SYNDROME”AS A VIABLE PLEA WITHIN THE CONCEPT OF SELF-DEFENSE

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES VS. MARIVIC GENOSA
G.R. No. 135981. September 29, 2000

Facts: On or about the 15th day of November 1995, at Barangay Bilwang, Municipality of Isabel, province of Leyte, accused Marivic Genosa, with intent to kill, with treachery and evident premeditation, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously attack, assault, hit and wound BEN GENOSA, her legitimate husband, with the use of a hard deadly weapon, which the accused had provided herself for the purpose, inflicting several wounds which caused his death.
The lower court found the accused, Marivic Genosa y Isidro, GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of parricide and sentenced the accused with the penalty of DEATH.
On appeal, the appellant alleged that despite the evidence on record of repeated and severe beatings she had suffered at the hands of her husband, the lower court failed to appreciate her self-defense theory. She claimed that under the surrounding circumstances, her act of killing her husband was equivalent to self-defense.
Issue: Whether or not the “battered woman syndrome” as a viable plea within the concept of self-defense is applicable in this case.
Held: No. The court, however, is not discounting the possibility of self-defense arising from the battered woman syndrome. We now sum up our main points. First, each of the phases of the cycle of violence must be proven to have characterized at least two battering episodes between the appellant and her intimate partner. Second, the final acute battering episode preceding the killing of the batterer must have produced in the battered person’s mind an actual fear of an imminent harm, from her batterer and an honest belief that she needed to use force in order to save her life. Third, at the time of the killing, the batterer must have posed probable—not necessarily immediate and actual—grave harm to the accused, based on the history of violence perpetrated by the former against the latter. Taken altogether, these circumstances could satisfy the requisites of self-defense. Under the existing facts of the present case, however, not all of these elements were duly established.

RAPE; “TOUCHING” WHEN APPLIED TO RAPE CASES

PEOPLE OF TH PHILIPPINES vs. LEVI SUMARAGO
G.R. No. 140873-77, February 6, 2004

Facts: The spouses Vivencio and Teodora Brigole had four children. Two of them were girls and named- Norelyn and Doneza. Teodora left Vivencio and kept custody of their fpur children. Then, Teodora and Levi started living together as husband and wife.
Sometime in 1995, Norelyn, who was barely ten years old, was gathering firewood with the appellant Levi in his farm. While they were nearing a guava tree, the appellant suddenly boxed her on the stomach. Norelyn lost consciousness. She had her clothes when she woke up. She had a terrible headache and felt pain in her vagina. She also had a bruise in the middle portion of her right leg. The appellant warned not to tell her mother about it, otherwise he would kill her.
The sexual assaults were repeated several times so she decided to tell her sister and eventually her mother. The trial court found the accused guilty of the crime rape and sentenced him to death.

Issue: Whether or not the accused is guilty of the crime charged.

Held: Yes, the accused is guilty of the crime charged. For the accused to held guilty of consummated rape, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that: 1) there had been carnal knowledge of the victim by the accused; 20 the accused achieves the act through force or intimidation upon the victim because the latter is deprived of reason or otherwise unconscious. Carnal knowledge of the victim by the accused may be proved either by direct evidence or by circumstantial evidence that rape had been committed and that the accused is the perpetrator thereof. A finding of guilt of the accused for rape may be based solely on the victim’s testimony if such testimony meets the test of credibility. Corroborating testimony frequently unavailable in rape cases is not indispensable to warrant a conviction of the accused for the crime. This Court has ruled that when a woman states that she has been raped, she says in effect all that would necessary to show rape did take place. However, the testimony of the victim must be scrutinized with extreme caution. The prosecution must stand or fall on its own merits.
The credibility of Norelyn and the probative weight of her testimony cannot be assailed simply because her admission that it took the appellant only short time to insert his penis into her vagina and to satiate his lust. The mere entry of his penis into the labia of the pudendum, even if only for a short while, is enough insofar as the consummation of the crime of rape is concerned, the brevity of time that the appellant inserted penis into the victim’s vagina is of no particular importance.

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