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PP VS.

INVENTION , 398 SCRA 592


LEE VS. CA , CGR # 177861- 2010
SIMANGAN VS. PEOPLE, 434 SCRA 38
SMITHBELL VS. CA , 197 SCRA 201
PP VS. SALVADOR , 396 SCRA 298
PP VS. GAUIDIAN, 423 SCRA 520

Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. 131636 March 5, 2003
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, appellee,
vs.
ARTEMIO INVENCION Y SORIANO, appellant.
DAVIDE, JR., C.J .:
Before us for automatic review
1
is the Decision
2
dated 22 September 1997 of the Regional
Trial Court of Tarlac, Tarlac, Branch 65, in Criminal Case No. 9375, finding accused-
appellant Artemio Invencion y Soriano guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of rape
committed against his 16-year-old daughter Cynthia P. Invencion, and sentencing him to
suffer the penalty of death and to pay Cynthia the sum of P50,000 as moral damages and
P25,000 as exemplary damages, as well as the costs of suit.
Artemio was charged before the Regional Trial Court of Tarlac with thirteen counts of rape in
separate complaints docketed as Criminal Cases Nos. 9363 to 9375, all dated 17 October
1996. The cases were consolidated and jointly tried. At his arraignment Artemio entered a
plea of not guilty in each case.
The witnesses presented by the prosecution in its evidence in chief were Elven Invencion,
Eddie Sicat, Gloria Pagala, Dr. Rosario Fider, and Atty. Florencio Canlas. Presented as
rebuttal witnesses were Gloria Pagala and Celestino Navarro.
Elven Invencion, an 8-year-old grade two pupil of Sapang Tagalog Elementary School in
Tarlac, Tarlac, testified that he is a half-brother of Cynthia and son of Artemio with his
second common-law wife. Sometime before the end of the school year in 1996, while he was
sleeping in one room with his father Artemio, Cynthia, and two other younger brothers, he
was awakened by Cynthias loud cries. Looking towards her, he saw his father on top of
Cynthia, doing a pumping motion. After about two minutes, his father put on his short pants.
3

Elven further declared that Artemio was a very strict and cruel father and a drunkard. He
angrily prohibited Cynthia from entertaining any of her suitors. Whenever he was drunk, he
would maul Elven and quarrel with his stepfather, Celestino Navarro.
4

Eddie Sicat, a 40-year-old farmer and neighbor of Artemio in Barangay Sapang Tagalog,
Tarlac, Tarlac, testified that on the second week of March 1996, between 6:00 and 7:00 a.m.,
while he was passing by the house of Artemio on his way to the field to catch fish, he heard
somebody crying. He then peeped through a small opening in the destroyed portion of
the sawali wall of Artemios house. He saw Cynthia lying on her back and crying, while her
father was on top of her, doing a pumping motion. Eddie observed them for about fifteen
seconds, and then he left and proceeded to the field to catch fish.
5
He reported what he had
witnessed to Artemios stepfather, Celestino, later that morning.
6

Gloria Pagala, the mother of Cynthia and former common-law wife of Artemio, testified that
she and Artemio started living together in Guimba, Nueva Ecija, in February 1969. Out of
their common-law relationship, they had six children, one of whom was Cynthia. In March
1982, she and Artemio parted ways permanently. Later, Gloria and her children lived in Pura,
Tarlac. When Artemios mother died sometime in 1996, Cynthia lived with Artemio in a small
one-room dwelling owned by Celestino and located in Barangay Sapang Tagalog, Tarlac,
Tarlac.
7
On 30 August 1996, her son Novelito told her that Cynthia was pregnant. Gloria then
went to the house of Artemio and asked Cynthia about her condition. The latter confessed
that she had been sexually abused by her father. Gloria then went to the office of the
National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) in Tarlac and reported what Artemio had done to their
daughter Cynthia.
8

Dr. Rosario Fider of Tarlac Provincial Hospital testified that she examined Cynthia on 16
September 1996. She found Cynthia to be five to six months pregnant and to have
incomplete, healed hymenal lacerations at 3, 5, 8 oclock positions, which could have been
caused by sexual intercourse or any foreign body inserted in her private part.
9

Atty. Florencio Canlas, an NBI agent, testified that on 18 September 1996, Cynthia,
accompanied by her mother, complained before him and NBI Supervising Agent Rolando
Vergara that she was raped by her father Artemio. She then executed a written
statement,
10
which she subscribed and sworn to before Atty. Canlas.
11

The defense did not present Artemio as a witness. Instead, his counsel de parte, Atty.
Isabelo Salamida, took the witness stand and testified for the defense. He declared that on
24 June 1997 (the same day when he testified before the court), between 10:45 and 11:00
a.m., he and his secretary went to the house of Artemio in Barangay Sapang Tagalog. The
hut was made of sawali. Its door was padlocked, and its windows were shut. When he went
around the house and tried to peep through the old sawali walls on the front and left and right
sides of the hut, he could not see anything inside the room where Artemio and his children
used to sleep. Although it was then about noontime, it was dark inside.
12
Atty. Salamida then
concluded that prosecution witness Eddie Sicat was not telling the truth when he declared
having seen what Artemio did to Cynthia when he peeped through a small opening in the
sawali wall of the house in the early morning sometime on the second week of March 1996.
On rebuttal, Gloria Pagala testified that the house where Artemio used to live was a small hut
with some destroyed portions in its sawali walls. When she went there to visit her children
sometime in December 1995, there was a hole in front and at the sidewall of the hut facing a
vacant lot where people passed by to fish in a nearby brook.
13
When she went to the place
again sometime in September 1996 after she was informed of Cynthias pregnancy, she
noticed that the destroyed portions of the huts sawali walls were not yet repaired.
14

The second rebuttal witness Celestino Navarro, stepfather of Artemio, testified that he is the
owner of the small house where Artemio and his children used to reside. At the time that
Artemio and his children, including Cynthia, were living in that house, the huts old sawali
walls had some small holes in them, thus confirming the testimony of Eddie Sicat. After
Artemio was arrested on the basis of Cynthias complaint before the NBI, Celestino made
some repairs in the hut by, among other things, placing galvanized iron sheets to cover the
holes at the destroyed portions of the sawali walls. Thereafter, a person named Alvin
occupied the house.
15

In its Decision of 22 September 1997, the trial court convicted Artemio in Criminal Case No.
9375. It, however, acquitted him in all the other twelve cases for lack of evidence.
In his Appellants Brief, Artemio contends that the trial court erred in
I
x x x BELIEVING THE TESTIMONIES OF THE PROSECUTION WITNESSES;
II
x x xNOT DISMISSING THIS CASE FOR FAILURE OF THE PROSECUTION TO
PROVE [HIS] GUILT x x x BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT.
Artemio attacks the competency and credibility of Elven as a witness. He argues that Elven,
as his son, should have been disqualified as a witness against him under Section 20(c), Rule
130 of the Rules of Court.
16
Besides, Elvens testimony appears not to be his but what the
prosecution wanted him to say, as the questions asked were mostly leading questions.
Moreover, Elven had ill-motive in testifying against him, as he (Artemio) was cruel to him.
In another attempt to cast doubt on the credibility of the prosecution witnesses, Artemio
points to the following inconsistencies in their testimonies: (1) as to the time of the
commission of the crime, Elven testified having seen Artemio on top of his sister one night in
March 1996, while Eddie Sicat testified having seen them in the same position between 6:00
and 7:00 a.m. in the second week of March 1996; (2) as to the residence of Cynthia in 1996,
Gloria testified that the former was living with her in Guimba from November 1995 to
September 1996, while Elven and Eddie declared that she was in Sapang Tagalog in March
1996; and (3) as to the residence of Artemio, Jr., Gloria stated that he was living with the
appellant, but later she declared that he was living with her in Pura.
Artemio also argues that since his house had no electricity and was dark even at daytime, it
was impossible for Elven and Eddie to see him allegedly doing pumping motion on top of
Cynthia. In his Reply Brief, he likewise urges us to disregard the testimonies of rebuttal
witnesses Celestino and Gloria. According to him, Celestino had an ax to grind against him
(Artemio) because he had been badgering Celestino for his share of the lot where the hut
stands, which was owned by Artemios deceased mother. On the other hand, Gloria wanted
to get rid of Artemio because she was already cohabiting with another man.
In the Appellees Brief, the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) prays for the affirmation of
Artemios conviction and sentence, but recommends that a civil indemnity in the amount of
P75,000 be awarded in addition to the awards of moral and exemplary damages.
We find no cogent reason to overturn the findings of the trial court on the culpability of
Artemio.
It is doctrinally settled that the factual findings of the trial court, especially on the credibility of
the witnesses, are accorded great weight and respect and will not be disturbed on appeal.
This is so because the trial court has the advantage of observing the witnesses through the
different indicators of truthfulness or falsehood, such as the angry flush of an insisted
assertion, the sudden pallor of a discovered lie, the tremulous mutter of a reluctant answer,
the forthright tone of a ready reply, the furtive glance, the blush of conscious shame, the
hesitation, the yawn, the sigh, the candor or lack of it, the scant or full realization of the
solemnity of an oath, or the carriage and mien.
17
This rule, however, admits of exceptions, as
where there exists a fact or circumstance of weight and influence that has been ignored or
misconstrued by the court, or where the trial court has acted arbitrarily in its appreciation of
the facts.
18
We do not find any of these exceptions in the case at bar.
As to the competency of Elven to testify, we rule that such is not affected by Section 25, Rule
130 of the Rules of Court,
19
otherwise known as the rule on "filial privilege." This rule is not
strictly a rule on disqualification because a descendant is not incompetent or disqualified to
testify against an ascendant.
20
The rule refers to a privilege not to testify, which can be
invoked or waived like other privileges. As correctly observed by the lower court, Elven was
not compelled to testify against his father; he chose to waive that filial privilege when he
voluntarily testified against Artemio. Elven declared that he was testifying as a witness
against his father of his own accord and only "to tell the truth."
21

Neither can Artemio challenge the prosecutions act of propounding leading questions on
Elven. Section 10(c) of Rule 132 of the Rules of Court
22
expressly allows leading questions
when the witness is a child of tender years like Elven.
The alleged ulterior motive of Elven in testifying against his father also deserves scant
consideration. Such insinuation of ill-motive is too lame and flimsy. As observed by the OSG,
Elven, who was of tender age, could not have subjected himself to the ordeal of a public trial
had he not been compelled by a motive other than to bring to justice the despoiler of his
sisters virtue. There is no indication that Elven testified because of anger or any ill-motive
against his father, nor is there any showing that he was unduly pressured or influenced by
his mother or by anyone to testify against his father. The rule is that where there is no
evidence that the principal witness for the prosecution was actuated by improper motive, the
presumption is that he was not so actuated and his testimony is entitled to full credence.
23

We find as inconsequential the alleged variance or difference in the time that the rape was
committed, i.e., during the night as testified to by Elven, or between 6:00 and 7:00 a.m. per
the testimony of Eddie. The exact time or date of the commission of rape is not an element of
the crime. What is decisive in a rape charge is that the commission of the rape by the
accused has been sufficiently proved. Inconsistencies and discrepancies as to minor matters
irrelevant to the elements of the crime cannot be considered grounds for acquittal.
24
In this
case, we believe that the crime of rape was, indeed, committed as testified to by Elven and
Eddie.
The alleged inconsistencies in the testimonies of both Elven and Gloria do not impair the
credibility of these witnesses. We agree with the trial court that they are minor
inconsistencies, which do not affect the credibility of the witnesses. We have held in a
number of cases that inconsistencies in the testimonies of witnesses that refer to minor and
insignificant details do not destroy the witnesses credibility.
25
On the contrary, they may
even be considered badges of veracity or manifestations of truthfulness on the material
points in the testimonies. What is important is that the testimonies agree on essential facts
and substantially corroborate a consistent and coherent whole.
26

Artemios allegation that it was impossible for both Elven and Eddie to have seen and
witnessed the crime because the room was dark even at daytime was convincingly disputed
by rebuttal witnesses Gloria Pagala and Celestino Navarro. Furthermore, as observed by the
OSG, even if the hut was without electricity, Elven could not have been mistaken in his
identification of Artemio because he had known the latter for a long time. Moreover, Elven
was at the time only two meters away from Cynthia and Artemio. Even without sufficient
illumination, Elven, who was jostled out of his sleep by Cynthias loud cry, could observe the
pumping motion made by his father.
27

The alleged ill-motives on the part of Gloria and Celestino were not sufficiently proved.
Nothing in the records suggests any reason that would motivate Gloria to testify falsely
against Artemio, who is the father of her other children. Moreover, we have repeatedly held
that no mother would subject her child to the humiliation, disgrace, and trauma attendant to
the prosecution for rape if she were not motivated solely by the desire to have the person
responsible for her childs defilement incarcerated.
28
As for Celestino, he testified that the lot
where the hut stands is owned by his daughter Erlinda, and not by Artemios mother.
29
At any
rate, even without Celestinos testimony, Artemios conviction would stand.
The remaining issue for our resolution is the correctness of the penalty of death imposed by
the trial court. The death penalty was imposed because of the trial courts appreciation of the
special qualifying circumstances that Artemio is the father of the victim and the latter was
less than 18 years old at the time the crime was committed.
Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by R.A. No. 7659, which is the
governing law in this case, pertinently reads:
Article 335. When and how rape is committed.
The crime of rape shall be punished by reclusion perpetua.
x x x
The death penalty shall also be imposed if the crime of rape is committed with any of
the following circumstances:
1. when the victim is under eighteen (18) years of age and the offender is a
parent, ascendant, step-parent, guardian, relative by consanguinity or affinity
within the third civil degree, or the common-law spouse of the parent of the
victim.
To justify the imposition of the death penalty in a rape committed by a father on a daughter,
the minority of the victim and her relationship with the offender, which are special qualifying
circumstances, must be alleged in the complaint or information and proved by the
prosecution during the trial by the quantum of proof required for conviction. The accusatory
portion of the complaint in Criminal Case No. 9375 reads as follows:
That on or about the month of March 1996 at Sapang Tagalog, Municipality of Tarlac,
Province of Tarlac, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the
said accused Artemio S. Invencion did then and there willfully, unlawfully and
feloniously by using force and intimidation have carnal knowledge of his daughter
Cynthia P. Invencion who was sixteen (16) years old, in their house.
CONTRARY TO LAW.
30

Although the relationship of Cynthia with her father Artemio was alleged in the complaint and
duly established by evidence during trial, the allegation in the complaint regarding her age
was not clearly proved.
In the very recent case of People v. Pruna,
31
we set the guidelines in appreciating age either
as an element of the crime or as a qualifying circumstance:
1. The best evidence to prove the age of the offended party is an original or certified
true copy of the certificate of live birth of such party.
2. In the absence of a certificate of live birth, similar authentic documents such as
baptismal certificate and school records which show the date of birth of the victim
would suffice to prove age.
3. If the certificate of live birth or authentic document is shown to have been lost or
destroyed or otherwise unavailable, the testimony, if clear and credible, of the
victims mother or a member of the family either by affinity or consanguinity who is
qualified to testify on matters respecting pedigree such as the exact age or date of
birth of the offended party pursuant to Section 40, Rule 130 of the Rules on Evidence
shall be sufficient under the following circumstances:
a. If the victim is alleged to be below 3 years of age and what is sought to be
proved is that she is less than 7 years old;
b. If the victim is alleged to be below 7 years of age and what is sought to be
proved is that she is less than 12 years old;
c. If the victim is alleged to be below 12 years of age and what is sought to
be proved is that she is less than 18 years old.
4. In the absence of a certificate of live birth, authentic document, or the testimony of
the victims mother or relatives concerning the victims age, the complainants
testimony will suffice provided that it is expressly and clearly admitted by the
accused.
5. It is the prosecution that has the burden of proving the age of the offended party.
The failure of the accused to object to the testimonial evidence regarding age shall
not be taken against him.
6. The trial court should always make a categorical finding as to the age of the victim.
In the present case, no birth certificate or any similar authentic document was presented and
offered in evidence to prove Cynthias age. The statement in the medical certificate showing
Cynthias age is not proof thereof, since a medical certificate does not authenticate the date
of birth of the victim. Moreover, pursuant to Pruna, Glorias testimony regarding Cynthias
age was insufficient, since Cynthia was alleged to be 16 years old already at the time of the
rape and what is sought to be proved is that she was then 18 years old. Moreover, the trial
court did not even make a categorical finding on Cynthias minority. Finally, the silence of
Artemio or his failure to object to the testimonial evidence regarding Cynthias age could not
be taken against him.
It must be stressed that the severity of death penalty, especially its irreversible and final
nature once carried out, makes the decision-making process in capital offenses aptly subject
to the most exacting rules of procedure and evidence.
32
Accordingly, in the absence of
sufficient proof of Cynthias minority, Artemio cannot be convicted of qualified rape and
sentenced to suffer the death penalty. He should only be convicted of simple rape and meted
the penalty of reclusion perpetua.
As regards the civil liability of Artemio, the awards of moral damages in the amount of
P50,000 and exemplary damages in the amount of P25,000 are insufficient. Civil indemnity,
which is mandatory upon the finding of the fact of rape,
33
should also be awarded. In simple
rape, the civil indemnity for the victim shall not be less than P50,000.
WHEREFORE, the decision of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 65, Tarlac, Tarlac, in
Criminal Case No. 9375 is hereby AFFIRMED with the modification that that accused
Artemio Invencion y Soriano is held guilty beyond reasonable doubt as principal of the crime
of simple rape, and is sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua and to pay the
victim Cynthia Invencion the sums of P50,000 as indemnity; P50,000 as moral damages; and
P25,000 as exemplary damages.
Costs de oficio.
SO ORDERED.
Davide, Jr., C.J., Bellosillo, Puno, Vitug, Mendoza, Panganiban, Quisumbing, Sandoval-
Gutierrez, Carpio, Austria-Martinez, Carpio-Morales, Callejo, Sr. and Azcuna, JJ., concur.
Ynares-Santiago, and Corona, JJ., on leave.


Footnotes
1
Pursuant to Article 47 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by R.A. No. 7659.
2
Per Judge Angel J. Parazo. Original Record (OR), 147-156; Rollo, 29-38.
3
TSN, 8 April 1997, 7-10.
4
Id., 10-11; TSN, 15 April 1997, 2.
5
TSN, 7 May 1997, 4-10
6
Id., 19-20.
7
TSN, 15 April 1997, 6-13.
8
Id., 9-12; Sinumpaang Salaysay, OR, 6.
9
TSN, 15 May 1997, 4-5; Exhibit "B," OR, 126.
10
Exhibit "A," OR, 8-9.
11
TSN, 21 May 1997, 3-5.
12
TSN, 24 June 1997, 4-7.
13
TSN, 5 August 1997, 8.
14
Id., 12.
15
TSN, 7 August 1997, 4-6.
16
Section 25, Rule 130, 1991 Rules on Evidence.
17
People v. Bertulfo, G.R. No. 143790, 7 May 2002, citing People v. Abella, 339
SCRA 129, 144-145 [2000].
18
Id., citing People v. Quejada, 223 SCRA 77 [1993].
19
SEC.25. Parental and filial privilege. No person may be compelled to testify
against his parents, other direct ascendants, children or other direct descendants.
20
See 2 Florenz Regalado, Remedial Law Compendium 583 (7th rev. ed. 1995).
21
TSN, 8 April 1997, 5.
22
SEC. 10. Leading and misleading questions. A question which suggests to the
witness the answer which the examining party desires is a leading question. It is not
allowed, except:

When there is difficulty in getting direct and intelligible answers from a witness who is
ignorant, or a child of tender years, or is a feeble mind, or a deaf-mute.
23
People v. Ramos, 312 SCRA 137, 148 [1999].
24
People v. Matugas, G.R. Nos. 139698-726, 20 February 2002. See also People v.
Alba, 305 SCRA 811 [1999]; People v. Montejo, 355 SCRA 210, 226 [2001].
25
People v. Palomar, 278 SCRA 114, 147 [1997].
26
People v. Gaspar, 318 SCRA 649, 671 [1999].
27
See Appellants Brief, 14.
28
People v. Oliva, 282 SCRA 470, 482 [1997]. See also People v. Sanchez, 250
SCRA 14, 27 [1995];People v. Dela Cruz 251 SCRA 77, 85 [1995]; People v. Alimon,
257 SCRA 658, 676 [1996].
29
TSN, 7 August 1997, 7-8.
30
Rollo, 17.
31
G.R. No. 138471, 10 October 2002.
32
People v. Pruna, supra, citing People v. Liban, 345 SCRA 453 [2000].
33
People v. Rebato, 358 SCRA 230, 238 [2001]; People v. Panganiban, 359 SCRA
509, 524 [2001].

Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
SECOND DIVISION
G.R. No. 177861 July 13, 2010
IN RE: PETITION FOR CANCELLATION AND CORRECTION OF ENTRIES IN THE
RECORD OF BIRTH,
EMMA K. LEE, Petitioner,
vs.
COURT OF APPEALS, RITA K. LEE, LEONCIO K. LEE, LUCIA K. LEE-ONG, JULIAN K.
LEE, MARTIN K. LEE, ROSA LEE-VANDERLEK, MELODY LEE-CHIN, HENRY K. LEE,
NATIVIDAD LEE-MIGUEL, VICTORIANO K. LEE, and THOMAS K. LEE, represented by
RITA K. LEE, as Attorney-in-Fact, Respondents.
D E C I S I O N
ABAD, J .:
This case is about the grounds for quashing a subpoena ad testificandum and a parents
right not to testify in a case against his children.
The Facts and the Case
Spouses Lee Tek Sheng (Lee) and Keh Shiok Cheng (Keh) entered the Philippines in the
1930s as immigrants from China. They had 11 children, namely, Rita K. Lee, Leoncio K. Lee,
Lucia K. Lee-Ong, Julian K. Lee, Martin K. Lee, Rosa Lee-Vanderlek, Melody Lee-Chin,
Henry K. Lee, Natividad Lee-Miguel, Victoriano K. Lee, and Thomas K. Lee (collectively, the
Lee-Keh children).
In 1948, Lee brought from China a young woman named Tiu Chuan (Tiu), supposedly to
serve as housemaid. The respondent Lee-Keh children believe that Tiu left the Lee-Keh
household, moved into another property of Lee nearby, and had a relation with him.
Shortly after Keh died in 1989, the Lee-Keh children learned that Tius children with Lee
(collectively, the Lees other children) claimed that they, too, were children of Lee and Keh.
This prompted the Lee-Keh children to request the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to
investigate the matter. After conducting such an investigation, the NBI concluded in its
report:
[I]t is very obvious that the mother of these 8 children is certainly not KEH SHIOK CHENG,
but a much younger woman, most probably TIU CHUAN. Upon further evaluation and
analysis by these Agents, LEE TEK SHENG is in a quandary in fixing the age of KEH SHIOK
CHENG possibly to conform with his grand design of making his 8 children as their own
legitimate children, consequently elevating the status of his second family and secure their
future. The doctor lamented that this complaint would not have been necessary had not the
father and his second family kept on insisting that the 8 children are the legitimate children of
KEH SHIOK CHENG.
1

The NBI found, for example, that in the hospital records, the eldest of the Lees other
children, Marcelo Lee (who was recorded as the 12th child of Lee and Keh), was born of a
17-year-old mother, when Keh was already 38 years old at the time. Another of the Lees
other children, Mariano Lee, was born of a 23-year-old mother, when Keh was then already
40 years old, and so forth. In other words, by the hospital records of the Lees other children,
Kehs declared age did not coincide with her actual age when she supposedly gave birth to
such other children, numbering eight.
On the basis of this report, the respondent Lee-Keh children filed two separate petitions, one
of them before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Caloocan City
2
in Special Proceeding C-
1674 for the deletion from the certificate of live birth of the petitioner Emma Lee, one of Lees
other children, the name Keh and replace the same with the name Tiu to indicate her true
mothers name.
In April 2005 the Lee-Keh children filed with the RTC an ex parte request for the issuance of
a subpoena ad testificandum to compel Tiu, Emma Lees presumed mother, to testify in the
case. The RTC granted the motion but Tiu moved to quash the subpoena, claiming that it
was oppressive and violated Section 25, Rule 130 of the Rules of Court, the rule on parental
privilege, she being Emma Lees stepmother.
3
On August 5, 2005 the RTC quashed the
subpoena it issued for being unreasonable and oppressive considering that Tiu was already
very old and that the obvious object of the subpoena was to badger her into admitting that
she was Emma Lees mother.
Because the RTC denied the Lee-Keh childrens motion for reconsideration, they filed a
special civil action of certiorari before the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. SP 92555. On
December 29, 2006 the CA rendered a decision,
4
setting aside the RTCs August 5, 2005
Order. The CA ruled that only a subpoena duces tecum, not a subpoena ad testificandum,
may be quashed for being oppressive or unreasonable under Section 4, Rule 21 of the Rules
of Civil Procedure. The CA also held that Tius advanced age alone does not render her
incapable of testifying. The party seeking to quash the subpoena for that reason must prove
that she would be unable to withstand the rigors of trial, something that petitioner Emma Lee
failed to do.
Since the CA denied Emma Lees motion for reconsideration by resolution of May 8,
2007,
5
she filed the present petition with this Court.
The Question Presented
The only question presented in this case is whether or not the CA erred in ruling that the trial
court may compel Tiu to testify in the correction of entry case that respondent Lee-Keh
children filed for the correction of the certificate of birth of petitioner Emma Lee to show that
she is not Kehs daughter.
The Ruling of the Court
Petitioner Emma Lee claims that the RTC correctly quashed the subpoena ad testificandum
it issued against Tiu on the ground that it was unreasonable and oppressive, given the
likelihood that the latter would be badgered on oral examination concerning the Lee-Keh
childrens theory that she had illicit relation with Lee and gave birth to the other Lee children.
But, as the CA correctly ruled, the grounds citedunreasonable and oppressiveare proper
for subpoena ad duces tecum or for the production of documents and things in the
possession of the witness, a command that has a tendency to infringe on the right against
invasion of privacy. Section 4, Rule 21 of the Rules of Civil Procedure, thus provides:
SECTION 4. Quashing a subpoena. The court may quash a subpoena duces tecum upon
motion promptly made and, in any event, at or before the time specified therein if it is
unreasonable and oppressive, or the relevancy of the books, documents or things does not
appear, or if the person in whose behalf the subpoena is issued fails to advance the
reasonable cost of the production thereof.
Notably, the Court previously decided in the related case of Lee v. Court of Appeals
6
that the
Lee-Keh children have the right to file the action for correction of entries in the certificates of
birth of Lees other children, Emma Lee included. The Court recognized that the ultimate
object of the suit was to establish the fact that Lees other children were not children of Keh.
Thus:
It is precisely the province of a special proceeding such as the one outlined under Rule 108
of the Revised Rules of Court to establish the status or right of a party, or a particular
fact. The petitions filed by private respondents for the correction of entries in the
petitioners' records of birth were intended to establish that for physical and/or
biological reasons it was impossible for Keh Shiok Cheng to have conceived and
given birth to the petitioners as shown in their birth records. Contrary to petitioners'
contention that the petitions before the lower courts were actually actions to impugn
legitimacy, the prayer therein is not to declare that petitioners are illegitimate children
of Keh Shiok Cheng, but to establish that the former are not the latter's children. There
is nothing to impugn as there is no blood relation at all between Keh Shiok Cheng and
petitioners.
7
(Underscoring supplied)
Taking in mind the ultimate purpose of the Lee-Keh childrens action, obviously, they would
want Tiu to testify or admit that she is the mother of Lees other children, including petitioner
Emma Lee. Keh had died and so could not give testimony that Lees other children were not
hers. The Lee-Keh children have, therefore, a legitimate reason for seeking Tius testimony
and, normally, the RTC cannot deprive them of their right to compel the attendance of such a
material witness.
But petitioner Emma Lee raises two other objections to requiring Tiu to come to court and
testify: a) considering her advance age, testifying in court would subject her to harsh physical
and emotional stresses; and b) it would violate her parental right not to be compelled to
testify against her stepdaughter.
1. Regarding the physical and emotional punishment that would be inflicted on Tiu if
she were compelled at her age and condition to come to court to testify, petitioner
Emma Lee must establish this claim to the satisfaction of the trial court. About five
years have passed from the time the Lee-Keh children sought the issuance of a
subpoena for Tiu to appear before the trial court. The RTC would have to update
itself and determine if Tius current physical condition makes her fit to undergo the
ordeal of coming to court and being questioned. If she is fit, she must obey the
subpoena issued to her.
Tiu has no need to worry that the oral examination might subject her to badgering by
adverse counsel. The trial courts duty is to protect every witness against oppressive
behavior of an examiner and this is especially true where the witness is of advanced
age.
8

2. Tiu claimed before the trial court the right not to testify against her stepdaughter,
petitioner Emma Lee, invoking Section 25, Rule 130 of the Rules of Evidence, which
reads:
SECTION 25. Parental and filial privilege.- No person may be compelled to testify against his
parents, other direct ascendants, children or other direct descendants.
The above is an adaptation from a similar provision in Article 315 of the Civil Code that
applies only in criminal cases. But those who revised the Rules of Civil Procedure chose to
extend the prohibition to all kinds of actions, whether civil, criminal, or administrative, filed
against parents and other direct ascendants or descendants.
But here Tiu, who invokes the filial privilege, claims that she is the stepmother of petitioner
Emma Lee. The privilege cannot apply to them because the rule applies only to "direct"
ascendants and descendants, a family tie connected by a common ancestry.1avvphi1 A
stepdaughter has no common ancestry by her stepmother. Article 965 thus provides:
Art. 965. The direct line is either descending or ascending. The former unites the head of the
family with those who descend from him. The latter binds a person with those from whom he
descends.
Consequently, Tiu can be compelled to testify against petitioner Emma Lee.
WHEREFORE, the Court DENIES the petition and AFFIRMS the decision and resolution of
the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP 92555.
SO ORDERED.
ROBERTO A. ABAD
Associate Justice
WE CONCUR:
ANTONIO T. CARPIO
Associate Justice
MARTIN S. VILLARAMA, JR.
*

Associate Justice
JOSE PORTUGAL PEREZ
**

Associate Justice
JOSE CATRAL MENDOZA
Associate Justice
A T T E S T A T I O N
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, Second Division
C E R T I F I C A T I O N
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


Footnotes
*
Designated as additional member in lieu of Associate Justice Diosdado M. Peralta,
per Special Order No. 858 dated July 1, 2010.
**
Designated as additional member in lieu of Associate Justice Antonio Eduardo B.
Nachura, per Special Order No. 863 dated July 5, 2010.
1
Rollo, pp. 13-14.
2
Branch 131.
3
Sec. 25. Parental and filial privilege. No person may be compelled to testify
against his parents, other direct ascendants, children or other direct descendants.
4
Rollo, pp. 9-23; Opinion of then Presiding Justice Ruben T. Reyes (now a retired
Associate Justice of the Court), with the concurrence of Associate Justices Juan Q.
Enriquez, Jr. and Vicente S.E. Veloso.
5
Id. at 25-26.
6
419 Phil. 392 (2001).
7
Id. at 404-405.
8
Sec. 3. Rights and obligations of a witness. - A witness must answer questions,
although his answer may tend to establish a claim against him. However, it is the
right of a witness: x x x (2) Not to be detained longer than the interests of justice
require; (3) Not to be examined except only as to matters pertinent

Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
SECOND DIVISION
G.R. No. 157984 July 8, 2004
MOISES SIMANGAN, petitioner,
vs.
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondent.


D E C I S I O N


CALLEJO, SR., J .:
Before us is a petition for review of the Decision
1
of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR No.
11971 and its Resolution denying the petitioners motion for reconsideration of the said
decision.
The Antecedents
The petitioner Moises Simangan and Loreto Bergado were charged with murder in an
Information filed with the Circuit Criminal Court in Cagayan, the accusatory portion of which
reads:
That on or about February 10, 1980, in the municipality of Solana, province of
Cagayan, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the said accused,
Moises Simangan y Trinidad and Loreto Bergado y Rigor alias Boy, together with
Bening Gomabong (sic), who is still at large and not yet apprehended, and two (2)
John Does, who were not identified, armed with guns and knives, conspiring together
and helping one another, with intent to kill; with evident premeditation and with
treachery, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously attack, assault and
stab one Ernesto Flores, inflicting upon him several wounds on his body which
caused his death.
Contrary to law.
2

The accused, assisted by counsel, were duly arraigned, and pleaded not guilty to the charge.
The Case for the Prosecution
At 8:00 p.m. on February 10, 1980, the petitioner, Loreto Bergado, Bening Gumabong and
two other male persons arrived at the store of the spouses Ernesto Flores and Sofronia
Saquing in Barangay Maasin, Solana, Cagayan. The Flores Spouses, along with fifteen-
year-old Lorna Saquing, Sofronias niece, were then having dinner. The five men were in
fatigue uniforms and were armed with long firearms. When they knocked on the door, Lorna
responded and inquired what they wanted, and she was told that they wanted to buy
cigarettes. Ernesto and Sofronia entertained the men, two of whom were their neighbors,
Loreto Bergado and Bening Gumabong.
Momentarily, the petitioner asked Ernesto to go with them to serve as a guide. In response,
Ernesto invited the men to sleep at their house, but the latter refused. Ernesto then agreed to
accompany the visitors. The petitioner warned Ernesto and Sofronia not to tell anyone that
they had been to the store. As they were leaving, Romeo Galano, the couples helper at the
store, arrived. Ernesto ordered Romeo to go with him, and the latter did as he was told.
However, at about 9:00 p.m., Romeo returned to the store and told Sofronia that Ernesto had
sent him back to get money, matches and cigarettes. He also told Sofronia that he and
Ernesto were seated as they conversed with each other. Sofronia gave P50.00, a box of
matches and a ream of Hope cigarettes. Romeo left the store at about 9:30 p.m.
3
Ernesto did
not return that evening.
4

The next morning, Romeo Balunggaya arrived at Sofronias house and told her that Ernesto
was dead, and that his body had been found about three hundred (300) meters away.
Sofronia and Lorna rushed to the place, and found Ernestos body near the creek.
5
Ernesto
was lying on the ground, face down, with his hands tied behind his back. Police investigators
Pagulayan and Caronan arrived, along with a photographer. Pictures of the victim were
taken.
6

Dr. Anastacia Taguba, the Municipal Health Officer, performed an autopsy of the cadaver
and found that the victim sustained multiple stabwounds. She concluded that the victim died
because of shock due to massive internal and external hemorrhage from multiple stab
wounds.
7
She also signed the Certificate of Death of Ernesto.
8

On February 18, 1980, Fernando Saquing attended his classes in civil engineering at the St.
Louis University in Tuguegarao, Cagayan. He noticed his seatmate and close friend,
petitioner Moises Simangan, writing on a piece of paper. He grabbed the paper, read it, and
saw that the petitioner had written the following: "Andres Buena alias Ka Ren, Cely Pea
alias Ka Laarni, Moises Simangan alias Ka Ronie Ledesma." The petitioner warned
Fernando not to divulge his secret to anybody.
9

On February 24, 1980, Fernando and the petitioner were on their way home from their ROTC
classes at the St. Louis University. The petitioner then narrated to Fernando that at about
7:00 p.m. on February 10, 1980, after buying cigarettes from a store, the store-owner agreed
to go with him and his four companions. The petitioner revealed that they brought the victim
over to the place where twenty of his other comrades were waiting. He also told Fernando
that he and his companions stabbed the victim over and over again, and tasted the latters
blood so that "they would not get sick." The petitioner warned that if Fernando divulged to
anyone what he had just revealed, he (the petitioner), would drink his blood, too.
10

The petitioner did not know that Fernando was the first cousin of Sofronia, the widow of
Ernesto Flores, who was, in turn, the store-owner referred to by Moises.
11
Fernando
immediately told Sofronia what the petitioner had told him.
On March 21, 24 and 25, 1980, Sofronia, Fernando and Lorna gave their respective
statements
12
to Sgt. Quirino Espiritu of the Philippine Constabulary in Tuguegarao, Cagayan,
in which they identified Moises as one of Ernestos assailants.
The Case for the Defense
The petitioner denied any involvement in the killing of Ernesto. He testified that on the day
that Ernesto was killed, he was in his boarding house in Tuguegarao. He was the classmate
of Fernando at the St. Louis University in Tuguegarao, Cagayan, where they were enrolled in
the civil engineering course.
13
Sometime in February 1980, Fernando asked him about
Andres Balbuena who was from Solana, Cagayan. A week later, he was arrested on
suspicions that he had something to do with the death of Ernesto.
14
Fernando, who was in
the PC barracks, pointed to him as one of the assailants of Ernesto. He was surprised at
Fernandos accusation.
15

The petitioner also denied knowing Loreto Bergado, claiming that he only met the latter at
the provincial jail.
16
He had not been to Barangay Maasin, Solana.
The accused Loreto Bergado also denied killing Ernesto. He testified that he did not know
Ernesto and the latters wife, Sofronia. On February 10, 1980, he was in his house at
Nangalasauan, Amulung, Cagayan. After waking up the next day, he went to his farm.
17

To corroborate his testimony, Bergado presented his neighbor, Feliciano Trinidad, who
testified that after his classes on February 10, 1980, he went out of their house at Barangay
Nangalasauan, Amulung, Cagayan, to get a breath of fresh air. He then saw Bergado and
spoke with him until 9:00 p.m.
18

Cornelia Trinidad corroborated the testimony of the petitioner that she boarded in the house
of Rosendo Tuddao in February 1980.
The defense also presented Leona Balunggaya, who testified that between 4:00 and 5:00
a.m. on February 11, 1980, Sofronia and Leon Rigor arrived at their house, crying. Sofronia
inquired if Ernesto had passed by, because her husband had not slept in their house.
Balunggaya replied in the negative. When Balunggaya asked Sofronia if she recognized the
armed men who were with her husband, Sofronia replied that she did not because their faces
were new to her.
19
Aside from their house, there were no other houses in the vicinity of
Sofronias place. Right after Sofronia and Leon had left, she and her husband Romeo went
to their farm to drive away the birds and saw the cadaver of Ernesto, about three hundred
(300) meters away.
After trial, the court rendered judgment finding the accused guilty beyond reasonable doubt
of homicide. The decretal portion of the decision reads:
WHEREFORE, the accused Moises Simangan y Trinidad and Loreto Bergado y
Rigor having been found by the Court guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of
Homicide defined and penalized under Art. 249 of the Revised Penal code, and
considering the presence of two aggravating circumstances, are hereby sentenced
each to an indeterminate penalty of ten (10) years and one (1) day of prision mayor,
as minimum, to seventeen (17) years, four (4) months and one (1) day of reclusion
temporal, as maximum, to indemnify the heirs of the victim Ernesto Flores the sum
of P30,000.00, proportionately and to pay costs pro rata.
SO ORDERED.
20

On appeal to the Court of Appeals, it rendered judgment, affirming with modification, the
decision of the trial court. It found the testimonies of Sofronia, Lorna, and Fernando, credible
and entitled to full probative weight.
The Present Petition
Petitioner Moises Simangan filed the instant petition for review on certiorari, asserting that:
I
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN BELIEVING THE PROSECUTION WITNESSES
AND DISREGARDING THE EVIDENCE FOR THE DEFENSE.
II
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN FINDING THE ACCUSED GUILTY BEYOND
REASONABLE DOUBT OF THE CRIME OF HOMICIDE.
21

The petitioner contends that the prosecution failed to adduce circumstantial evidence
sufficient to prove his guilt of the crime of homicide beyond reasonable doubt. He asserts
that Sofronia and Lorna pointed to and identified him only upon the prodding of Fernando,
who told Sofronia that he (the petitioner) had admitted to stabbing and killing the victim
together with twenty of his other companions. The petitioner contends that the testimony of
Fernando is hearsay, as he had no personal knowledge that he was one of those who killed
the victim.
On the other hand, the Court of Appeals declared in its assailed decision that the array of
circumstantial evidence adduced by the prosecution constitutes proof beyond cavil that the
petitioner was one of those who killed the victim. As catalogued by the appellate court:
(1) at about 8:00 oclock in the evening of February 10, 1980, accused Moises
Simangan, Loreto Bergado, Bening Gumabong and two unidentified companions
each of whom were armed with long rifles, went to the store of the victim Ernesto
Flores at Sitio Masin (sic), Iraga, Solana and bought cigarettes;
(2) that Moises Simangan asked Ernesto Flores to guide Simangan, Bergado,
Gumabong and their two companions on their way to the road;
(3) that Simangan, Bergado and their two companions, together with Ernesto Flores
and Romeo Galano, were out of the house;
(4) that Simangan warned Sofronia and Lorna not to tell anybody that he and his
companions went to the house;
(5) that five days after the death of Ernesto, Simangan became worried when told by
his classmate Fernando Saquing that several persons were arrested at
Nangalasauan, Amulung, for the death of Ernesto;
(6) that two weeks after the death of the victim, Simangan admitted to Fernando that
he and twenty others had just killed a person in Masin, (sic) Iraga, Solana, after the
victim accompanied them to show them the way;
(7) and that Fernando was warned not to relate it to any other person with the threat
that if it will be known by others, Simangan will drink his blood.
22

The Ruling of the Court
We find the contention of the petitioner to be unmeritorious. Sofronia narrated in detail how
the petitioner and his companions, armed with long firearms, managed to convince Ernesto
to go with them and be their guide on the road. Sofronia pointed to and identified the
petitioner in open court. Thus:
Q On February 10, 1980, at 8:00, do you recall where you were?
A Yes, Sir.
Q Where were you?
A We were at home, Sir.
Q And you mentioned . . . and who were your companions at that time?
A My husband, my sister Lorna Saquing, my daughter, Sir.
Q What is the name of your daughter?
A Jannet, Sir.
Q How old was she at that time?
A Two (2) years old, Sir.
Q What is the name of your sister?
A Lorna, Sir.
Q And your husband?
A Ernesto Flores, Sir.
Q What were you doing at that time?
A Eating, Sir.
Q Where is your house located?
A Masim (sic), Solana, Cagayan, Sir.
Q Do you recall of anything unusual that happened on February 10, 1980, when you
were actually eating with your family, if any?
A On February 10, 1980, while we were actually taking our supper, there was a
person who went to buy cigarette in our store and it was my sister Lorna who went to
open the store and saw five persons holding gun (sic), Sir.
Q Where is your store located?
A In Masim (sic), Solana, Cagayan, Sir.
Q Is your store also a part of your house where you live-in (sic)?
A Yes, Sir.
Q When these five persons came to your house and Lorna Saquing, your sister, was
the one who opened the door, what happened next?
A When those five persons entered our store, Lorna came to us in the kitchen and
called for us and the three of us proceeded to the store and looked to those five
persons, Sir.
Q And what happened next when you went to see those five persons?
A We saw five persons with long firearms, Sir.
Q Do you know the names of those five persons whom you saw?
A I know the three of them only, Sir.
Q What are the names of these three persons whom you know?
A Moises Simangan, Boy Bergado and Bening Bungabong (sic), Sir.
Q This Bening Bungabong (sic), if he is in court, can you point him out?
A No, he is not here in court, Sir.
Q Yes, but this Loreto Bergado, if you can see him in the courtroom, can you point
him out?
A Yes, Sir.
INTERPRETER:
Witness pointing to that person in brown t-shirt who identified himself to be Loreto
Bergado y Rigor when he was pointed to by the witness.
Q How about this person by the name of Moises Simangan, will you look around the
courtroom and see if he is here?
A He is there, Sir.
INTERPRETER:
Witness pointing to a person seated in the courtroom who stood up when he was
pointed to by the witness and identified himself to be Moises Simangan y Trinidad.
23

The petitioner even warned Sofronia and Ernesto not to tell anyone that he and his
companions had been in their house:
Q And when Moises Simangan came to know that your barangay captain in Iraga
was Mr. Mario Marsan, what happened next, if any?
A Then Moises Simangan requested my husband to accompany them to the road
because Moises Simangan is new in our place, Sir.
Q And what did your husband say, if any?
A Then my husband told them if it will be alright for them, they may sleep in the
house, Sir.
Q And what did he say?
A Then Moises Simangan answered my husband that: "we cannot sleep in your
place because we might be late tomorrow," Sir.
Q And what happened next?
A And then Moises Simangan told us not to tell anybody about their going to our
store, Sir.
Q And when Moises Simangan warned you not to tell anybody about their presence
in your place, what happened next, if any?
A Then my husband told me that he would accompany them to the road, Sir.
Q And when your husband told you that he would bring them to the road, what
happened next, if any?
A And then Moises Simangan and his companions took my husband to the road and
not long afterwards, my boy by the name of Romeo Galano, went back to the store
and told me that my husband told him to go back to get money and cigarette and
also [a] match, Sir.
Q And what time did they take away your husband from your house?
A 8:00 oclock in the evening, Sir.
Q Was it exactly 8:00 oclock or past 8:00?
A Past 8:00, it could be past 8:00 oclock already, Sir.
24

Lorna also testified that when she attended to the petitioner and his companions, she saw
their faces:
Q Now, while at about that time on February 10, 1980, do you remember any
unusual incident that happened in the house of your sister?
A Yes, Sir.
Q What was that incident that happened?
A On that evening, Sir, while we were eating I heard a voice calling outside or I heard
someone calling outside with the word "Diyos Apo" and when I finished eating, I went
inside the house and asked who was that, and nobody answered, and so, what I did
was to open the door and I was surprised there were five armed men at our door who
went inside our house.
Q You said that these five men who entered the house were armed, will you please
tell this Honorable Court what were their arms?
A All the five men who entered our house were armed with long rifle each of
them (sic).
Q Now, do you know the identity of these five armed men who entered the house
where you were staying?
ATTY. VELASCO:
The question is vague, Your Honor.
Whether he refers to the present or at that time of the incident.
COURT:
Reformed. (sic)
FISCAL HERNANDO:
Q At the time of the incident, of these five armed men who entered the house of your
sister upon your opening the door, do you know the identity of these five armed men
or any of them?
A Yes, Sir, I know them.
Q Will you please tell this Honorable Court who were they?
A Moises Simangan, Boy Bergado, Bening Gumabong and two others whom I do not
know.
Q You said that at the time you opened the door and these five men entered, you
already knew three of them, namely Moises Simangan, Bening Gumabong and Boy
Bergado, why do you know them?
A I was able to recognize them, Sir, through their faces.
Q Why were they familiar to you?
A When I opened the door, Sir, and the five armed men entered our house, I stared
at their faces.
Q Will you please answer my question, why were you able or why were you familiar
with the faces of these men when they entered the house of your sister that evening
of February 10, 1980?
ATTY. SORIANO:
She answered, "I saw their faces."
COURT:
Witness may answer.
A These Boy Bergado and Bening Gumabong were my barcada in Maasim, Solana,
Cagayan.
FISCAL HERNANDO:
Q What do you mean by saying that Gumabong and Bergado were your barcada?
A They were my companions, Sir.
Q For how long were they your barcada before the incident?
A Three years, Sir.
Q Now, with respect to Moises Simangan, why do you say that his face is familiar to
you at the time of the incident?
A I stared at his face because he was new in our place.
25

It was only when Fernando told his cousin Sofronia that the petitioner had admitted to being
one of those who inveigled Ernesto into going with them, and thereafter killed the victim, that
she and Lorna heard the petitioners name for the first time.
Q Now, do you know, I withdraw that question, Your Honor. How about Moises
Simangan, did you know him already before February 10, 1980?
A No, Sir.
Q Why do you know his name then?
A I came to know his name when Moises Simangan informed Fernando, my cousin,
about those things that they have done to my husband, but Fernando did not mention
to him that I am his cousin and it was Fernando, my cousin, who informed me about
his name, Sir.
26

The testimony of Fernando, that the petitioner admitted to him that he was one of the victims
killers, is not hearsay. The testimony of Fernando was offered to prove the petitioners
extrajudicial admission of his involvement in the killing of Ernesto. Such admission is an
admission against personal interest, and is admissible against the petitioner.
27

We note that the petitioner admitted during trial that he and Fernando were classmates in a
civil engineering subject at St. Louis University, and in the ROTC training. The petitioner also
admitted that he and Fernando were friends. Hence, it was not impossible for the petitioner
to have revealed his involvement in the killing to Fernando. The petitioner did not hesitate to
inform Fernando that he and his companions had killed Ernesto because an informer had
told them that Ernesto was "bad." The testimony of Fernando reads, viz:
Q What else did he tell you?
ATTY. SORIANO:
May we ask the witness that he be directed to speak louder.
COURT:
You speak louder.
A There, Sir.
FISCAL HERNANDO:
Q And what was that?
A He informed me that they had just killed a person in Maasim (sic), Solana,
Cagayan and we threw him beside a creek. And I asked Moises Simangan, "How
come that that person is bad," and he answered me, "We had an informer who is
their neighbor."
FISCAL HERNANDO:
Q Now, you said that there were some companions of Moises Simangan because he
used the word "WE," were you able to find out from him how many persons were
those who perpetrated the crime in Maasim (sic),Solana, Cagayan, as you stated
recently?
ATTY. SORIANO:
May we request that witness should stop.
FISCAL HERNANDO:
That is the narration, Your Honor.
ATTY. SORIANO:
May we request that the narration should be in a question and answer (sic).
COURT:
Continue.
A What Moises Simangan narrated to me, Sir, is "We were five persons who went to
the store of that person and (sic) to buy cigarette. At the time the persons were
waiting in the store and after we bought the cigarette, we let the person accompany
us on our way because we do not know the way and then Moises Simangan brought
the person to the place where there were twenty persons waiting who were their
companions and then they stabbed the person and in stabbing, each person tasted
the blood (sic) that, according to Moises Simangan, they will not get sick.
FISCAL HERNANDO:
Q Did you or did you not ask him what time of the day or night was that?
A No, Sir. When they visited the house of the victim to buy cigarette I was informed
by Moises Simangan that it was 7:30 in the evening.
Q Now, after having revealed to you all these things, do you remember if Moises
Simangan told you anything else?
A Yes, Sir.
Q What did he tell you?
A He told me that Nanding, I now warn you, and you know me, "once they know
these, I am going to drink your blood."
28

The petitioners alibi and denial of the crime charged cannot prevail over the positive and
straightforward identification made by Lorna and Sofronia that he was one of the armed men
who left with Ernesto, coupled with the petitioners own admission that he was one of the
victims assailants. We note that there is no evidence, nor any showing of any ill-motive on
the part of Lorna, Sofronia and Fernando to prevaricate. In fact, the petitioner and Fernando
were close friends. Thus, the presumption is that the said witness acted in good faith; hence,
their testimonies must be accorded credence and full probative weight.
The three witnesses cannot be faulted, and their credibility denigrated for giving their
statements to Sgt. Espiritu of the Philippine Constabulary only on March 21 to 25, 1980. As
copiously explained by the Court of Appeals:
Appellants attempt to cast doubt on the credibility of [the] positive identification made
by Sofronia and Lorna that they were among those five (5) armed persons who took
along the victim Ernesto Flores on the pretext that appellant Simangan being new to
the place would need said victim to guide him on the road. Both Lorna and Sofronia
knew personally appellant Bergado and Gumabong being Lornas former friends and
Sofronias neighbors. On the other hand, the delay in revealing the identities of
appellants Bergado and Simangan had been sufficiently explained. It must be
recalled that appellant Simangan had made a stern warning before they left that
Sofronia and Lorna should not tell anybody about their presence in the place that
night. Those men being then armed and determined to take along with them the
victim out on the road, even threatening Sofronia and Lorna not to divulge the
incident to others, there was strong reason for said witnesses to keep mum on the
identities of appellants even when the police investigators arrived the following
morning and asked them about the names of the five (5) persons or at least any of
them they had recognized. It is understandable when a witness does not immediately
report the identity of the offender after a startling occurrence, more so when he is
related to the victim as this makes it all the more traumatic. It is, likewise,
understandable for a witness to fear for his safety especially when town mates are
involved in the commission of the crime. Even if the principal witnesses, Lorna and
Sofronia, did not witness the actual killing of Ernesto Flores, the circumstances that
the latter was last seen alive together with the appellants and Gumabong, along with
two (2) other unidentified companions that night who were armed with guns, that he
was never to return home that night, and his dead body discovered in a nearby field,
lying face down on the ground, both his arms tied at his back with multiple stab
wounds on his neck and back the combination of these circumstances leave no
doubt on their minds that those five (5) persons were responsible for Ernestos
gruesome death and such conviction was enough to temporarily silence them from
revealing immediately to the police investigators the identities of appellant Bergado
and Gumabong, and subsequently, Simangan.
29

In sum, then, we find and so rule that the appellate court correctly affirmed the decision of
the trial court convicting the petitioner of homicide. However, the appellate court erred in
appreciating against the petitioner the aggravating circumstances of cruelty and nighttime. In
the first place, such circumstances were not alleged in the Information as mandated by
Section 8, Rule 110 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure.
30
Although the petitioner
committed the crime before the effectivity date of said Rules, the same should be applied
retroactively as it is favorable to him.
31

Moreover, the crime is not aggravated by cruelty simply because the victim sustained ten
stab wounds, three of which were fatal. For cruelty to be considered as an aggravating
circumstance, there must be proof that, in inflicting several stab wounds on the victim, the
perpetrator intended to exacerbate the pain and suffering of the victim.
32
The number of
wounds inflicted on the victim is not proof of cruelty.
Consequently, then, the penalty imposed by the trial court on the petitioner must be modified.
There being no modifying circumstances attendant to the crime, the maximum of the
indeterminate penalty shall be taken from the medium period of the imposable penalty of
homicide which is reclusion temporal. The minimum of the indeterminate penalty shall be
taken from the full range of the penalty lower by one degree for reclusion temporal, which
is prision mayor.
IN LIGHT OF THE FOREGOING, the petition is PARTIALLY GRANTED. The assailed
decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR No. 11971 is AFFIRMED with
MODIFICATION. The petitioner is hereby sentenced an indeterminate penalty of from Ten
(10) Years and One (1) Day of prision mayor in its maximum period, as minimum, to Sixteen
(16) Years of reclusion temporal in its medium period, as maximum.
No costs.
SO ORDERED.
Puno, (Chairman), Quisumbing, Austria-Martinez, and Tinga, JJ., concur.


Footnotes
1
Penned by Associate Justice Martin S. Villarama, Jr., with Associate Justices
Conchita Carpio Morales and Mariano C. del Castillo concurring.
2
Rollo, p. 46.
3
TSN, 27 July 1982, pp. 15-16.
4
Id. at 17.
5
Id. at 18.
6
Exhibits "G" and "G-1."
7
Exhibit "E."
8
Exhibit "F."
9
TSN, 21 February 1984, pp. 3-4.
10
Id. at 6-7.
11
Id. at 8.
12
Exhibits "A," "C" and "B."
13
TSN, 3 November 1985, pp. 9-10.
14
Id. at 13-14.
15
Id. at 16.
16
Id.
17
TSN, 25 August 1987, pp. 3-4.
18
TSN, 19 July 1989, pp. 5-6.
19
TSN, 5 October 1988, pp. 6-9.
20
Rollo, p. 76.
21
Id. at 13.
22
Id. at 125-126.
23
TSN, 27 July 1982, pp. 4-7.
24
Id. at 14-15.
25
TSN, 3 December 1984, pp. 4-6.
26
TSN, 27 July 1982, p. 8.
27
Rule 130, Section 26, Revised Rules of Court.
28
TSN, 21 February 1984, pp. 6-7.
29
Rollo, p. 127.
30
SEC. 8. Designation of the offense. The complaint or information shall state the
designation of the offense given by the statute, aver the acts or omissions
constituting the offense, and specify its qualifying and aggravating circumstances. If
there is no designation of the offense, reference shall be made to the section or
subsection of the statute punishing it.
31
People v. Delim, 396 SCRA 386 (2003).
32
People v. Cortes, 361 SCRA 80 (2001).

Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC

G.R. No. L-56294 May 20, 1991
SMITH BELL AND COMPANY (PHILIPPINES), INC. and TOKYO MARINE AND FIRE
INSURANCE CO., INC.,petitioners,
vs.
THE COURT OF APPEALS and CARLOS A. GO THONG AND CO., respondents.
Bito, Misa & Lozada for petitioners.
Rodriguez, Relova & Associates for private respondent.

FELICIANO, J .:p
In the early morning of 3 May 1970at exactly 0350 hours, on the approaches to the port of
Manila near Caballo Island, a collision took place between the M/V "Don Carlos," an inter-
island vessel owned and operated by private respondent Carlos A. Go Thong and Company
("Go Thong"), and the M/S "Yotai Maru," a merchant vessel of Japanese registry. The "Don
Carlos" was then sailing south bound leaving the port of Manila for Cebu, while the "Yotai
Maru" was approaching the port of Manila, coming in from Kobe, Japan. The bow of the "Don
Carlos" rammed the portside (left side) of the "Yotai Maru" inflicting a three (3) cm. gaping
hole on her portside near Hatch No. 3, through which seawater rushed in and flooded that
hatch and her bottom tanks, damaging all the cargo stowed therein.
The consignees of the damaged cargo got paid by their insurance companies. The insurance
companies in turn, having been subrogated to the interests of the consignees of the
damaged cargo, commenced actions against private respondent Go Thong for damages
sustained by the various shipments in the then Court of First Instance of Manila.
Two (2) cases were filed in the Court of First Instance of Manila. The first case, Civil Case
No. 82567, was commenced on 13 March 1971 by petitioner Smith Bell and Company
(Philippines), Inc. and Sumitomo Marine and Fire Insurance Company Ltd., against private
respondent Go Thong, in Branch 3, which was presided over by Judge Bernardo P.
Fernandez. The second case, Civil Case No. 82556, was filed on 15 March 1971 by
petitioners Smith Bell and Company (Philippines), Inc. and Tokyo Marine and Fire Insurance
Company, Inc. against private respondent Go Thong in Branch 4, which was presided over
by then Judge, later Associate Justice of this Court, Serafin R. Cuevas.
Civil Cases Nos. 82567 (Judge Fernandez) and 82556 (Judge Cuevas) were tried under the
same issues and evidence relating to the collision between the "Don Carlos" and the "Yotai
Maru" the parties in both cases having agreed that the evidence on the collision presented in
one case would be simply adopted in the other. In both cases, the Manila Court of First
Instance held that the officers and crew of the "Don Carlos" had been negligent that such
negligence was the proximate cause of the collision and accordingly held respondent Go
Thong liable for damages to the plaintiff insurance companies. Judge Fernandez awarded
the insurance companies P19,889.79 with legal interest plus P3,000.00 as attorney's fees;
while Judge Cuevas awarded the plaintiff insurance companies on two (2) claims US $
68,640.00 or its equivalent in Philippine currency plus attorney's fees of P30,000.00, and
P19,163.02 plus P5,000.00 as attorney's fees, respectively.
The decision of Judge Fernandez in Civil Case No. 82567 was appealed by respondent Go
Thong to the Court of Appeals, and the appeal was there docketed as C.A.-G.R. No. 61320-
R. The decision of Judge Cuevas in Civil Case No. 82556 was also appealed by Go Thong
to the Court of Appeals, the appeal being docketed as C.A.-G.R. No. 61206-R. Substantially
identical assignments of errors were made by Go Thong in the two (2) appealed cases
before the Court of Appeals.
In C.A.-G.R. No. 61320-R, the Court of Appeals through Reyes, L.B., J., rendered a Decision
on 8 August 1978 affirming the Decision of Judge Fernandez. Private respondent Go Thong
moved for reconsideration, without success. Go Thong then went to the Supreme Court on
Petition for Review, the Petition being docketed as G.R. No. L-48839 ("Carlos A. Go Thong
and Company v. Smith Bell and Company [Philippines], Inc., et al."). In its Resolution dated 6
December 1978, this Court, having considered "the allegations, issues and arguments
adduced in the Petition for Review on Certiorari, of the Decision of the Court of Appeals as
well as respondent's comment", denied the Petition for lack of merit. Go Thong filed a Motion
for Reconsideration; the Motion was denied by this Court on 24 January 1979.
In the other (Cuevas) case, C.A.-G.R. No. 61206-R, the Court of Appeals, on 26 November
1980 (or almost two [2] years after the Decision of Reyes, L.B., J., in C.A.-G.R. No. 61320-R,
had been affirmed by the Supreme Court on Petition for Review) through Sison, P.V., J.,
reversed the Cuevas Decision and held the officers of the "Yotai Maru" at fault in the collision
with the "Don Carlos," and dismissed the insurance companies' complaint. Herein petitioners
asked for reconsideration, to no avail.
The insurance companies are now before us on Petition for Review on Certiorari, assailing
the Decision of Sison, P.V., J., in C.A.-G.R. No. 61206-R. Petitioners' principal contentions
are:
a. that the Sison Decision had disregarded the rule of res judicata;
b. that Sison P.V., J., was in serious and reversible error in accepting Go
Thong's defense that the question of fault on the part of the "Yotai Maru" had
been settled by the compromise agreement between the owner of the "Yotai
Maru" and Go Thong as owner of the "Don Carlos;" and
c. that Sison, P. V. J., was in serious and reversible error in holding that the
"Yotai Maru" had been negligent and at fault in the collision with the "Don
Carlos."
I
The first contention of petitioners is that Sison, P. V. J. in rendering his questioned Decision,
failed to apply the rule of res judicata. Petitioners maintain that the Resolution of the
Supreme Court dated 6 December 1978 in G.R. No. 48839 which dismissed Go Thong's
Petition for Review of the Decision of Reyes, L.B., J., in C.A.-G.R. No. 61320-R, had
effectively settled the question of liability on the part of the "Don Carlos." Under the doctrine
of res judicata, petitioners contend, Sison, P. V. J. should have followed the Reyes, L.B., J.
Decision since the latter had been affirmed by the Supreme Court and had become final and
executory long before the Sison Decision was rendered.
Private respondent Go Thong, upon the other hand, argues that the Supreme Court, in
rendering its minute Resolution in G.R. No. L- 48839, had merely dismissed Go Thong's
Petition for Review of the Reyes, L.B., J. Decision for lack of merit but had not affirmed in
toto that Decision. Private respondent, in other words, purports to distinguish between denial
of a Petition for Review for lack of merit and affirmance of the Court of Appeals' Decision.
Thus, Go Thong concludes, this Court did not hold that the "Don Carlos" had been negligent
in the collision.
Private respondent's argument must be rejected. That this Court denied Go Thong's Petition
for Review in a minute Resolution did not in any way diminish the legal significance of the
denial so decreed by this Court. The Supreme Court is not compelled to adopt a definite and
stringent rule on how its judgment shall be framed.
1
It has long been settled that this Court has
discretion to decide whether a "minute resolution" should be used in lieu of a full-blown decision
in any particular case and that a minute Resolution of dismissal of a Petition for Review
on certiorari constitutes anadjudication on the merits of the controversy or subject matter of the
Petition.
2
It has been stressed by the Court that the grant of due course to a Petition for Review
is "not a matter of right, but of sound judicial discretion; and so there is no need to fully explain
the Court's denial. For one thing, the facts and law are already mentioned in the Court of Appeals'
opinion."
3
A minute Resolution denying a Petition for Review of a Decision of the Court of Appeals
can only mean that the Supreme Court agrees with or adopts the findings and conclusions of the
Court of Appeals, in other words, that the Decision sought to be reviewed and set aside is
correct.
4

Private respondent Go Thong argues also that the rule of res judicata cannot be invoked in
the instant case whether in respect of the Decision of Reyes, L.B., J. or in respect of the
Resolution of the Supreme Court in G.R. No. L-48839, for the reason that there was no
identity of parties and no identity of cause of action between C.A.-G.R. No. 61206-R and
C.A.-G.R. No. 61320-R.
The parties in C.A.-G.R. No. 61320-R Where the decision of Judge Fernandez was affirmed,
involved Smith Bell and Company (Philippines), Inc., and Sumitomo Marine and Fire
Insurance Co., Ltd. while the petitioners in the instant case (plaintiffs below) are Smith Bell
and Co. (Philippines), Inc. and Tokyo Marine and Fire Insurance Co., Ltd. In other words,
there was a common petitioner in the two (2) cases, although the co-petitioner in one was an
insurance company different from the insurance company co-petitioner in the other case. It
should be noted, moreover, that the co-petitioner in both cases was an insurance company
arid that both petitioners in the two (2) cases represented the same interest, i.e., the cargo
owner's interest as against the hull interest or the interest of the shipowner. More
importantly, both cases had been brought against the same defendant, private respondent
Go Thong, the owner of the vessel "Don Carlos." In sum, C.A.-G.R. No. 61320R and C.A-
G.R. No. 61206-R exhibited substantial identity of parties.
It is conceded by petitioners that the subject matters of the two (2) suits were not identical, in
the sense that the cargo which had been damaged in the one case and for which indemnity
was sought, was not the very same cargo which had been damaged in the other case
indemnity for which was also sought. The cause of action was, however, the same in the two
(2) cases, i.e., the same right of the cargo owners to the safety and integrity of their cargo
had been violated by the same casualty, the ramming of the "Yotai Maru" by the "Don
Carlos." The judgments in both cases were final judgments on the merits rendered by the
two (2) divisions of the Court of Appeals and by the Supreme Court, the jurisdiction of which
has not been questioned.
Under the circumstances, we believe that the absence of identity of subject matter, there
being substantial identity of parties and identity of cause of action, will not preclude the
application of res judicata.
5

In Tingson v. Court of Appeals,
6
the Court distinguished one from the other the two (2) concepts
embraced in the principle of res judicata, i.e., "bar by former judgment" and "conclusiveness of
judgment:"
There is no question that where as between the first case Where the
judgment is rendered and the second case where such judgment is invoked,
there is identity of parties, subject-matter and cause of action, the judgment
on the merits in the first case constitutes an absolute bar to the subsequent
action not only as to every matter which was offered and received to sustain
or defeat the claim or demand, but also as to any other admissible matter
which might have been offered for that purpose and to all matters that could
have been adjudged in that case. This is designated as "bar by former
judgment."
But where the second action between the same parties is upon a different
claim or demand, the judgment in the prior action operates as an estoppel
only as to those matters in issue or points controverted, upon the
determination of which the finding or judgment was rendered. In fine, the
previous judgment is conclusive in the second case, only as those matters
actually and directly controverted and determined and not as to matters
merely involved therein. This is the rule on'conclusiveness of judgment'
embodied in subdivision (c) of Section 49 of Rule 39 of the Revised Rules of'
Court.
7
(Citations omitted) (Emphases supplied)
In Lopez v. Reyes,
8
the Court elaborated further the distinction between bar by former judgment
which bars the prosecution of a second action upon the same claim, demand or cause of action,
and conclusiveness of judgment which bars the relitigation of particular facts or issues in another
litigation between the same parties on a different claim or cause of action:
The doctrine of res judicata has two aspects. The first is the effect of a
judgment as a bar to the prosecution of a second action upon the same
claim, demand or cause of action. The second aspect is that it precludes the
relitigation of a particular fact or issues in another action between the same
parties on a different claim or cause of action.
The general rule precluding the relitigation of material facts or questions
which were in issue and adjudicated in former action are commonly applied
to all matters essentially connected with the subject matter of the litigation.
Thus, it extends to questions "necessarily involved in an issue, and
necessarily adjudicated, or necessarily implied in the final judgment, although
no specific finding may have been made in reference thereto, and although
such matters were directly referred to in the pleadings and were not actually
or formally presented. Under this rule, if the record of the former trial shows
that the judgment could not have been rendered without deciding the
particular matter it will be considered as having settled that matter as to all
future actions between the parties, and if a judgment necessarily
presupposes certain premises, they are as conclusive as the judgment itself.
Reasons for the rule are that a judgment is an adjudication on all the matters
which are essential to support it, and that every proposition assumed or
decided by the court leading up to the final conclusion and upon which such
conclusion is based is as effectually passed upon as the ultimate question
which is finally solved.
9
(Citations omitted) (Emphases supplied)
In the case at bar, the issue of which vessel ("Don Carlos" or "Yotai Maru") had been
negligent, or so negligent as to have proximately caused the collision between them, was an
issue that was actually, directly and expressly raised, controverted and litigated in C.A.-G.R.
No. 61320-R. Reyes, L.B., J., resolved that issue in his Decision and held the "Don
Carlos" to have been negligent rather than the "Yotai Maru" and, as already noted, that
Decision was affirmed by this Court in G.R. No. L-48839 in a Resolution dated 6 December
1978. The Reyes Decision thus became final and executory approximately two (2) years
before the Sison Decision, which is assailed in the case at bar, was promulgated. Applying
the rule of conclusiveness of judgment, the question of which vessel had been negligent in
the collision between the two (2) vessels, had long been settled by this Court and could no
longer be relitigated in C.A.-G.R. No. 61206- R. Private respondent Go Thong was certainly
bound by the ruling or judgment of Reyes, L.B., J. and that of this Court. The Court of
Appeals fell into clear and reversible error When it disregarded the Decision of this Court
affirming the Reyes Decision.
10

Private respondent Go Thong also argues that a compromise agreement entered into
between Sanyo Shipping Company as owner of the "Yotai Maru" and Go Thong as owner of
the "Don Carlos," under which the former paid P268,000.00 to the latter, effectively settled
that the "Yotai Maru" had been at fault. This argument is wanting in both factual basis and
legal substance. True it is that by virtue of the compromise agreement, the owner of the
"Yotai Maru" paid a sum of money to the owner of the "Don Carlos." Nowhere, however, in
the compromise agreement did the owner of the "Yotai Maru " admit or concede that the
"Yotai Maru" had been at fault in the collision. The familiar rule is that "an offer of
compromise is not an admission that anything is due, and is not admissible in evidence
against the person making the offer."
11
A compromise is an agreement between two (2) or
more persons who, in order to forestall or put an end to a law suit, adjust their differences by
mutual consent, an adjustment which everyone of them prefers to the hope of gaining more,
balanced by the danger of losing more.
12
An offer to compromise does not, in legal
contemplation, involve an admission on the part of a defendant that he is legally liable, nor on the
part of a plaintiff that his claim or demand is groundless or even doubtful, since the compromise is
arrived at precisely with a view to avoiding further controversy and saving the expenses of
litigation.
13
It is of the very nature of an offer of compromise that it is made tentatively,
hypothetically and in contemplation of mutual concessions.
14
The above rule on compromises is
anchored on public policy of the most insistent and basic kind; that the incidence of litigation
should be reduced and its duration shortened to the maximum extent feasible.
The collision between the "Yotai Maru" and the "Don Carlos" spawned not only sets of
litigations but also administrative proceedings before the Board of Marine Inquiry ("BMI").
The collision was the subject matter of an investigation by the BMI in BMI Case No. 228. On
12 July 1971, the BMI through Commodore Leovegildo L. Gantioki, found both vessels to
have been negligent in the collision.
Both parties moved for reconsideration of the BMI's decision. The Motions for
Reconsideration were resolved by the Philippine Coast Guard ("PCG") nine (9) years later, in
an order dated 19 May 1980 issued by PCG Commandant, Commodore Simeon M.
Alejandro. The dispositive portion of the PCG decision read as follows:
Premises considered, the Decision dated July 12, 1971 is hereby
reconsidered and amended absolving the officers of "YOTAI MARU" from
responsibility for the collision. This Headquarters finds no reason to modify
the penalties imposed upon the officers of Don Carlos. (Annex "C", Reply,
September 5, 1981).
15

Go Thong filed a second Motion for Reconsideration; this was denied by the PCG in an order
dated September 1980.
Go Thong sought to appeal to the then Ministry of National Defense from the orders of the
PCG by filing with the PCG on 6 January 1981 a motion for a 30-day extension from 7
January 1981 within which to submit its record on appeal. On 4 February 1981, Go Thong
filed a second urgent motion for another extension of thirty (30) days from 7 February 1981.
On 12 March 1981, Go Thong filed a motion for a final extension of time and filed its record
on appeal on 17 March 1981. The PCG noted that Go Thong's record on appeal was filed
late, that is, seven (7) days after the last extension granted by the PCG had expired.
Nevertheless, on 1 July 1981 (after the Petition for Review on Certiorari in the case at bar
had been filed with this Court), the Ministry of Defense rendered a decision reversing and
setting aside the 19 May 1980 decision of the PCG
The owners of the "Yotai Maru" then filed with the Office of the President a Motion for
Reconsideration of the Defense Ministry's decision. The Office of the President rendered a
decision dated 17 April 1986 denying the Motion for Reconsideration. The decision of the
Office of the President correctly recognized that Go Thong had failed to appeal in a
seasonable manner:
MV "DON CARLOS" filed her Notice of Appeal on January 5, 1981.
However, the records also show beyond peradventure of doubt that the PCG
Commandant's decision of May 19, 1980, had already become final and
executory When MV "DON CARLOS" filed her Record on Appeal on March
17,1981, and When the motion for third extension was filed after the expiry
date.
Under Paragraphs (c), (d), (e) and (f), Chapter XVI, of the Philippine
Merchant Marine Rules and Regulations, decisions of the PCG Commandant
shall be final unless, within thirty (30) days after receipt of a copy thereof, an
appeal to the Minister of National Defense is filed and perfected by the filing
of a notice of appeal and a record on appeal. Such administrative regulation
has the force and effect of law, and the failure of MV "DON CARLOS" to
comply therewith rendered the PCG Commandant's decision on May
19, 1980, as final and executory, (Antique Sawmills, Inc. vs. Zayco, 17 SCRA
316; Deslata vs. Executive Secretary, 19 SCRA 487; Macailing vs. Andrada,
31 SCRA 126.) (Annex "A", Go Thong's Manifestation and Motion for Early
Resolution, November 24, 1986).
16
(Emphases supplied)
Nonetheless, acting under the misapprehension that certain "supervening" events
had taken place, the Office of the President held that the Minister of National
Defense could validly modify or alter the PCG Commandant's decision:
However, the records likewise show that, on November 26, 1980, the Court
of Appeals rendered a decision in CA-G.R. No. 61206-R (Smith Bell & Co.,
Inc., et al. vs. Carlos A. Go Thong & Co.) holding that the proximate cause of
the collision between MV "DON CARLOS" AND MS "YOTAI MARU" was the
negligence, failure and error of judgment of the officers of MS "YOTAI
MARU". Earlier, or on February 27, 1976, the Court of First Instance of Cebu
rendered a decision in Civil Case No. R-11973 (Carlos A. Go Thong vs. San-
yo Marine Co.) holding that MS "YOTAI MARU" was solely responsible for
the collision, which decision was upheld by the Court of Appeals.
The foregoing judicial pronouncements rendered after the finality of the PCG
Commandant's decision of May 19, 1980, were supervening causes or
reasons that rendered the PCG Commandant's decision as no longer
enforceable and entitled MV "DON CARLOS" to request the Minister of
National Defense to modify or alter the questioned decision to harmonize the
same with justice and tile facts. (De la Costa vs. Cleofas, 67 Phil. 686; City of
Bututan vs. Ortiz, 3 SCRA 659; Candelario vs. Canizares, 4 SCRA 738;
Abellana vs. Dosdos, 13 SCRA 244). Under such precise circumstances, the
Minister of National Defense may validly modify or alter the PCG
commandant's decision. (Sec. 37, Act 4007; Secs. 79(c) and 550, Revised
Administrative Code; Province of Pangasinan vs. Secretary of Public Works
and Communications, 30 SCRA 134; Estrelia vs. Orendain, 37 SCRA
640).
17
(Emphasis supplied)
The multiple misapprehensions under which the Office of the President labored, were the
following:
It took account of the Decision of Sison, P.V., J. in C.A.-G.R. No. 61206-R, the very decision
that is the subject of review in the Petition at bar and therefore not final. At the same time,
the Office of the President either ignored or was unaware of the Reyes, L.B., J., Decision in
C.A.-G.R. No 61320-R finding the "Don Carlos" solely liable for the collision, and of the fact
that that Decision had been affirmed by the Supreme Court and had long ago become final
and executory. A third misapprehension of the Office of the President related to a decision in
a Cebu Court of First Instance litigation which had been settled by the compromise
agreement between the Sanyo Marine Company and Go Thong. The Office of the President
mistakenly believed that the Cebu Court of First Instance had rendered a decision holding
the "Yotai Maru" solely responsible for the collision, When in truth the Cebu court had
rendered a judgment of dismissal on the basis of the compromise agreement. The Cebu
decision was not, of course, appealed to the Court of Appeals.
It thus appears that the decision of the Office of the President upholding the belated reversal
by the Ministry of National Defense of the PCG'S decision holding the "Don Carlos" solely
liable for the collision, is so deeply flawed as not to warrant any further examination. Upon
the other hand, the basic decision of the PCG holding the "Don Carlos" solely negligent in
the collision remains in effect.
II
In their Petition for Review, petitioners assail the finding and conclusion of the Sison
Decision, that the "Yotai Maru" was negligent and at fault in the collision, rather than the
"Don Carlos." In view of the conclusions reached in Part I above, it may not be strictly
necessary to deal with the issue of the correctness of the Sison Decision in this respect. The
Court considers, nonetheless, that in view of the conflicting conclusions reached by Reyes,
L.B.,J., on the one hand, and Sison, P.V., J., on the other, and since in affirming the Reyes
Decision, the Court did not engage in a detailed written examination of the question of which
vessel had been negligent, and in view of the importance of the issues of admiralty law
involved, the Court should undertake a careful review of the record of the case at bar and
discuss those issues in extenso.
The decision of Judge Cuevas in Civil Case No. 82556 is marked by careful analysis of the
evidence concerning the collision. It is worth underscoring that the findings of fact of Judge
Fernandez in Civil Case No. 82567 (which was affirmed by the Court of Appeals in the
Reyes Decision and by this Court in G.R. No. L-48839) are just about identical with the
findings of Judge Cuevas. Examining the facts as found by Judge Cuevas, the Court
believes that there are three (3) principal factors which are constitutive of negligence on the
part of the "Don Carlos," which negligence was the proximate cause of the collision.
The first of these factors was the failure of the "Don Carlos" to comply with the requirements
of Rule 18 (a) of the International Rules of the Road ("Rules")," which provides as follows
(a) When two power-driven vessels are meeting end on, or nearly end on, so
as to involve risk of collision, each shall alter her course to starboard, so that
each may pass on the port side of the other. This Rule only applies to cases
where vessels are meeting end on or nearly end on, in such a manner as to
involve risk of collision, and does not apply to two vessels which must, if both
keep on their respective course, pass clear of each other. The only cases to
which it does apply are when each of two vessels is end on, or nearly end on,
to the other; in other words, to cases in which, by day, each vessel sees the
masts of the other in a line or nearly in a line with her own; and by night to
cases in which each vessel is in such a position as to see both the sidelights
of the other. It does not apply, by day, to cases in which a vessel sees
another ahead crossing her own course; or, by night, to cases where the red
light of one vessel is opposed to the red light of the other or where the green
light of one vessel is opposed to the green light of the other or where a red
light without a green light or a green light without a red light is seen ahead, or
Where both green and red lights are seen anywhere but ahead. (Emphasis
supplied)
The evidence on this factor was summarized by Judge Cuevas in the following
manner:
Plaintiff's and defendant's evidence seem to agree that each vessel made a
visual sighting of each other ten minute before the collision which occurred at
0350. German's version of the incident that followed, was that "Don Carlos"
was proceeding directly to [a] meeting [on an] "end-on or nearly end-on
situation" (Exh. S, page 8). He also testified that "Yotai Maru's' headlights
were "nearly in line at 0340 A.M." (t.s.n., June 6, 1974) clearly indicating
that both vessels were sailing on exactly opposite paths (t.s.n. June 6, 1974,
page 56). Rule 18 (a) of the International Rules of the Road provides as
follows:
xxx xxx xxx
And yet German altered "Don Carlos" course by five degrees to the left at
0343 hours instead of to the right (t.s.n. June 6, 1974, pages 4445) which
maneuver was the error that caused the collision in question. Why German
did so is likewise explained by the evidence on record. "Don Carlos" was
overtaking another vessel, the "Don Francisco", and was then at the
starboard (right side) of the aforesaid vessel at 3:40 a.m. It was in the
process of overtaking "Don Francisco" that "Don Carlos' was finally brought
into a situation where he was meeting end-on or nearly end-on "Yotai
Maru, thus involving risk of collision. Hence, German in his testimony before
the Board of Marine inquiry stated:
Atty. Chung:
You said in answer to the cross-examination
that you took a change of course to the left.
Why did you not take a course to the right
instead?
German:
I did not take any course to the right because
the other vessel was in my mind at the
starboard side following me. Besides, I don't
want to get risk of the Caballo Island (Exh. 2,
pages 209 and 210).
19
(Emphasis supplied)
For her part, the "Yotai Maru" did comply with its obligations under Rule 18 (a). As the "Yotai
Maru" found herself on an "end-on" or a "nearly end-on" situation vis-a-vis the "Don Carlos, "
and as the distance between them was rapidly shrinking, the "Yotai Maru" turned starboard
(to its right) and at the same time gave the required signal consisting of one short horn blast.
The "Don Carlos" turned to portside (to its left), instead of turning to starboard as demanded
by Rule 18 (a). The "Don Carlos" also violated Rule 28 (c) for it failed to give the required
signal of two (2) short horn blasts meaning "I am altering my course to port." When the "Yotai
Maru" saw that the "Don Carlos" was turning to port, the master of the "Yotai Maru" ordered
the vessel turned "hard starboard" at 3:45 a.m. and stopped her engines; at about 3:46 a.m.
the "Yotai Maru" went "full astern engine."
20
The collision occurred at exactly 3:50 a.m.
The second circumstance constitutive of negligence on the part of the "Don Carlos" was its
failure to have on board that night a "proper look-out" as required by Rule I (B) Under Rule
29 of the same set of Rules, all consequences arising from the failure of the "Don Carlos" to
keep a "proper look-out" must be borne by the "Don Carlos." Judge Cuevas' summary of the
evidence said:
The evidence on record likewise discloses very convincingly that "Don
Carlos" did not have "look-out" whose sole and only duty is only to act as
Such. . . .
21

A "proper look-out" is one who has been trained as such and who is given no other duty save
to act as a look-out and who is stationed where he can see and hear best and maintain good
communication with the officer in charge of the vessel, and who must, of course, be vigilant.
Judge Cuevas wrote:
The "look-out" should have no other duty to perform. (Chamberlain v. Ward,
21, N.O.W. 62, U.S. 548, 571). He has only one duty, that which its name
impliesto keep "look-out". So a deckhand who has other duties, is not a
proper "look-out" (Brooklyn Perry Co. v. U.S., 122, Fed. 696). The navigating
officer is not a sufficient "look-out" (Larcen B. Myrtle, 44 Fed. 779)Griffin on
Collision, pages 277-278). Neither the captain nor the [helmsman] in the
pilothouse can be considered to be a "look-out"within the meaning of the
maritime law. Nor should he be stationed in the bridge. He should be as near
as practicable to the surface of the water so as to be able to see low-lying
lights (Griffin on Collision, page 273).
On the strength of the foregoing authorities, which do not appear to be
disputed even by the defendant, it is hardly probable that neither German or
Leo Enriquez may qualify as "look-out" in the real sense of the
word.
22
(Emphasis supplied)
In the case at bar, the failure of the "Don Carlos" to recognize in a timely manner the risk of
collision with the "Yotai Maru" coming in from the opposite direction, was at least in part due
to the failure of the "Don Carlos" to maintain a proper look-out.
The third factor constitutive of negligence on the part of the "Don Carlos" relates to the fact
that Second Mate Benito German was, immediately before and during the collision, in
command of the "Don Carlos." Judge Cuevas summed up the evidence on this point in the
following manner:
The evidence on record clearly discloses that "Don Carlos" was, at the time
of the collision and immediately prior thereto, under the command of Benito
German, a second mate although its captain,Captain Rivera, was very much
in the said vessel at the time. The defendant's evidence appears bereft of
any explanation as to why second mate German was at the helm of the
aforesaid vessel when Captain Rivera did not appear to be under any
disability at the time. In this connection, Article [633] of the Code of
Commerce provides:
Art. [633] The second mate shall take command of the
vessel in case of the inability or disqualification of the captain
and sailing mate, assuming, in such case, their powers and
liability.
The fact that second mate German was allowed to be in command of "Don
Carlos" and not the chief or the sailing mate in the absence of Captain
Rivera, gives rise to no other conclusion except that said vessel [had] no
chief mate. Otherwise, the defense evidence should have at least explained
why it was German, only a second mate, who was at the helm of the vessel
"Don Carlos" at the time of the fatal collision.
But that is not all. Worst still, aside from German's being only a second
mate, is his apparent lack of sufficient knowledge of the basic and generally
established rules of navigation. For instance, he appeared unaware of the
necessity of employing a "look- out" (t.s.n. June 6, 1974, page 27) which is
manifest even in his testimony before the Board of Marine Inquiry on the
same subject (Exh. 2, page 209). There is, therefore, every reasonable
ground to believe that his inability to grasp actual situation and the implication
brought about by inadequacy of experience and technical know-how was
mainly responsible and decidedly accounted for the collision of the vessels
involved in this case.. . .
23
(Emphasis supplied)
Second Mate German simply did not have the level of experience, judgment and skill
essential for recognizing and coping with the risk of collision as it presented itself that early
morning when the "Don Carlos," running at maximum speed and having just overtaken the
"Don Francisco" then approximately one mile behind to the starboard side of the "Don
Carlos," found itself head-on or nearly head on vis-a-vis the "Yotai Maru. " It is essential to
point out that this situation was created by the "Don Carlos" itself.
The Court of Appeals in C.A.-G.R. No. 61206-R did not make any findings of fact which
contradicted the findings of fact made by Judge Cuevas. What Sison, P.V., J. actually did
was to disregard all the facts found by Judge Cuevas, and discussed above and,
astonishingly, found a duty on the "Yotai Maru" alone to avoid collision with and to give way
to the "Don Carlos ". Sison, P.V., J., wrote:
At a distance of eight (8) miles and with ten (10) minutes before the impact,
[Katoh] and Chonabayashi had ample time to adopt effective precautionary
measures to steer away from the Philippine vessel, particularly because both
[Katoh] and Chonabayashi also deposed that at the time they had first
eyesight of the "Don Carlos" there was still "no danger at all" of a
collision. Having sighted the "Don Carlos" at a comparatively safe distance
"no danger at all" of a collisionthe Japanese ship should have observed
with the highest diligence the course and movements of the Philippine
interisland vessel as to enable the former to adopt such precautions as will
necessarily present a collision, or give way, and in case of a collision, the
former is prima facie at fault. In G.Urrutia & Co. vs. Baco River Plantation
Co., 26 Phil. 632, the Supreme Court held:
Nautical rules require that where a steamship and sailing
vessel are approaching each other from opposite directions,
or on intersecting lines, the steamship, from the moment the
sailing vessel is seen, shall watch with the highest diligence
her course and movements so as to enable it to adopt
such timely means of precaution as will necessarily prevent
the two boats from coming in contact.' (Underscoring in the
original)
At 3:44 p.m., or 4 minutes after first sighting the "Don Carlos", or 6 minutes
before contact time, Chonabayashi revealed that the "Yotai Maru" gave a
one-blast whistle to inform the Philippine vessel that the Japanese ship was
turning to starboard or to the right and that there was no blast or a proper
signal from the "Don Carlos" (pp. 67-68. Deposition of Chonabayashi, List of
Exhibits). The absence of a reply signal from the "Don Carlos" placed
the "Yotai Maru" in a situation of doubt as to the course the "Don
Carlos" would take. Such being the case, it was the duty of the Japanese
officers "to stop,reverse or come to a standstill until the course of the "Don
Carlos" has been determined and the risk of a collision removed (The
Sabine, 21 F (2d) 121, 124, cited in Standard Vacuum, etc. vs. Cebu
Stevedoring, etc., 5 C.A.R. 2d 853, 861-862).. . . .
24
(Emphasis supplied)
The Court is unable to agree with the view thus taken by Sison, P.V., J. By imposing an
exclusive obligation uponone of the vessels, the "Yotai Maru, " to avoid the collision, the
Court of Appeals not only chose to overlook all the above facts constitutive of negligence on
the part of the "Don Carlos;" it also in effect used the very negligence on the part of the "Don
Carlos" to absolve it from responsibility and to shift that responsibility exclusively onto the
"Yotai Maru" the vessel which had observed carefully the mandate of Rule 18 (a). Moreover,
G. Urrutia and Company v. Baco River Plantation Company
25
invoked by the Court of Appeals
seems simply inappropriate and inapplicable. For the collision in the Urrutia case was between
a sailing vessel, on the one hand, and a power-driven vessel, on the other; the Rules, of course,
imposed a special duty on the power-driven vessel to watch the movements of a sailing vessel,
the latter being necessarily much slower and much less maneuverable than the power-driven
one. In the case at bar, both the "Don Carlos" and the "Yotai Maru" were power-driven and both
were equipped with radar; the maximum speed of the "Yotai Maru" was thirteen (13) knots while
that of the "Don Carlos" was eleven (11) knots. Moreover, as already noted, the "Yotai
Maru" precisely took last minute measures to avert collision as it saw the "Don Carlos" turning to
portside: the "Yotai Maru" turned "hard starboard" and stopped its engines and then put its
engines "full astern."
Thus, the Court agrees with Judge Cuevas (just as it had agreed with Reyes, L.B., J.), with
Judge Fernandez and Nocon, J.,
26
that the "Don Carlos" had been negligent and that its
negligence was the sole proximate cause of the collision and of the resulting damages.
FOR ALL THE FOREGOING, the Decision of the Court of Appeals dated 26 November 1980
in C.A.-G.R. No. 61206-R is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The decision of the trial
court dated 22 September 1975 is hereby REINSTATED and AFFIRMED in its entirety.
Costs against private respondent.
SO ORDERED.
Fernan C.J., Narvasa, Melencio-Herrera, Gutierrez, Jr., Cruz, Paras, Gancayco, Padilla,
Bidin, Sarmiento, Grio-Aquino, Medialdea, Regalado and Davide, Jr., JJ., concur.

Footnotes
1 Policarpio v. Philippine Veterans Board, 106 Phil. 125 (1959).
2 Commercial Union Assurance Ltd. v. Lepanto Consolidated Mining
Company, 86 SCRA 79 (1978).
3 Novino, et al. v. Court of Appeals, et al., 8 SCRA 279 (1963); Commercial
Union Assurance Company Ltd. v. Lepanto Consolidated Mining Company,
86 SCRA 79 (1978). See Rule 45, Section 4, Revised Rules of Court.
4 Tayag et. al. v. Yuseco, et al., 105 Phil. 484 (1959).
5 Santos v. Gabriel, 45 SCRA 288 (1972); Suarez v. Municipality of Naujan,
etc., 18 SCRA 682 (1966).
6 49 SCRA 429 (1973).
7 49 SCRA at 434-345.
8 76 SCRA 179 (1977).
9 76 SCRA at 186-187.
10 It is useful to note that there was another set of cases that was
precipitated by the collision between the "Don Carlos" and the "Yotai Maru".
Thirty-two (32) civil cases were brought by insurance companies against
Oyama Shipping Company Ltd. and Citadel Lines, Inc. (apparently agents of
Go Thong) which companies in turn filed third party complaints against Go
Thong. The thirty-two (32) cases were consolidated before the Regional Trial
Court of Manila, Branch 60, which court held that both the "Don Carlos" and
"Yotai Maru" were at fault in the collision and therefore pursuant to Articles
827 and 828 of the Code of Commerce, required Go Thong, Citadel Lines,
Inc. and Oyama Shipping Company Ltd., Jointly and severally, to indemnify
the insurance companies which had become subrogated to the claims of their
consignee-clients. Both Go Thong, on the one hand, and Oyama Shipping
Company Ltd. and Citadel Lines, Inc., on the other hand, appealed to the
Court of Appeals, the consolidated appeal being docketed as C.A.-G.R. CV
No. 05730-05761.
In a decision dated 11 December 1986, then Justice (now Presiding Justice)
Nocon modified the decision of the trial court by holding Go Thong alone
responsible for the damages caused by the negligence of the "Don Carlos. "
In reaching this conclusion, Nocon, J. followed the Decision of Reyes, L.B., J.
in C.A.-G.R. No. 61320-R which Decision, Nocon, J. noted, had been
affirmed by the Supreme Court in G.R. No. L-48839. Nocon, J. expressly
acknowledged that the rule on conclusiveness of judgment required it to
follow the conclusion reached by Reyes, L.B., J. At the same time, he
satisfied himself that the conclusions of Reyes, L.B., J. were correct:
"Our analysis of the evidence on record forced us to arrive at
the same findings and conclusions of the then Third Division
of this Court on the negligence of the officers and crew of the
vessel "DON CARLOS" in its operation, thereby causing it to
collide with the vessel "Yotai Maru".
It has been held that notwithstanding that the parties of a
second action are different from those of the first, the
conclusiveness of the judgment in the first action may be
invoked in the second motion "if the party against whom the
judgment is offered in evidence was a party in the first action"
(Pealosa vs. Tuazon, 22 Phil. 303, 323).
We are more than convinced by the preponderance of
evidence rule that the officers and crew of "DON CARLOS", a
vessel owned by appellant Carlos A. Go Thong & Co. were
negligent and/or lacked the proper skill in operating the same
resulting [in] its collision with the "Yotai Maru". (Rollo, p. 428.)
C.A.-G.R. No. 05730-61 was sought to be raised before this Court and was
assigned, on a motion for extension of time to file a petition for review, G.R.
Nos. 77877-908 ("Carlos A. Go Thong and Co. v. Court of Appeals, et al.").
On 17 June 1988, the Court issued a Resolution stating that no Petition had
in fact been filed and declaring the case closed, The Nocon Decision thus
became final.
11 Rule 130, Section 24, Revised Rules of Court. See also Lichauco Limjuco
and Gonzalo, 19 Phil. 12 (1911).
12 Rovero v. Amparo, 91 Phil. 228 (1952).
13 Fidelity and Cas. Co. of New York v. Southwestern Bell Tl. Co., C.C.A.
Ark., 140 F. 2d 724; Hardaway v. Hilburn, App. 34 So. 2d 283.
14 Scott v. Sciaroni, 226 P. 827, 66 C.A. 577; Washington Youree Hotel Co.
v. Union Indemnity Co., App. 146 So. 342.
15 Rollo, p. 400.
16 Id., p. 402.
17 Id., pp. 402-403.
18 These Rules are annexed to and form part of the Philippine Merchant
Marine Rules and Regulations, promulgated by the Philippine Coastguard on
9 August 1976, pursuant to Section 5 (c) of Republic Act No. 5173, as
amended by P.D. No. 601; see 72 Official Gazette No. 41 (1976).
19 Rollo, pp. 62-64.
20 Id., p. 355.
21 Id., p. 64.
22 Id., pp. 66-67.
23 Id., pp. 60-61.
24 Id., pp. 48-49.
25 26 Phil. 632 (1913).
26 Supra, note 10.

Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
THIRD DIVISION
G.R. Nos. 136870-72 January 28, 2003
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,
vs.
WILSON SALVADOR y GAGARIN, accused-appellant.
PUNO, J .:
Before us is an appeal from the decision of the Regional Trial Court of Cauayan, Isabela,
Branch 19, in Criminal Case No. 19-1191 promulgated on October 20, 1998, finding
accused-appellant Wilson Salvador y Gagarin guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of
rape.
1

The Information in Crim. Case No. 19-1191 states:
"That on or about the 30th day of August, 1995, in the municipality of San Mateo,
province of Isabela, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court,
the said accused, by means of force and intimidation, and with lewd designs, did
then and there, willfully, unlawfully and feloniously, lay (sic) with; and have carnal
knowledge with (sic) one Myra S. Aucena, against her will and consent.
CONTRARY TO LAW."
2

Accused pleaded not guilty upon arraignment and underwent trial.
It appears from the evidence that private complainant, Myra S. Aucena, is the niece of the
accused, being the daughter of his older sister, Lydia Salvador. She was two years of age
when her mother died in 1979. Her paternal grandparents brought her up in Manaoag,
Pangasinan where she stayed until she finished her secondary education. After graduation
from high school, the brothers of her late mother, namely, Maximo, Wenceslao and Nestor,
all surnamed Salvador, offered to send her to college. It was agreed that she stay with her
maternal grandmother, Priscila Salvador, at the latter's residence at Salinungan East, San
Mateo, Isabela to facilitate her studies.
3
She transferred there around March 1995.
4

Priscila's house consists of two stories. Priscila slept at the ground floor, while accused
Wilson, Priscila's son and Myra's uncle, slept at the second floor. The second floor has only
one room but is divided into two sleeping quarters by a collapsible divider. Myra used to
sleep with her grandmother Priscila. However, in August 1995, she was advised by Priscila,
who was then sick; to sleep upstairs to avoid being contaminated by her illness. Accused
Wilson slept on a bed at one side while Myra slept on the bamboo floor at the other side of
the divider.
5

Myra testified that in the early evening of August 30, 1995, she was awakened by a heavy
weight on top of her. She recognized the person to be accused Wilson, her uncle. She froze
because the accused was poking a knife at her right neck, at the same time telling her "saan
ka nga agriyao ta no agriyao ka patayin ka' (Don't shout or else I will kill you)."
6
Accused
kissed all parts of her body while she was still dressed. Thereafter, still holding the knife with
his left hand, accused removed her shirt, short pants, panty and bra with his right hand. He
mashed her breasts, forcibly separated her two legs and succeeded in having sexual
intercourse with her. Having been seized with fear, she was not able to do anything but cry
after the accused was done with his bastardly act. This abuse was repeated on several
occasions for over a year during her stay with her grandmother and the accused.
7

Myra stopped living in the house of her grandmother when another uncle, Nestor Salvador,
took her and brought her to his house in Calamagui, Ilagan, Isabela on January 19, 1997. On
February 24, 1997, her father, Sisenando Aucena, fetched her from Nestor's house because
his younger son, Luther John, suspected that something was wrong with her. While there,
Sisenando noticed her pregnancy. Myra thus had to reveal the ordeal she underwent in the
hands of the accused. She gave birth to Cherry May on June 20, 1997 as a result of the
forced coitus.
Sisenando Aucena, the father of Myra, testified as to the efforts of Dolores Ramones,
Panting Manuel, Sangguniang member Pulig, Sangguniang member Fermin, Nestor
Salvador, Santiago Manguba, Maura Salvador, Angelito Manguba and Kagawad Dominador
Bonalos, relatives of the accused, to seek a compromise agreement or settlement of the
case of the accused. They first offered to give the land supposed to be inherited by his
(Sisenando's) children. They also offered to give the land that was supposed to be inherited
by Wilson Salvador. However, the relatives did not comply with their promise so the
settlement did not materialize.
Accused-appellant denied the rape charge and alleged that it was Myra who seduced him
and that what occurred was consented sexual intercourse as they shared a romantic
relationship. He claimed that it was Myra who first came to his bed to sleep with him in the
month of July 1995. He scolded her but eventually, they developed mutual love for each
other and thus had numerous consented sex. He also denied knowledge of the offer of
compromise of his relatives. He allegedly did not authorize them to enter into any settlement
with Sisenando.
8

As aforestated, the trial court rendered a joint decision convicting the accused on one count
of rape committed on August 30, 1995, and acquitting him from the two other counts
committed on September 6, 1995 and October 4, 1996, the dispositive portion of which
states:
"WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing considerations, judgment is hereby
rendered:
1. Finding the accused guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of rape
committed on 30 August 1995 and charged in Criminal Case No. 19-1191, and
sentencing him to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua, and to indemnify the
offended party, Myra S. Aucena in the amount of P200,000.00; and
2. For failure of the prosecution to prove the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable
doubt, acquitting him from the offense charged in Criminal Cases Nos. 19-1189 and
1190.
Costs against the accused.
SO ORDERED."
9

From this decision, the accused-appellant interposed the present appeal, raising the
following assignment of errors:
"I
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN CONVICTING THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT OF
THE CRIME OF RAPE SINCE NO FORCE WAS EMPLOYED IN THE
COMMISSION OF THE CRIME.
II.
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN CONVICTING THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT
DESPITE THE FAILURE OF THE PROSECUTION TO ESTABLISH THE GUILT OF
THE ACCUSED BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT."
10

The appeal has no merit.
At the time the acts were committed by the accused, rape was punished under Article 335,
paragraph 1 of the Revised Penal Code. It can be committed "by having carnal knowledge of
a woman under any of the following circumstances:
a.) Through force, threat or intimidation;
xxx xxx xxx"
The gravamen of rape is carnal knowledge of a woman against her will or without her
consent.
11

Appellant argues that the trial court erred when it failed to appreciate the fact that the victim
did not offer any resistance against the alleged sexual assault made by the accused-
appellant. He contends that during the act, the victim never shouted for help nor created any
commotion that could have aroused her grandmother into coming to her aid. These
circumstances, according to him, "show that no force was employed by the accused" and
that what happened "was the product of two (2) persons freely and voluntarily consenting to
each other's advances."
12

We disagree. The evidence is clear that accused forced Myra to have sexual intercourse.
She testified:
"Atty. Garcia:
Q: While the accused was having sexual intercourse with you, did you not resist
him?
A: Yes, sir, I resisted.
Q: How did you resist your uncle?
A: I boxed him, sir.
Q: With your resistance, was your uncle successful in having sexual intercourse
with you?
A: Yes, sir."
13

It is also shown that the victim was cowed into submission because of the knife poked at her
right neck by the accused. She was also warned: "saan ka nga agriyao ta no agriyao ka
patayin ka," translated: "Don't shout or else I will kill you."
14

Furthermore, the fact that the accused is the uncle of the victim bolsters the presence of
intimidation. It was found by the trial court that the victim looked upon the accused as her
father.
15
For a young lass from the province, this circumstance is sufficient to shut her up and
give in to the whims of the accused.
The accused also contends that the delay of two (2) years in reporting the acts charged
"rendered the truth of her charge doubtful."
16

Again, we do not agree. The silence of the victim for a period of time does not necessarily
indicate a baseless and fabricated charge.
17
This Court has often ruled that delay in reporting
rape incidents in the face of threats of physical violence cannot be taken against the
victim.
18
Rape victims prefer to suffer in private than reveal their ordeal to the public and
suffer the humiliation and simultaneously risk the rapists' making good the threat to hurt
them.
19
Myra explained why she opted to suffer in silence, viz:
"Atty. Garcia:
Q: Those things did to you by your uncle, did you report them to any
authorities?
A: Because I was afraid then, sir, I did not report.
Q: Why were you afraid?
A: Because of his threat to kill me, sir."
2
0
"Atty. Labog:
Q: You felt sorry for what happened to you the first time, August 30, 1995?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: But you did not tell this experience you had on August 30, 1995 to your lola?
A: No sir, because I was afraid.
Q: You were afraid of the accused?
A: Yes, sir.
xxx xxx xxx
Atty. Garcia:
Q: You said that you did not tell your lola (about) what happened to you on the
night of August 30, 1995, why were you afraid?
A: Because of the threat of my uncle that he is going to kill me and my brother,
sir.
Q: When did he make the threat?
A: After having sexual intercourse with me, sir."
21

The defense of consensual intercourse merits no consideration. The accused has the burden
of establishing by convincing proof his affirmative defense of an alleged romantic
relationship.
22
The "sweetheart theory" hardly deserves any attention when an accused does
not present any evidence, such as love letters, gifts, pictures and the like to show that
indeed, he and the private complainant were sweethearts.
23
In the case at bar, the accused
was unable to present even an iota of proof to substantiate his claim that he and the
complainant are sweethearts. This was brought out in his cross-examination:
"Atty. Garcia:
Q: You said that you have this relationship as sweethearts to (sic) the
complainant Myra Aucena, is it not?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: Before you became sweethearts, you courted her, of course?
A: Our relationship just developed, sir.
Q: Yes, but before that relationship developed, of course you courted her?
A: I did not court her, it was (sic) just developed, sir.
Q: When did you start to have this sweethearts (sic) relationship with Myra?
A: Last week of July 1995, sir.
xxx xxx xxx
Q: At (sic) this duration of time from July 1995 to January 1997, you as
sweethearts with Myra, do you have momentous remembrance given by each other
in consideration of being a (sic) sweethearts?
A: None, sir.
Q: But you know of course the birthday of Myra?
A: Yes, sir, January 17.
Q: Likewise you know the year?
A: January 17, but I cannot remember the year, sir.
Q: So that (during) the duration of your sweethearts (sic) with Myra from July
1995 to January 1997, you celebrated her birthday 1996 and 1997 when she was
with you?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: And during that this (sic) occasion as sweethearts, do you give (a) gift to
Myra?
A: None, sir.
Q: How about Myra, does Myra knows (sic) your birthday?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: And when you celebrated your birthday, Myra gave you (a) gift as a token of
his (sic) love to you?
A: None, sir.
xxx xxx xxx
Q: And of course, as shown (sic) of your love and devotion with (sic) Myra, you
even gave material love, money and other gifts?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: But Myra in return never gave you any gift?
A: None, sir.
Q: Even during (C)hristmas and (V)alentine's (D)ay, she never gave you any
greeting card or any gift, is it not (sic)?
A: None, sir.
Q: During the duration of your sweethearts (sic) relationship from July 1995 to
January 1997, she did not give you any love letter expressing her love to you?
A: None, sir."
24

We likewise agree with the argument of the Office of the Solicitor General that even if the
trial court acquitted the accused of the subsequent acts of sexual intercourse on the ground
that these were already consensual, the ensuing voluntary relationship does not cure the
force and intimidation which appellant employed in the initial act constituting one charge for
rape.
25
Well-entrenched is the principle that each act of rape is considered separate and
distinct from one another.
26
Thus, even if the subsequent acts of sexual intercourse between
the accused and the complainant were to be considered as consensual, still this does not
negate the fact that their first sexual encounter due to force, constitutes a ground for one
charge of rape.
Lastly, the offer of settlement made by the relatives of the accused to Myra's father further
militates against the innocence of the accused. Indeed, an offer of compromise by the
accused in criminal cases, except those involving quasi-offenses or those allowed by law to
be compromised, may be received in evidence as an implied admission of guilt.
27

Undoubtedly, rape is not a quasi-offense. Thus, the testimony of Sisenando, complainant's
father, that the relatives of the accused made two offers to settle with the knowledge of the
accused, should be taken as an implied admission of the guilt of the accused, thus:
"Atty. Garcia:
Q: Why did this group come to you on November 22, 1997?
A: They went to our house in order to settle the fault of Wilson Salvador.
Q: And you said they came to offer settlement, what did they offer?
A: The first offer is that they are going to give the land supposed to be inherited
by my children.
Q: And you said that is the first offer, was there any other offer?
A: The second offer is that the land supposed to be inherited by Wilson
Salvador be offered as payment.
Q: Did you come to know if these persons were authorized by Wilson Salvador
to talk to you?
A: Before we had a conversation, I asked first if Wilson Salvador and his mother
knows (sic) about their offer and they said yes.
Q: With whom did you inquire (about) that information among the persons who
came to you?
A: Nelson Salvador, sir."
28

With regard the monetary award, law and justice dictate that upon the finding of the fact of
rape, the award of civil indemnity ex delicto becomes mandatory. However, we find the trial
court's award of P200,000.00 as excessive. Consonant with decided cases, we reduce the
civil indemnity to P50,000.00.
29
We also grant P50,000.00 as moral damages, without need
of proof,
30
and P25,000.00 as exemplary damages, to discourage abuse of young girls,
especially by their relatives.
31

IN VIEW WHEREOF, the decision of the Regional Trial Court of Cauayan, Isabela, Branch
19, in Criminal Case No. 19-1191, finding accused-appellant Wilson Salvador y Gagarin
guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of rape committed on August 30, 1995, and
sentencing him to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua is AFFIRMED, with modification
that the accused is ordered to pay the victim civil indemnity in the amount of P50,000.00,
moral damages of P50,000.00, and exemplary damages of P25,000.00.
SO ORDERED.
Panganiban, Sandoval-Gutierrez, Corona, and Carpio-Morales, JJ ., concur.


Footnotes
1
Accused-appellant was charged with three counts of rape but was acquitted in
Crim. Cases Nos. 19-1189 and 19-1190.
2
Rollo, pp. 54 and 85.
3
TSN, Myra Aucena, December 11, 1997, pp. 35.
4
TSN, Myra Aucena, January 26, 1998, p. 4; TSN, Wilson Salvador, June 16, 1998,
pp. 47.
5
TSN, Myra Aucena, January 26, 1998, pp. 59; TSN, Wilson Salvador, June 16,
1998, p. 9.
6
TSN, Myra Aucena, December 11, 1997, p. 8.
7
TSN, Myra Aucena, December 11, 1997, pp. 69; December 22, 1997, pp. 311;
January 26, 1998, pp. 915.
8
TSN, Wilson Salvador, June 16, 1998, pp. 910, 1213 and 1518.
9
Original records, p. 116; Rollo, pp. 55, 70 and 87.
10
Rollo, p. 53.
11
People vs. Ponsica, G.R. Nos. 137661-63, July 4, 2002, citing People vs.
Cario, 362 SCRA 292 (2001).
12
Rollo, p. 60.
13
TSN, December 22, 1997, p. 9.
14
TSN, Myra Aucena, December 11, 1997, p. 8.
15
Rollo, p. 67; TSN, Wilson Salvador, June 16, 1998, p. 16.
16
Rollo, p. 61.
17
People vs. Villanueva, G.R. Nos. 146464-67, November 15, 2002.
18
People vs. De Leon, 332 SCRA 37 (2000).
19
Supra note 17, citing People vs. Ardon 354 SCRA 609 (2001) and People vs.
Alvero, 329 SCRA 737 (2001).
20
TSN, Myra Aucena, December 22, 1997, p. 12.
21
TSN, Myra Aucena, January 26, 1998, pp. 16 and 2122.
22
People vs. Cepeda, 324 SCRA 290 (2000); People vs. Barcelona, 325 SCRA 168
(2000).
23
People vs. Palma, 308 SCRA 466 (1999).
24
TSN, Wilson Salvador, June 16, 1998, pp. 12 and 1618.
25
Rollo, p. 104.
26
People vs. Esguerra, 256 SCRA 657 (1996).
27
Section 27, Rule 130 of the Revised Rules of Court.
28
TSN, Sesinando Aucena, January 26, 1998, p. 30.
29
People vs. Ferrer, G.R. No. 139695, August 26, 2002.
30
People vs. Sitao, G.R. No. 146790, August 22, 2002.
31
People vs. Ylanan, G.R. No. 131812, August 22, 2002.
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. 146111 February 23, 2004
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, appellee
vs.
ROLENDO GAUDIA @ "LENDOY" or "DODO", appellant.
D E C I S I O N
PUNO, J .:
There can be no greater violation of a persons right to feel safe and secure than the crime of
rape. When one commits such a horrible act on another, he degrades not only that persons
body; more importantly, he defiles that persons mind. When the victim is a little child, the act
and the perpetrator himself assume a bestiality beyond the comprehension of normal human
beings. Yet, the law must apply equally upon saints and sinners alike, even to the most
salacious ruffian.
Before us is the Decision
1
dated 10 July 2000 of Branch 19 of the Regional Trial Court of
Digos, Davao del Sur, finding appellant Rolendo Gaudia
2
guilty of the crime of rape, meting
upon him the penalty of death, and ordering him to pay to private complainant Remelyn
Loyola the amounts of fifty thousand pesos (P50,000.00) as moral damages, thirty thousand
pesos (P30,000.00) as exemplary damages, and costs of suit.
The Information filed against the accused-appellant reads as follows:
That on or about March 24, 1997 at about 6:30 oclock in the evening, in the Municipality of
Hagonoy, Province of Davao del Sur, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable
Court, the above-named accused, by means of force and intimidation, did, then and there
willfully, unlawfully and feloniously have carnal knowledge with Remelyn Loyola, a minor,
against her will to her damage and prejudice.
The prosecution presented Remelyns mother, Amalia Loyola, as its primary witness. Amalia
testified that on 24 March 1997, she left her two children Remelyn (3 1/2 years old)
3
and
Kimberly (1 year old)
4
at their house in Clib, Hagonoy, Davao del Sur to gather pigs food at
Bulatukan. At the time, her husband was working in Tulunan, South Cotabato. At about 4:00
in the afternoon, Amalia returned home and could not find Remelyn. She went to fetch water
and proceeded to a neighbor to ask about the whereabouts of Remelyn. Nobody could
provide her any information. On her way home, she shouted and called out Remelyns name.
At about 6:00 p.m., Amalia heard Remelyn calling out to her, "Ma, I am here," from a grove
of ipil-ipil trees.
5
Amalia rushed toward the place, but was met by Remelyn at the mango
trees, some thirty (30) meters from their house.
6
She found Remelyn crying,
naked, nagbakaang (walking with her legs spread apart) and with fresh and dried blood on
her body. Ipil-ipil leaves clung to her forehead. Blood was oozing from her private organ.
Amalia brought Remelyn home and washed her. Upon closer inspection, she found a whitish
mucus-like substance coming from Remelyns private organ.
7

The following day, 2 March 1997, Amalia brought Remelyn to the house of a certain Tiya
Coring, a quack doctor, for treatment. Among the people present in the premises were the
relatives and parents of the appellant.
8
The quack doctor found both dried blood and fresh
blood oozing in Remelyns vagina, and told Amalia, "Hoy! Amalia, your daughter was being
(sic) raped."
9
At about 10:00 a.m., Tulon Mik, a neighbor, came and informed Amalia that he
had seen the appellant pass by her house and take Remelyn.
10
At this point, the parents of
appellant told Amalia, "Mal, let us talk about this matter, we will just settle this, we are willing
to pay the amount of P15,000.00, for the crime that my son committed."
11
Police officers
came and brought Amalia, Remelyn and two barangay officials (kagawads) to the police
precinct of Hagonoy for investigation. Amalias statement was taken.
12

On 25 March 1997, Amalia brought Remelyn to the Hagonoy Health Center in Davao del
Sur. Dr. Patricio Hernane, the municipal health officer,
13
conducted a genital examination of
Remelyn, and made the following findings:
GENITAL EXAMINATION:
Absence of Pubic Hair (Tanner Stage I). No contusions are noted on the external genitalia.
Dried blood are (sic)noted on the labia minora. Fresh hymenal lacerations are noted at 12, 3,
6, 10 oclock (sic) are noted with fresh vaginal laceration noted at the posterior commissure
but not extending to the perineum. No lacerations were noted at the anal opening.
Speculum examination is not done because even exposure of the labia minora make the
child cry. (sic)
CONCLUSION: Physical virginity lost.
14

The doctor opined that the lacerations could have been caused by the insertion of a foreign
object, such as the penis of a man.
15

On 26 March 1997, Amalia executed her affidavit complaint.
16
Amalia stated therein that
Remelyn had told her "Buang Lendoy iya kong lugos."
17
(Meaning "crazy lendoy he forced
me" in the Visayan dialect.) Amalia confirmed in her testimony that two weeks after the
incident, Remelyn told her, "Ma, Lendoy is crazy, she (sic) brought me to the ipil-ipil trees."
18

The prosecution also presented Tulon Mik, Remelyns neighbor and a barangay kagawad in
their area. Mik testified that on 24 March 1997, at about 4:00 p.m., he and his wife were on
their way home after registering at the COMELEC office. They were in a hurry as their child
was running a fever. Mik saw appellant carrying a small girl in his arms.
19
He identified the
little girl as Remelyn Loyola, daughter of Amalia Loyola. Appellant and Remelyn were on
their way toward the ipil-ipil trees.
20

The next morning, 25 March 1997, at about 7:00 a.m., a neighbor informed Mik that Remelyn
had been raped. He proceeded to the house of the quack doctor where Amalia brought
Remelyn for examination. Amalia confirmed to Mik that Remelyn had been raped. Mik told
Amalia that appellant committed the crime. Mik then informed Barangay Official Rodrigo
Malud
21
and the other tanods of the incident. They were instructed to locate the appellant.
They passed to the police the information that appellant was in Barangay Mahayahay. The
policemen came and took appellant for investigation.
22

The appellant, ROLENDO GAUDIA, interposed the defense of alibi. He averred that on 24
March 1997, at about 4:00 p.m., he went to the Barangay Center to register at the
COMELEC for the National Elections. With him was Totong Loyola, the brother-in-law of
Amalia Loyola. They finished at 5:00 p.m., left and repaired to the house of Catalina Cabano,
appellants aunt, to ask for vinegar for their kinilaw (a dish composed of raw fish steeped in
vinegar). They found Daylen Cabano, the small grandchild of Catalina, alone at her house.
Daylen was crying, hence, they brought her with them as they proceeded to the place where
Catalina was collecting tuba (fermented coconut wine). It was appellant who carried
Daylen.
23
They reached Catalinas place after 5:00 p.m. Thereafter, they went to the house of
appellant. Dodo Malon and appellants parents were in the house. At around 9:00 p.m.,
Totong and Dodo Malon left, after partaking of the kinilaw. Appellant stayed home. The
following morning (25 March 1997), appellant and Dodo Malon went to the river to fish. At
about 12:00 noon, appellant repaired to the house of his aunt, Victoria Gayod, in Mahayahay
to drink tuba. He was located by the police and investigated.
24
He claimed that it was Daylen
and not the victim Remelyn whom he was carrying.
As corroborative witness, appellant presented Alex "Totong" Loyola. Totong testified that on
24 March 1997, at about 4:00 p.m., they registered as voters in the barangay. After
registering, they went home to appellants house, but again left to get vinegar from his aunt
Catalina Cabano, for their kinilaw. In Catalinas house, they found her drunk husband, her
10-year old daughter, and her 3-year old grandchild Daylen.
25
Catalinas daughter directed
them to the place where she was gathering tuba. As Daylen was crying, appellant carried her
on their way to Catalina. It was then about 4:00 p.m. After Catalina finished gathering tuba,
the four of them appellant, Totong, Catalina and Daylen, left together and repaired to
Catalinas house for the vinegar. Appellant and Totong returned to appellants house where
they spent the night.
26
Totong woke up at 6:00 a.m. the following day, and left appellants
house. Totong came to know of appellants arrest the following day.
27

Catalina Cabano also corroborated appellants story. She relates that on 24 March 1997, she
was gathering tuba, at a place around 2 kilometers from her house. She left Maritess, her
youngest child and Daylen, her grandchild, at her house.
28
At about 5:30 p.m., appellant and
Totong arrived. Appellant was carrying Daylen. They waited for Catalina to finish
gathering tuba until 6:00 p.m. Appellant and Totong went to the formers house, had a
drinking spree, and then parted ways at about 6:30 p.m. That night, according to Catalina,
she talked to Tulon Mik at the premises near the house. Mik was looking for Remelyn. At that
time, appellant was already at the house of Catalinas younger sister, which is located across
the river, about 4 kilometers away.
29

After trial, the trial court found that there was sufficient circumstantial evidence to convict
appellant for the crime of rape with the qualifying circumstance that the victim was below
seven years of age. Appellant was sentenced to death and ordered to indemnify the victim
the sums of fifty thousand pesos (P50,000.00) as moral damages, thirty thousand pesos
(P30,000.00) as exemplary damages, and to pay the costs of suit.
In his Brief
30
to the Court, appellant assigned the following errors in the judgment of the trial
court:
I.
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN CONVICTING THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT, ROLANDO
(sic) GAUDIA DESPITE THE FACT THAT HIS GUILT WAS NOT PROVEN BEYOND
REASONABLE DOUBT.
II.
EVEN GRANTING WITHOUT ADMITTING THAT ACCUSED-APPELLANT IS GUILTY OF
THE CRIME CHARGED, THE TRIAL COURT STILL ERRED IN IMPOSING THE SUPREME
PENALTY OF DEATH DESPITE THE FAILURE OF THE PROSECUTION TO STATE WITH
CERTAINTY THE QUALIFYING CIRCUMSTANCE OF AGE IN THE INFORMATION.
We convict appellant for simple rape, and not for qualified rape.
Under Rule 133, Section 4 of the Revised Rules of Court, conviction may be based on
circumstantial evidence provided three requisites concur: (a) there is more than one
circumstance; (b) the facts from which the inferences are derived are proven; and (c) the
combination of all the circumstances is such as to produce a conviction beyond reasonable
doubt. The ruling case law is that for circumstantial evidence to be sufficient to support a
conviction, all circumstances must be consistent with each other, consistent with the
hypothesis that the accused is guilty, and at the same time inconsistent with the hypothesis
that he is innocent and with every other rational hypothesis except that of guilt.
31

The first circumstantial evidence against the appellant is the testimony of prosecution
witness Tulon Mik that at 4:00 p.m. on 24 March 1997, he saw him carrying Remelyn toward
the direction of the ipil-ipil grove, some 130 meters from her house.
32
As a neighbor and
relative of Remelyns stepfather, Mik had sufficient familiarity with the child Remelyn. The
possibility that he could have been mistaken in identifying the victim is nil.
The second circumstantial evidence against the appellant is Amalias testimony that
Remelyn emerged naked from the same ipil-ipil grove, with ipil-ipil leaves clinging to her
forehead. Remelyn was crying and walking with her legs spread far apart. Remelyns private
organ was bleeding and excreting a white mucus-like substance.
33

The third circumstantial evidence against appellant is Remelyns statement to her mother
that it was appellant who had brought her to the ipil-ipil grove
34
and forced her to do
something against her will.
35

There is no question that Remelyn was violated. After examining Remelyn, Dr. Patricio
Hernane, the Municipal Health Officer of Hagonoy, found her to have a broken hymen, as
well as fresh vaginal lacerations.
From these, the culpability of the appellant can be inferred with moral certainty. All the
aforementioned circumstances have been indubitably proven, both by the testimonial and
documentary evidence presented by the prosecution, and by the inability of the appellant to
discredit their veracity.
The attempt of appellant to discredit the circumstantial evidence against him is futile.
Appellant contends, first, that Tulon Miks testimony is weak, on the ground that Mik is a
relative of the husband of Amalia.
36
He also questions the credibility of Mik because of his
failure to confront appellant when he saw him carrying Remelyn. Neither did Mik inform
Amalia about what he saw when Amalia was looking for Remelyn. Appellant insists that it
was Daylen whom he carried and not Remelyn. Second, he stresses the fact that Remelyn
did not make any categorical statement that he sexually molested her. Third, he maintains
that the accusation of flight against him is false. Fourth, he avers that the offer of
compromise by his parents as tendered to Amalia Loyola should not be taken against
him,
37
while the offer of compromise he allegedly made to Amalias husband, as relayed by
Amalia in her testimony, should be excluded as evidence for being hearsay.
38
Finally, he
submits that inconsistencies in the testimony of Alex Loyola and Cabano should not be
counted against him on the ground that any finding of guilt must rest on the strength of the
prosecutions evidence.
We reject appellants arguments.
First, appellants attempt to discredit the testimony of Mik cannot succeed. It is true that Mik
is a relative by affinity of Amalia Loyola. It is hoary jurisprudence, however, that mere
relationship to one of the parties, without a showing of any other improper motive, is not
sufficient basis to impair the credibility of the witness.
39
In the case at bar, appellant cannot
impute any ill motive for Mik to testify adversely against him.
Appellant questions the failure of Mik to challenge him why he was carrying Remelyn. Also,
he assails Mik for failing to inform Amalia Loyola of such a sight. Mik had an explanation for
the inadvertence. He said his own child was down with a fever, and he and his wife were
hurrying home.
40
For this same reason, he revealed the fact that he saw appellant carrying
Remelyn toward the ipil-ipil grove only when he learned of Remelyns fate. But thereafter, he
lost no time in reporting the matter to the barangay chairman.
41
As a barangay kagawad, he
also assisted in the pursuit and arrest of appellant at Barangay Mahayahay.
42
These
subsequent actions strengthen Miks credibility.
The trial court accorded more credence to Miks narration of the events over the testimonies
of Cabano and Loyola. It is a cornerstone of our jurisprudence that the trial judge's
evaluation of the testimony of a witness and its factual findings are accorded not only the
highest respect, but also finality, unless some weighty circumstance has been ignored or
misunderstood which could alter the result of the judgment rendered. In the case at bar,
there is no irregularity in the assessment of evidence by the lower court. It granted utmost
credibility to Miks testimony. Given the direct opportunity to observe the witness on the
stand, the trial judge was in a vantage position to assess his demeanor and determine if he
was telling the truth or not.
43
The trial court found Miks testimony more worthy of credence
over those of Catalina and Loyola. We have no reason to reverse its findings.
Next, appellant tried to capitalize on the fact that Remelyn never made any statement that he
sexually molested her. This is a specious argument. Remelyn had told her mother, "Crazy
Lendoy forced me."
44
Remelyn was 3 1/2 years old at the time. At such an infantile age, she
could not be expected to have a comprehension of the concept of rape. Studies show that
children, particularly very young children, make the "perfect victims". They naturally follow
the authority of adults as the socialization process teaches children that adults are to be
respected. The childs age and developmental level will govern how much she comprehends
about the abuse and therefore how much it affects her. If the child is too young to understand
what has happened to her, the effects will be minimized because she has no comprehension
of the consequences. Certainly, children have more problems in providing accounts of
events because they do not understand everything they experience. They do not have
enough life experiences from which to draw upon in making sense of what they see, hear,
taste, smell and feel. Moreover, they have a limited vocabulary.
45
The fact that Remelyn
called appellant "Buang" or crazy shows that he did something which she knew was not right
or proper. By saying "iya kong lugos," Remelyn clearly conveyed that he forced her to do
something bad. With her limited comprehension, the child could not have a perfect way of
relating that she had been sexually abused. Finally, it must also be considered that there is
no actual counterpart for the word "rape" in Visayan parlance.
Appellants charge that the trial court erred when it ruled that he fled arrest, even if correct, is
not pivotal to his guilt. There are enough pieces of circumstantial evidence to convict him.
Neither will it affect the penalty or the award of damages rendered against him.
Similarly, appellants charge that the offers of compromise allegedly made by the parents of
the appellant to Amalia, and by the appellant himself to Amalias husband should not have
been taken against him by the trial court, even if sustained, will not exculpate him. To be
sure, the offer of compromise allegedly made by appellant to Amalia Loyolas husband is
hearsay evidence, and of no probative value. It was only Amalia who testified as to the
alleged offer,
46
and she was not a party to the conversation which allegedly transpired at the
Hagonoy Municipal Jail. A witness can only testify on facts which are based on his personal
knowledge or perception.
47
The offer of compromise allegedly made by the appellants
parents to Amalia may have been the subject of testimony
48
of Amalia. However, following
the principle of res inter alios acta alteri nocere non debet,
49
the actions of his parents cannot
prejudice the appellant, since he was not a party to the said conversation, nor was it shown
that he was privy to the offer of compromise made by them to the mother of the victim. They
cannot be considered as evidence against appellant but we reiterate that these errors are not
enough to reverse the conviction of the appellant.
Appellants defense hardly impresses. It is interesting to note that appellant and his
witnesses claim that it was at around 5:00 p.m. when appellant carried the child Daylen
toward her grandmother Catalina at the place where she was gathering tuba. Mik testified
that it was around 4:00 p.m. when he saw appellant carrying Remelyn toward theipil-
ipil grove. Given the 130-meter distance between the ipil-ipil grove and the houses of
appellant and of Amalia Loyola, appellant could have easily taken Remelyn from her house,
raped her at the ipil-ipil grove, and left her there, all in a matter of a few minutes. Sometime
past 4:00 p.m., he could then have returned to his house, and together with Alex Loyola,
proceeded to the COMELEC office to register, and did all the subsequent acts he claims to
have done.
The Court also notes the inconsistencies in the testimonies of Catalina and Loyola. The
discrepancies in the witnesses narration as to the time of arrival of appellant at the place
where Catalina was gathering tuba, his time of arrival at his own house, and the time when
Loyola and appellant actually parted ways, are not mere trivial details which could be
forgotten by witnesses because of the passage of time. To make matters worse, the
appellants testimony was, at times, contradicted by his own witnesses. Particularly telling
was the conflict between appellants statement that Totong had already left his house on the
night of 24 March 1997 and Totong and Catalinas own averments that Totong had stayed
the night at appellants house. These contradictory testimonies only made more incredulous
appellants tale.
We now review the penalty of death imposed upon appellant. In the case at bar, the
Information states that appellant, "by means of force and intimidationwillfully, unlawfully
and feloniously (had) carnal knowledge with Remelyn Loyola, a minor, against her will to her
damage and prejudice."
50
(emphasis ours) The Information did not allege that Remelyn was
below seven years old when she was violated. Appellant was therefore charged with simple
rape, under Section 335 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by Republic Act No. 7659
(the Death Penalty Law). Upon its passage, R.A. No. 7659 introduced seven new attendant
circumstances, which when present, will transform the crime to qualified rape, punishable by
death. We again stress that these new attendant circumstances must be properly pleaded in
the information to justify the imposition of the death penalty. The facts stated in the body of
the information determine the crime for which the accused stands charged and for which he
must be tried.
51
The main purpose of requiring all the elements of a crime to be set out in the
information is to enable the accused to suitably prepare his defense. It would be a denial of
the right of the accused to be informed of the charges against him and, consequently, a
denial of due process, if he is charged with simple rape and be convicted of its qualified form
punishable with death, although the attendant circumstance qualifying the offense and
resulting in capital punishment was not alleged in the indictment on which he was
arraigned.
52

We now review the damages awarded by the trial court. Time and again, we have ruled that
when there is a finding that rape had been committed, the award of civil indemnity ex delicto
is mandatory.
53
If the death penalty has been imposed, the indemnity should be P75,000.00;
otherwise the victim is entitled to P50,000.00 for each count of rape.
54
Thus, the appellant is
ordered to pay the amount of P50,000.00 as civil indemnity to Remelyn Loyola.
55

We affirm the award of moral damages. This is automatically awarded in rape cases without
need of further proof other than the commission of the crime, as it is assumed that a rape
victim has suffered moral injuries entitling her to such an award.
56

We also find the award of exemplary damages made by the lower court in favor of
complainant as proper because complainant has been correctly granted moral damages and
the offense against her was committed with the aggravating circumstance
57
of age. However,
the amount awarded must be reduced to P25,000.00 in line with prevailing jurisprudence.
58

WHEREFORE, the judgment of conviction of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 19, of Digos,
Davao del Sur in Criminal Case No. 213(97) is hereby MODIFIED. Appellant is found guilty
of the crime of simple rape, and is sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua. He
is ordered to pay to complainant Remelyn Loyola the amounts of P50,000.00 as civil
indemnity ex delicto, P50,000.00 as moral damages, and P25,000.00 as exemplary
damages. Costs against the appellant.
SO ORDERED.
Davide, Jr., C.J., Vitug, Panganiban, Quisumbing, Ynares-Santiago, Sandoval-Gutierrez,
Carpio, Austria-Martinez, Corona, Carpio-Morales, Callejo, Sr., Azcuna, and Tinga,
JJ., concur.


Footnotes
1
Written by RTC Judge Hilario I. Mapayo.
2
Also known by the name "Lendoy" or "Dodo".
3
TSN, 5 January 1998, p. 4. According to Amalia Loyola, Remelyn was born on 9
August 1993.
4
Id. at 5.
5
Id. at 8.
6
Id. at 7.
7
Id. at 5-7.
8
TSN, 5 January 1998, p. 19.
9
Id. at 8.
10
TSN, 5 January 1998, pp. 14-15, and TSN, 26 February 1998, pp. 4-5.
11
Id. at 19.
12
TSN, 5 January 1998, p. 8.
13
TSN, 8 December 1997, p. 4.
14
Exhibits "A-2" and "A-3" for the prosecution, also Exhibit "1-C" for the defense, p.
46 of the Original Records.
15
TSN, 8 December 1997, pp. 7-8.
16
Exhibit "B" for the prosecution, p. 5 of the Original Records.
17
Id.
18
TSN, 5 January 1998, p. 9.
19
Exhibit "D" for the prosecution, p. 6 of the Original Records.
20
TSN, 26 February 1998, pp. 4-5.
21
Id. at 9.
22
Id. at 7.
23
Id. at 6-10.
24
Id. at 10.
25
TSN, 16 July 1999, p. 7.
26
Id. at 4-7.
27
Id. at 9-10.
28
TSN, 16 July 1999, pp. 11-13.
29
Id. at 15.
30
Rollo, pp. 37-45.
31
People v. Gallarde, 325 SCRA 835 (2000).
32
TSN, 26 February 1998, p. 11.
33
TSN, 5 January 1998.
34
Exhibit "B" for the prosecution, p. 5 of the Original Records.
35
TSN, 5 January 1998, p. 9.
36
TSN, 5 January 1998, p. 6, as quoted in p. 7 of Appellants Brief, p. 38, Rollo.
37
Sec. 28, Rule 130 of the Revised Rules of Court.
38
Sec. 36, Rule 130 of the Revised Rules of Court.
39
People vs. Antonio, 303 SCRA 414 (1999).
40
TSN, 26 February 1998, p. 11.
41
Id. at 6.
42
Id. at 7.
43
People vs. Manalo, G.R. Nos. 144989-90, 31 January 2003; People vs. Glabo, 371
SCRA 567 (2001); People vs. Navida, 346 SCRA 821(2000); People vs. Valla, 323
SCRA 74 (2000); People vs. Lopez, 302 SCRA 669 (1999).
44
Exhibit "B" for the prosecution, p. 5 of the Original Records.
45
Goldstein, Seth L., "The Sexual Exploitation of Children, A Practical Guide to
Assessment, Investigation and Intervention, 2nd Edition," CRC Press LLC: 1999.
46
Id. at 20.
47
Section 36, Rule 130, Revised Rules of Court.
48
TSN, 25 January 1998, p. 19.
49
As codified in Section 28, Rule 130, Revised Rules of Court.
50
Original Records, p. 2. Emphasis ours.
51
People vs. Lim San, 17 Phil. 273 (1910).
52
People vs. David Garcia, 281 SCRA 463 (1997).
53
People vs. Biong, G.R. Nos. 144445-47, 30 April 2003; People vs. Tagud, Sr., 375
SCRA 291 (2002).
54
Id.
55
People vs. Biong, G.R. Nos. 144445-47, 30 April 2003; People vs. Invencion, G.R.
No. 131636, 5 March 2003.
56
People vs. Prades, 355 Phil. 150 (1998).
57
People vs. Tabugoca, G.R. No. 125334, January 28, 1998.
58
People vs. Umbana, G.R. Nos. 146862-64, 30 April 2003; People vs. Villanueva,
G.R. Nos. 146464-67, 15 November 2002; People vs. Barcelon, Jr., 389 SCRA 556
(2002); People vs. Lilo, G.R. Nos. 140736-39, 4 February 2003; People vs.
Francisco, G.R. No. 135200, 351 SCRA 351 (2001).