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VOL.

366,SEPTEMBER26,2001
Peoplevs.Nerio
G.R.No.142564.September26,2001.
PEOPLEOFTHEPHILIPPINES,plaintiffappellee,vs.HILGEM
NERIOyGIGANTO,accusedappellant.
*

CriminalLaw;Rape;Witnesses;Itdoesnotnecessarilyfollowthatifthe
complainantwasunabletoreadwithouthereyeglasses,shewouldlikewise
beunabletoseethefaceofherattacker,especiallyifhewasontopofher
as he raped her.Accusedappellants claim that complainants poor
eyesight made it impossible for her tosee her assailants face clearly is
flimsy. Accusedappellant made this conclusion on the basis of
complainantsinabilitytoreadtheaffidavitshowntoherduringthetrialof
November22,1999becauseshedidnothavehereyeglasses.Itdoesnot
necessarilyfollow,however,thatifcomplainantwasunabletoreadwithout
hereyeglasses,shewouldlikewisebeunabletoseethefaceofherattacker,
especiallyifhewasontopofherasherapedher.Complainanttestifiedthat
after accusedappellant undressed her, she saw him remove his clothes.
Accusedappellant heldaknifeinhislefthandandpokeditather.She
likewisestatedinhercomplaintthatshewouldbeabletopositivelyidentify
herabuserifshesawhimagain.Thus,complainantsawaccusedappellants
faceonthenightthatshewassexuallyabused.
Same;Same;Same;Minorinconsistenciesmerelyreferringtotrivialdetails
tendtostrengthen,ratherthanweaken,thecredibilityoftheprosecution
witness because they erase any suspicion of a rehearsed testimony.
Accusedappellant alleges that there are glaring inconsistencies between
complainants affidavit and her testimony in court. The alleged
inconsistenciesareminorandmerelyrefertotrivialdetailswhichmayhave
beencausedbythenaturalficklenessofmemory.Theytendtostrengthen,
ratherthanweaken,thecredibilityoftheprosecutionwitnessbecausethey
eraseanysuspicionofarehearsedtestimony.Indeed,thedetailscontainedin
complainantsaffidavit(Exh.4)andinhertestimonyondirectandcross
examinationaresubstantiallyconsistentwithoneanother.Whatiscrucialis
thatcomplainantsaffidavitandtestimonyondirectandcrossexamination
asawholeagreeonalltheessentialfactsandgiveacoherentpictureofthe
sordideventsthathappenedinthemorningofApril1,1999.
_______________
*ENBANC.

64

64

SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATED
Peoplevs.Nerio
Same; Same; Same; When the question of credence as to which of the
conflictingversionsoftheprosecutionanddefenseshouldbebelieved,the
trial courtsfindingsaregenerallyaccordedwithrespectbecauseithas
seenthewaythewitnessestestifiedandobservedthemwhiletestifying.We
havemanytimesruledthatwhenthequestionofcredenceastowhichofthe
conflictingversionsoftheprosecutionanddefenseshouldbebelievedthe
trialcourtsfindingsaregenerallyaccordedwithrespectbecauseithasseen
thewaythewitnessestestifiedandobservedthemwhiletestifying.Unless
shownthatithasoverlookedsomefactswhichwouldaffecttheresultofthe
case,thetrialcourtsfactualfindingswillnotbedisturbedbytheappellate
court.Thetrialcourtarrivedatajudgmentofconvictionbyrelyingonthe
testimonyofcomplainant.
Same; Same; Same; Since rape is essentially an offense of secrecy, not
generallyattemptedexceptindarkordesertedandsecludedplacesaway
frompryingeyes,acomplaintarisingfromthecrimeusuallycommences
solelyuponthewordofthewomanherself,andconvictioninvariablyhangs
only upon her credibility as the Peoples single witness of the actual
occurrence.The trial court, characterizing complainants testimony as
simplebutcandid,straightforward,andsincere,founditmoreworthyof
belief thanaccusedappellantstestimony.Thisisinkeepingwithsettled
jurisprudence that since rape is essentially an offense of secrecy, not
generallyattemptedexceptindarkordesertedandsecludedplacesaway
frompryingeyes,acomplaintarisingfromthecrimeusuallycommences
solelyuponthewordofthewomanherself,andconvictioninvariablyhangs
only upon her credibility as the Peoples single witness of the actual
occurrence.
Same;Same;Neithercompletepenetrationnorejaculationisrequiredto
consummaterapewhatismaterialisthatthereispenetrationnomatter
how slight of the female organ.Accusedappellant makes much of the
statementinthemedical reportthatcomplainantclaimstohavehadno
penilepenetrationbutthepeniswasnotedtoenteronlyonvaginalopening.
Noejaculation.Accusedappellantarguesthat,iftherewasneitherpenile
penetrationbyforcenorejaculation,thentherewasnorape.Sufficeittosay
thatneithercompletepenetrationnorejaculationisrequiredtoconsummate

rape.Whatismaterialisthatthereispenetrationnomatterhowslightofthe
femaleorgan.Themereintroductionofthemaleorganintothelabiaofthe
pudendumissufficient.Thattherewaspenetrationinthiscasewasproven
bythetestimony of thecomplainant. She testified thataccusedappellant
insertedhispenisintohervaginaandmadethecoitalmovementforabout
fivetotenminutes.Aswehavelongheld,whenawomansaysthatshehas
beenraped,shesaysineffectallthatisneces
65

VOL.366,SEPTEMBER26,2001
Peoplevs.Nerio
sarytoshowthatrapehasbeencommitted.Hertestimonyiscrediblewhere
shehasnomotivetotestifyfalselyagainsttheaccused,asinthecaseatbar.
Same;Same;SweetheartTheory;Asweetheartcannotbeforcedtohavesex
againstherwillloveisnotalicenseforlust,norapastsexualrelationship
between the parties a defense.In any event, even granting that he and
complainanthadreallybeensweethearts,thatfactalonewouldnotnegate
thecommissionofrape.Asweetheartcannotbeforcedtohavesexagainst
herwill.Loveisnotalicenseforlust.Notevenapastsexualrelationship
betweenthepartiesisadefensetoarape.
Same;Same;Flight;Theflightofanaccusedsignifiesanawarenessofguilt
andaconsciousnessthathehadnotenabledefenseagainsttherapecharge.
Accusedappellant,ontheotherhand,uponlearningthatacomplaintfor
rapehadbeenfiledagainsthimonApril5,1999,fledandwentintohiding
inhismothershometownandlaterstayedwithhissister.Hehidtherefor
sixmonthsandsixdaysuntilhewasarrestedonOctober11,1999.Accused
appellant claimsthathefledandhidbecausehewasafraid.Wearenot
convinced by accusedappellants selfserving explanation. We have
repeatedlyheldthattheflightofanaccusedsignifiesanawarenessofguilt
andaconsciousnessthathehadnotenabledefenseagainsttherapecharge.
Same;Same;AggravatingCircumstances;DisregardofRankandAge;The
aggravatingcircumstanceofdisregardoftherespectduetotheoffended
party on account of her rank and age properly appreciated where the
accusedknewthatcomplainantwashisGradeIpublicschoolteacherand
wasalreadyquiteold.Weholdthatthetrialcourtproperlyappreciatedthe
existence of the aggravating circumstance of insult or disregard of the
respectduetotheoffendedpartyonaccountofherrankandage.Accused

appellantknewthatcomplainantwashisGrade1publicschoolteacherand
was already quite old. Indeed, these facts were admitted by accused
appellantinthestipulationoffactsembodiedinthepretrialorderwhichhe
signed.AstheSolicitorGeneralobserves,accusedappellantwasfullyaware
thathewasrapinghisoldteacher.Thatcomplainanthadalreadyretiredfrom
theserviceasateacherdidnotdiminishtherespectdueherrankasaformer
Grade1teacherofaccusedappellant.
Same; Same; Penalties; Considering the presence of the aggravating
circumstanceofinsultordisregardoftherespectduetheoffendedpartyon
accountofherageandrank,thesentenceofreclusionperpetuaimposedby
thetrialcourtshouldbechangedtothepenaltyofdeath.UnderArt.266
66

66

SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATED
Peoplevs.Nerio
A,par.l(a)oftheRevisedPenalCode,asamendedbyR.A.No.7659and
R.A. No. 8353, rape is committed by a man who shall have carnal
knowledgeofawomanthroughforce,threat,orintimidation.Article266B
providesthatrapeunderparagraph1ofArticle266Ashallbepunishedwith
reclusionperpetuatodeathwhenevertherapeiscommittedwiththeuseof
adeadlyweapon.Theusebyaccusedappellantofabladedweaponwhenhe
rapedcomplainantwasallegedintheinformationandsufficientlyprovenin
thiscase.UnderArticle63oftheRevisedPenalCode,inallcasesinwhich
thelawprescribesapenaltycomposedoftwoindivisiblepenalties,andthe
crimewascommittedwiththepresenceofoneaggravatingcircumstance,the
greaterpenaltyshallbeapplied.Consideringthepresenceinthiscaseofthe
aggravating circumstance of insult or disregard of the respect due the
offendedpartyonaccountofherageandrank,thesentenceof reclusion
perpetua imposedbythetrialcourtshouldbechangedtothepenaltyof
death.

APPEALfromadecisionoftheRegionalTrialCourtofBacolod
City,Br.47.
ThefactsarestatedintheopinionoftheCourt.
TheSolicitorGeneralforplaintiffappellee.
PublicAttorneysOfficeforaccusedappellant.
PERCURIAM:

Thiscaseishereonappealfromthedecision renderedonJanuary
31,2000bytheRegionalTrialCourtofBacolodCity,Branch47,
findingaccusedappellantguiltybeyondreasonabledoubtofthe
crimeofrapeandsentencinghimaccordingly.
ComplainantVilmaM.Concelwas,atthetimematerialtothis
case,70yearsold,awidow,andaretiredpublicschoolteacher
livinginPurokMahimayaon,Brgy.Bata,BacolodCity.Shehad
elevenchildrenbyherlatehusbandClementeB.Concel. Shewas
therecipientofanawardasoneoftheoutstandingmothersofthe
provinceofNegrosOccidental.
1

_______________
1PennedbyJudgeEdgarG.Garvilles.
2TSN,Nov.22,1999,pp.36.
3Records,p.82.SeeExhs.FandG.
67

VOL.366,SEPTEMBER26,2001
Peoplevs.Nerio
AccusedappellantHilgemNeriowas,atthetimeofthealleged
commissionofthecrime,28yearsold,single,andalsoaresident
ofPurokMahimayaon,Brgy.Bata,BacolodCity.Heworkedasa
Field Coordinator of ABSCBN Radio. Complainant was his
teacherinGrade1.
TheInformation inthiscasecharged:
4

That on or about the 1st day of April, 1999, in the City of Bacolod,
Philippines,andwithinthejurisdictionoftheHonorableCourt,theherein
accused, being armed with a bladed weapon, by means of force and
intimidation,did,thenandthere,willfully,unlawfullyandfeloniouslyhave
carnal knowledge of the herein offended party Vilma Concel y Mijares,
againstthewillofthelatter.
Thatthecrimewascommittedwiththeaggravatingcircumstanceofinsultor
disregardoftherespectduetheoffendedpartyonaccountofherrank,being
aretiredschoolteacher,andherage,being70yearsold.
Actcontrarytolaw.

Uponhisarraignment,accusedappellantpleadednotguiltytothe
chargeandwasthereaftertried.Thefollowingfactswerestipulated

1
2
3

uponduringthepretrialconference:
1.ThevictimVilmaC.Mijaresis70yearsold(Correctedinthe
OrderofNovember22,1999to:ThenameofthevictimisVilma
ConcelyMijares.)
2.PrivateComplainantistheteacheroftheaccusedwhenhewasin
grade1.
3.Thattheincidentwhichledtothefilinginthiscasehappened
insidethebedroomandthehouseofthecomplainantwhichisat
Brgy.Bata,BacolodCity(CorrectedintheOrderofNovember22,
1999to:Theincidenthappenedinsidethebedroomofthevictim
locatedatthestorewhichisoutsideandfarfromthehouseofthe
complainant.)
4.Both private complainant and the accused Hilgem Nerio are
livinginthesameareaknownasPurokMahimayaon,Brgy.Bata,
BacolodCity.
6

_______________
4TSN,Dec.7,1999,p.53.
5Rollo,p.9.
6PretrialOrder,p.1;Records,p.26.
68

68

SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATE
Peoplevs.Nerio
The prosecution presented evidence showing the following: On
April1,1999,ataround3:30a.m.,complainantVilmaConcelwas
sleeping in her room inside her sarisari store in Purok
MahimayaoninBarangayBata,BacolodCity.Atthattime,twoof
herdaughters,CarmenConcel,40yearsold,single,andVelmita
ConcelPlaza,42yearsold,married,werelivingwithherintheir
house.Itisnotclearfromtherecordsiftherewereotherpeople,
asidefromthetwodaughters,intheirhousethattime.Complainant
was awakened when she felt someone touching her breast and
privatepart.Sheaskedwhothemanwasasshetriedtogetup.The
manwasarmedwithaknifeandwarnedhernottomakeanynoise

orhewouldkillher.Complainantsaidshewouldgivehimwhathe
wantedaslongashedidnotharmher,buthesaidhedidnotneed
anythingbecausewhathewantedwastohavesexwithher.
According to complainant, the man, whom she identified as
accusedappellantHilgemNerio,undressedher,tookoffhisown
clothes,andwentontopofher,whilepokingaknifeonherleft
side.Complainantsaidshegrappledwithaccusedappellantforthe
knife,asaresultofwhichshesufferedcutsinthepalmofherright
hand. Complainant wasoverpowered byaccusedappellant, who
succeeded in ravishing her. Complainant testified that accused
appellantaskedhowmanysingledaughtersshehad,butshedid
not answer because she was afraid that he might harm them.
Complainantcriedandalmostlostconsciousness.
Afterhewasthrough,accusedappellantlayoncomplainantsbed
as complainant put on her housedress. Accusedappellant then
stoodupandputonhisclothes.Hetoldcomplainanttoopenthe
maingateandthenfled.Butbeforeheleft,accusedappellanttold
herthathewouldbebackthenextdayatthesametime.
After accusedappellant had left, complainant went to the main
housewhereherdaughterCarmenwassleepingandtoldherwhat
7

_______________
7TSN,Nov.22,1999,pp.810.SeealsoInvestigationReport(Exh.C),Records,
p.48.
8TSN,Nov.22,1999,pp.1014.
9Id.,pp.1516.
69

VOL.366,SEPTEMBER26,2001
Peoplevs.Nerio
hadhappened.ThetwowenttoBACUP3(PoliceStation3)that
morningandreportedtheincident.ComplainantwenttoBACUP
3threetimesinconnectionwiththeincident.Onherfirstvisit,she
didnotreporttothepolicethatshehadbeenraped.Instead,she
onlyfiledacomplaintforqualifiedtrespasstodwelling,physical
injuries,andgravethreats. ButonApril3,1999,at11a.m.,she
10

wentbacktothepolicestationwithanotherdaughter,VilmaPlaza,
and reported that she had been raped. Later, when shown a
photographofaccusedappellant,complainantidentifiedhimasthe
samemanwhohadrapedher.Thephotographhadbeengivenby
accusedappellants father upon the request of a certain SPO3
Puentebella.
Thatsameafternoon,complainantwasexaminedbyDr.Cherryl
GumahinoftheCorazonLocsinMontelibanoMemorialRegional
Hospital.Dr.Gumahinfoundoncomplainantsexternalgenitaliaa
0.2cm.partialtearatthe11oclockpositionaswellasa.5cm.
anda.2cm.hyperemiainthehymenalareaandlacerationsonher
righthand.Shetestifiedthatthetearnotedinthehymenalregion
and the reddening of the vulvar area could have possibly been
causedbyaforeignbluntobject,suchasapenis.Ontheother
hand,thelacerationsinthepalmofcomplainantsrighthandcould
havebeencausedbyasharpinstrumentlikeaknife.
SPO3 Lina Faith Mojica conducted an ocular inspection of
complainantshouseonApril5,1999.Complainantshouseisa
twostoryaffairwithanextensiononthegroundfloorareawhere
complainants store was located. SPO3 Mojica theorized that
accusedappellantgainedentrytothehousebyscalingthesixfoot
high concrete wall which surrounded the house. Once he was
insidethelot,hedetachedthree(3)glasslouversofthejalousie
windowofthebathroomlocatedonthegroundfloor.Accused
appellant passed through the window, then went to the second
floorpassingbytheroomofCarmenConceland,throughavacant
room, went downstairs and,through the main door, entered the
storewhere
11

12

_______________
10Id.,pp.1618;5254.
11Id.,pp.65,8283.
12Id.,pp.1920;TSN,Nov.29,1999,pp.1622.SeealsoExhibits4Aand3
B.
70

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SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATE
Peoplevs.Nerio
complainantwassleeping.Thestorewasseparatedfromthemain
housebyaconcretewall.Complainantsroomwasinthestore.
The room had a window covered with bamboo slats. Accused
appellantprobablyinsertedhishandthroughthebambooslatsand
succeededinopeningthedoorwhichledtocomplainantsroom.
Accusedappellant denied the charge against him. He admitted
havingsexwithcomplainantintheearlymorningofApril1,1999,
but he claimed that their sexual relation was voluntary and
consensual. Accusedappellant said he and complainant were
sweetheartsandthatinfacttheyalreadyhadtwosexualencounters
beforeApril1,1999,thefirstonthefirstweekofDecember1998
andthesecondonthesecondweekofFebruary1999.
Concerning the first incident, accusedappellant said that, as a
Field Coordinator of ABSCBN Radio, he made the rounds of
PurokMahimayaoninsearchoftalentsforABSCBNRadio.He
passedbycomplainantshouse,whowashisGrade1teacher,and
greeted her. According to accusedappellant, complainant was
pleasedtoseehimandaskedhimtotransferapottedplantbeside
thedoorofherstoretothedoornearherroom.Accusedappellant
claimedthatafterobliginghisformerteacherandwhilehewas
washinghishandstoremovethedirt,hewassurprisedbecause
complainant grabbed his groin, embraced him, and pulled him
insideherroom.Shecaressedhischestandunzippedhispants.
Accusedappellantsaidthat,ashelayonthebed,complainantheld
hispenisandperformedoralsexonhim.Whenaccusedappellant
said that he felt pain, complainant removed her false teeth and
continuedwhatshewasdoing.Complainantthenwentontopof
him, inserted his penis into her vagina, and they had sexual
intercourse.
Accusedappellantsaidthesecondsexualencounterbetweenhim
andcomplainanttookplaceinthesecondweekofFebruary1999.
13

14

Atthattime,accusedappellantsaidheneededmoneyandsohe
wenttoseecomplainant.Accusedappellantsaidshelethimin
_______________
13TSN,Nov.221999,pp.37,56,7174,and86.SeeInvestigationReport(Exh.
C),Records,p.48.See.alsoTSN,Dec.7,1999,p.39.
14TSN,Dec.7,1999,pp.5664.
71

VOL.366,SEPTEMBER26,2001
Peoplevs.Nerio
thehouseandtheyagainengagedinsexualintercourse.Afterward,
complainantgavehimP300.00.
ThethirdsexualencounterallegedlytookplaceonApril1,1999.
Accusedappellant was on his way home after a drinking spree
with a friend, Allan Imbong, in the latters house in Banago.
Accusedappellant passed by complainants house between 1:00
and2:00a.m.Whenheknockedonthedoor,complainantopened
itandlethimin.Accordingtoaccusedappellant,theyagainhada
tryst. He claimed that, because he could not have an erection,
complainantperformedoralsexonhim,mountedhim,andrubbed
hispenisagainstherprivatepart.Theythenhadsexualintercourse.
Accusedappellantaskedforwaterashewasthirsty.Hence,com
plainantputonherdress,wenttothestore,andcamebackwitha
glassofwater.HeaskedherformoneyandwasgivenP100.00,
withapromisethatshewouldgivehimmoreifhecameback.
TheotherwitnessesforthedefensewereAllanImbongandPO3
AlthamarTupas.AllanImbongcorroboratedaccusedappellants
claimthatataround7p.m.ofMarch31,1999,theyhadadrinking
spreeatBrgy.Bata.TheyproceededtoBanagoanhourandahalf
laterwheretheycontinueddrinking.Whentheyfinishedataround
1a.m.ofApril1,1999,theyreturnedtoBrgy.Bata.Beforethey
reached accusedappellants house, accusedappellant invited
ImbongtohavesomesnacksattheBurgerJunction.Theywerenot
abletoeat,however,asaccusedappellantdidnothavemoney.
15

16

They decided to go home to accusedappellants house. But,


Imbongsaid,atthecornerofDYCP,accusedappellantdecidedto
stay behind because he wanted to pass by a particular house.
Imbongwasshownaphotograph(Exh.6)ofcomplainantshouse
whichheidentifiedastheonetheyhadbeento.Accusedappellant
toldImbongtowait,butthelattersaidhewantedtogohomeand
left.
WitnessPO3TupastestifiedthatonApril1,1999,ataround4:38
p.m.,complainantandhertwodaughterswenttotheirofficeand
filed a complaint for Trespass to Dwelling, Grave Threats, and
PhysicalInjuries.Afterrecordingtheincidentinthepoliceblotter,
17

_______________
15Id.,pp.6777.
16Id.,pp.7791.
17TSN,Dec.7,1999,pp.514.
72

72

SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATE
Peoplevs.Nerio
he went with two other policemen to complainants house and
conductedaninvestigation.Theydiscoveredthattheintruderhad
gained entry to complainants house by breaking the sliding
windowofthebathroom.Theintruderproceededtothesecond
floor, where the room of complainants daughter, Carmen, was
located,andthenpassedthroughthemaindoorofthehousetogo
tocomplainantsroominsidethestorelocatedoutsidethemain
house.
On rebuttal, complainant vehemently denied accusedappellants
claimthattheyhadarelationship.ShetestifiedthatinDecember
1998,whenaccusedappellantclaimedtheyhadatryst,shewasin
Manila for a medical checkup and that she did not return to
BacoloduntilmidJanuaryofthefollowingyear.Sheclaimedthat,
sinceaccusedappellantwasinherclassinGrade1,shedidnot
meethimagainuntilthemorningofApril1,1999,whentherape
18

tookplace.
SPO3Mojicatestifiedthataccusedappellantfledtohismothers
hometowninTapaz,Capizuponlearningthatacomplaintforrape
againsthimwasfiled.Hestayedthereuntilhewasarrestedon
October11,1999bymembersofthePresidentialAntiOrganized
CrimeCommission.
Thetrialcourtfoundtheprosecutionevidencemorecredibleand
heldaccusedappellantguiltyofrape.Thedispositiveportionofits
decisionstates:
19

20

WHEREFORE, finding accused Hilgem Nerio y Giganto guilty beyond


reasonabledoubtofRapeunderRepublicAct8353(AmendingArticle335
of the Revised Penal Code and Republic Act 7659), judgmentis hereby
rendered sentencing him to suffer Reclusion Perpetua, as well as the
accessorypenaltyprovidedbylaw.Accusedisfurtherorderedtopaythe
private offended party Vilma Concel y Mijares: P50,000.00 as civil
indemnity for the rape; P50,000.00, moral damages; and P50,000.00
exemplarydamages.
_______________
18Id.,pp.2641.
19TSN,Jan.11,2000,pp.24.
20 Brief for the AccusedAppellant (Public Attorneys Office, Bacolod City
DistrictOffice),p.9;Rollo,p.64.
73

VOL.366,SEPTEMBER26,2001
Peoplevs.Nerio
Accused being detained by reason of the instant case, the period of his
preventiveimprisonmentshallbecreditedinhisfavoranddeductedfully
fromtheserviceofhissentenceevenifpenalizedwithreclusionperpetua
(Peoplevs.Corpuz,231SCRA480),providedhehasagreedinwritingto
abidebythesamedisciplinaryrulesimposeduponconvictedprisonersin
accordancewithArticle29oftheRevisedPenalCode.
SOORDERED.
21

Hencethisappeal.
Accusedappellantcontends:
I.THE COURT A QUO ERRED IN FINDING THAT THE
GUILT OF THE ACCUSEDAPPELLANT HAS BEEN

PROVEN BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT DESPITE THE


EXISTENCE OF DOUBT AS TO HOW PRIVATE
COMPLAINANT POSITIVELY IDENTIFIED ACCUSED
APPELLANT.
II.THE COURT A QUO ERRED IN APPRECIATING THE
AGGRAVATING CIRCUMSTANCE OF INSULT OR IN
DISREGARD OF THE RESPECT DUE TO THE OFFENDED
PARTYONACCOUNTOFHERRANKANDAGE.
FIRST. Accusedappellantcontendsthathewasnotidentifiedas
themanwhohadrapedcomplainantonthenightofApril1,1999
andthattherearegravedoubtswhethershereallyrecognizedhim
onthatoccasion.Althoughcomplainantsaidthatsherecognized
accusedappellantasthepersonwhohadrapedher,shedidnot
describethemanwhohadabusedhertotheinvestigatingofficer
when she reported the incident to the police. In fact, accused
appellant claims, complainant even testified that she did not
recognizethefaceofherabuser.
Accusedappellantalsofindsitunbelievablethatcomplainantcan
identifyhimasherabuserwhensheclaimedonrebuttalthatshe
onlysawhiminthemorningofApril1,1999.Evenifhewas
complainantspupilinGrade1,hearguesthathisphysicalap
22

23

_______________
21Decision,p.17;Rollo,p.34.
22 Brief for the AccusedAppellant (Department of Justice, Public Attorneys
Office,QuezonCity),p.1;Rollo,p.131.
23Id.,p.10;Id.,p.140.
74

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SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATE
Peoplevs.Nerio
pearancehadchangedconsiderablysincethen.Hemaintainsthat
complainant was able to identify him only through the picture
whichwassuppliedbyhis(accusedappellants)fatherandshown
toheratthepolicestation.
Finally, accusedappellant claims that complainant has poor
24

eyesight.Shecouldnotevenreadtheaffidavitthatsheexecuted
(Exh. 4) when it was shown to her in court. Considering her
defectiveeyesightandthefactthatitwasimprobablethatshewas
wearingglasseswhenshewasraped,itisdoubtfulwhethershe
reallyrecognizedtheassailantsface.
AstheSolicitorGeneralpointsout,however,complainantdidnot
saythatshedidnotrecognizethefaceofherrapist.Hertestimony
onthispointisasfollows:
COURT:
25

Thequestionofthecounseliswhydidyounottellthepolicethatitwasthea
yousaidyoudidnotrecognize?

A Iknewhimbyface.
ATTY.DELAFUENTE:

Q: IsitnotafactthatyouearliersaidthatyoualreadyknewhimasHilgemNer
A: Byface.
FISCALYNGSON:

Weobjectthereisnomentionofthename.
ATTY.DELAFUENTE:

Hesaidearlier.HealreadyknewhimasHilgemNerio.
COURT:

Heevenpointedtotheaccused.Letthewitnessanswer.

A UponseeinghisfaceIalreadyknewhisnameasHilgemNerio.
ATTY.DELAFUENTE
Q

SoyouknowhisfaceandhisnameasHilgemNerio,isthatcorrect?

_______________
24Ibid.
25 Brief for the AccusedAppellant (Department of Justice, Public Attorneys
Office,QuezonCity),p.12;Rollo,p.142.
75

VOL.366,SEPTEMBER26,2001

Peoplevs.Nerio
A
Yes,maam.
Thus, complainant was able to see the face of her accused
appellant. Indeed, her testimony is consistent with the two
complaintsshefiled.Inherfirstcomplaintforqualifiedtrespassto
dwelling,physicalinjuries,andgravethreats,complainantstated
that an unidentified person broke into her house, went into her
room, poked a knife at her, and threatened to kill her if she
shouted. In her second complaint with the additional charge of
rape,complainantagainstatedthatshedidnotknowtheidentityof
herabuserbutsaidthatshewouldbeabletopositivelyidentify
him if she saw him again. When SPO3 Mojica showed her a
photographofaccusedappellant,shebrokedownandstatedthat
themaninthephotographwasthesamemanwhohadrapedher.
ComplainantrecalledtoSPO3Mojicathatsomeofherneighbors
hadbeenvictimizedinthesamemannerbyanunidentifiedperson,
buttheydidnotfilecomplaintsagainsthim.Complainantwanted
to be sure the intruder who had raped her was the person her
neighbors complained against. Acting upon this lead, SPO3
Puentebella made inquiries andasked accusedappellants father
foraphotographofhisson.SPO3Puentebellamadethisrequestso
hecouldshowthepicturetocomplainant.
Accusedappellants contention that complainant could not have
identifiedhimafterhebecameherpupilinGrade1becausehis
physical appearance had changed since then is without merit.
Complainant recognized accusedappellant not because he was
onceherformerpupilbutbecauseshehadseenhisfaceonthedate
inquestion.Thisisthereasonshewasabletoidentifyaccused
appellantwhenhisphotographwasshowntoher.
Accusedappellantsclaimthatcomplainantspooreyesightmade
itimpossibleforhertoseeherassailantsfaceclearlyisflimsy.
Accusedappellant made this conclusion on the basis of
complainantsinabilitytoreadtheaffidavitshowntoherduring

26

27

28

thetrialofNovember22,1999becauseshedidnothavehereye
_______________
26TSN,Nov.22,1999,pp.5455.
27Rollo,p.105.
28TSN,Nov.22,1999,pp.8385.
76

76

SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATE
Peoplevs.Nerio
glasses. It does not necessarily follow, however, that if
complainantwasunabletoreadwithouthereyeglasses,shewould
likewisebeunabletoseethefaceofherattacker,especiallyifhe
wasontopofherasherapedher.Complainanttestifiedthatafter
accusedappellantundressedher,shesawhimremovehisclothes.
Accusedappellantheldaknifeinhislefthandandpokeditather.
She likewise stated in her complaint that she would be able to
positively identify her abuser if she saw him again. Thus,
complainantsawaccusedappellantsfaceonthenightthatshewas
sexuallyabused.
Accusedappellant also cites alleged inconsistencies in the
testimonyofcomplainant.Accusedappellantaskswhyshedidnot
telleverythingtothepolicethefirsttimeshereportedtheincident.
And if she had been told the whole story, why did Carmen,
complainantsdaughter,notdisclosetherapetothepoliceifher
mother was reluctant to do so? From these questions, which
allegedly were not answered satisfactorily by the prosecution,
accusedappellantmakestheinferencethatbothcomplainantand
herdaughterinfactknewthepersonwhoenteredtheirhousethat
morningbuttheyhidhisidentityanddidnotimmediatelyreport
theincidenttothepolice.
Accusedappellantsargumentshavebeensufficientlyansweredby
thetrialcourtwhichheld:
29

30

Thefactthatinherfirstreporttothepoliceoftheincidentasenteredinthe
policeblotterofApril1,1999(Exh.1)didnotmentiontherapedidnotin
anywaymeanthatthecrimewasnotcommittedsincethesexualcontact

was insolently admitted by accused Nerio. Besides, it was satisfactorily


explained by complainant that during first report, she and her daughter
Carmenwhowentwithhertothepolicestationwereextremelynervousand
shewasoverwhelmedbyhertraumaticexperiencethatshefailedtomention
about the rape. This was heightened by the inexpressible shame and
embarrassmentofreportingthesordiddetailof
_______________
29Id.,pp.3335.
30 Brief for the AccusedAppellant (Public Attorneys Office, Bacolod City District
Office),pp.1619,Rollo,pp.7174.

77

VOL.366,SEPTEMBER26,2001
Peoplevs.Nerio
herravishmentfromthehandsofherattackertoamalepoliceofficer,PO3
AlthamarTupaswhomadethebooking,xxxxxx
31

Complainant,anoldlady,wasashamedtotellthepolicethatshe
hadbeenraped.Shewenttothepolicestationthreetimes,butit
wasonlyonthethirdtime,onApril3,1999,whenshemustered
enoughcouragetotellherstory.
ThisCourthasupheldtheconvictionofanaccusedforrapeevenif
thecomplainantdisclosedtheincidentonlyafterseveraldaysor
evenmonthsaftertheoccurrence. Thetwodaydelayinreporting
therapeincidentinthiscasecannotunderminethechargeagainst
accusedappellantasitwasshownthatthedelayisgroundedonhis
threatsthathewouldkillcomplainantifsheshoutedandthathe
wouldreturnthenextday.
Accusedappellant alleges that there are glaring inconsistencies
betweencomplainantsaffidavitandhertestimonyincourt.The
allegedinconsistenciesareminorandmerelyrefertotrivialdetails
whichmayhavebeencausedbythenaturalficklenessofmemory.
Theytendtostrengthen,ratherthanweaken,thecredibilityofthe
prosecution witness because they erase any suspicion of a
rehearsedtestimony.
Indeed,thedetailscontainedincomplainantsaffidavit(Exh.4)
and in her testimony on direct and crossexamination are
32

33

34

substantiallyconsistentwithoneanother.Whatiscrucialisthat
complainants affidavit and testimony on direct and cross
examinationasawholeagreeonalltheessentialfactsandgivea
coherentpictureofthesordideventsthathappenedinthemorning
ofApril1,1999.
Accusedappellant alleges that complainant added other details
duringhercrossexaminationalthoughsheaffirmedthecontentsof
heraffidavit.Thereisactuallynoinconsistency.Complainantwas
moredetailedinhertestimonyincourtbecausemorequestions
wereasked.Inonecase,weruled:
_______________
31Decision,p.9;Id.,p.26.
32Peoplevs.Cervantes,265SCRA832(1996).
33SeePeoplevs.Talaboc,256SCRA441(1996).
34Ibid.
78

78

SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATE
Peoplevs.Nerio

Generallyanaffidavitisnotpreparedbytheaffianthimself,butbyanother
person who uses his own language in writing the affiants statements.
Omissions and misunderstandings by the writer are not infrequent
particularlyundercircumstancesofhurryandimpatience.Forthisreason,
the infirmity of affidavits as a species of evidence is much a matter of
judicialexperience.
35

Wehavemanytimesruledthatwhenthequestionofcredenceasto
whichoftheconflictingversionsoftheprosecutionanddefense
shouldbebelievedthetrialcourtsfindingsaregenerallyaccorded
withrespectbecauseithasseenthewaythewitnessestestifiedand
observed them while testifying. Unless shown that it has
overlookedsomefactswhichwouldaffecttheresultofthecase,
the trial courts factual findings will not be disturbed by the
appellatecourt. Thetrialcourtarrivedatajudgmentofconviction
byrelyingonthetestimonyofcomplainant.Thetrialcourtheld:
36

37

Prudently,judiciously,objectivelyandmeticulouslyevaluating,analyzing,
calibratingandgoingthroughthefinerpointsoftheevidenceadducedbythe

contendingpartiesonthechargeofrapebycomplainantVilmaConcelviz
viztheaudaciousadmissionbyaccusedHilgemNerioofvoluntarysexual
trystwithcomplainantanchoredonsweetheartdefense,wefindinfavor
oftheprosecution.Thereisatotaldearthof raisondetre forustobe
skeptical of the credibility of private complainant who is a venerable
grandmotherof70,aretiredpublicschoolteacher,apurokpresidentanda
recipientoftheplumasoneofthe1994OutstandingMothersofNegros
Occidental(province).
38

Thetrialcourt,characterizingcomplainantstestimonyassimple
butcandid,straightforward,andsincere,founditmoreworthyof
beliefthanaccusedappellantstestimony.Thisisinkeepingwith
settledjurisprudence that since rapeis essentiallyanoffense of
secrecy,notgenerallyattemptedexceptindarkordesertedand

_______________
35Peoplevs.Patilan,197SCRA354(1991).
36Peoplevs.Carson,204SCRA266(1991),citingPeoplevs.Eguac,80SCRA
665(1977).
37 Peoplevs.Hinto, G.R.Nos.13814691,February28,2001,353SCRA215,
citingPeoplevs.Tan,264SCRA425,445(1996).
38Decision,p.8;Rollo,p.25.
79

VOL.366,SEPTEMBER26,2001
Peoplevs.Nerio
secludedplacesawayfrompryingeyes,acomplaintarisingfrom
thecrimeusuallycommencessolelyuponthewordofthewoman
herself,andconvictioninvariablyhangsonlyuponhercredibility
asthePeoplessinglewitnessoftheactualoccurrence.
Accusedappellantassertsthatthetrialcourtshoweditsbiasby
believing complainants explanation that the reason she did not
initiallyreporttherapetothepolicewasbecauseshewasashamed.
Herclaimthatshedidnotwanttomakeareporttoapoliceman
was flimsy because she could have been referred to a female
investigator at the Womens and Childrens Desk, which was
specifically set up to handle cases of this nature. But did
complainant know this? Could she have asked for a female
39

investigator when by doing so she would be letting the male


investigatorsknowexactlywhatshedidnotwantthemtoknow?
Thesearequestionswhichsheshouldhavebeenaskedduringthe
crossexaminationandnotonlynowonappeal.
Indeed, complainants testimony that accusedappellant forced
himselfuponher,thathethreatenedherwithaknife,andthatshe
triedtoprotectherselfandinsodoingsufferedcutsinthepalmof
her right hand remain unchallenged despite all of accused
appellantssophistry.Asthetrialcourtfound:
The circumstances of force and intimidation with the use of a bladed
weaponintheperpetrationofrapeaschargedintheInformationattending
theinstantcaseweremanifestedclearlynotmerelyinthevictimstestimony
butalsointhephysicalevidencepresentedduringtrial,i.e.,themedicolegal
reportshowingthree(3)lacerationsintherightpalmofthesaidvictim.
Theseinjuriesweresustainedbyherwhiletryingtowrestawaytheknife
fromhersexualattackerandexertingeffortstodisengageherselffromthe
sexualanchorage.Suchpieceofevidenceismoreeloquentthanahundred
witnesses. The fact of carnal knowledge is not disputed; it is in fact
admitted. Moreover, it was positively established through the offended
partys own testimony and corroborated by that of her examining
physician.
40

_______________
39 Brief for the AccusedAppellant (Public Attorneys Office, Bacolod City
DistrictOffice),p.34;Rollo,p.89.
40Decision,p.13;Id.,p.30.
80

80

SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATE
Peoplevs.Nerio
Inhermedicalreport(Exh.B),Dr.CherrylC.Gumahinstatedthat
complainanthada0.2cm.partialtearatthe11oclockpositionin
thehymenalareawithhypereniaofthevulvararea(Exh.B1).
Shetestifiedthatthesecouldhavebeencausedbyabluntobject,
suchasapenis.Shealsofoundlacerationsmeasuring.2cm.,.5
cm., and .3 cm. on complainants right hand. According to Dr.
Gumahin, these lacerations could have been caused by a sharp
41

instrument,likeaknife.
Indeed,thedefensehasutterlyfailedtoshowwhycomplainant,a
septuagenarianinthetwilightofherlife,awidow,andamotherof
eleven children, who testified not knowing accusedappellant
except when she was his Grade 1 teacher, would file such a
malicious charge against him. Verily, a rape victim would not
publiclydisclosethatshehasbeenrapedandundergothetrouble
andhumiliationofatrialifhermotivewasnottobringtojustice
thepersonwhohadabusedher.
In this case, complainant was 70 years old when the attack
occurred.Shewas,andis,respectednotonlyinthecommunity,
havingoncebeenacandidateoftheirbarangay,butintheentire
provinceofNegrosOccidental,beingoneoftherecipientsofan
awardasOutstandingMotherofthesaidprovince.Whywouldshe
take interest in prurient matters and even want to engage in a
sexualliaisonwhenladiesofherageandstationinlifeareturning
theirthoughtstovirtues?AccusedappellantwouldwantthisCourt
to believe that complainant was a sexstarved old woman who
found accusedappellant, then 28 years of age, so virile and
irresistiblethatsheshowedsexualaggressivenessevenintheirfirst
encounter.Sheallegedlygrabbedhisgroinandhelpedhimattain
erectionbyperformingoralsexonhim.Indeed,thepicturepainted
ofherbyaccusedappellantisthatoftheequivalentofthedirtyold
man.Wecannotbelievethisfantasy.
Thesamethoughtsappeartohavecrossedthemindofthetrial
judge.Now,accusedappellantaskswhyayoungandexceedingly
42

43

_______________
41SeealsoTSN,Nov.29,1999,p.16.
42TSN,Nov.29,1999,pp.1621.
43Peoplevs.Domingo,226SCRA156(1993).
81

VOL.366,SEPTEMBER26,2001
Peoplevs.Nerio

virilemalelikehimwouldprefertohavesexwitha70yearold
woman when her younger daughter was easily accessible. The
answeris:Probablyhewouldnothavedonethishadhenotjust
beentoadrinkingboutwithafriendwhichlastedfrom7:00p.m.
ofthepreviousnightupto1:00a.m.ofthenextday,whenhe
committedthecrime.
As to why accusedappellant did not molest complainants
daughter, whose room he passed in going to the store, SPO3
Mojicafoundthattheintruderhadfirsttriedtoopenthedoorof
complainantsdaughtersroomonthesecondfloor.Findingthatit
waslocked,heproceededtoopenthedoorofthenextroom.After
seeingthatitwasempty,heproceededtothegroundfloor. Thus,
accusedappellantdidindeedtrytoreachcomplainantsdaughter
first,contrarytowhatheclaims.Findinghertobeinaccessible,
accusedappellantoptedtolookforcomplainant.
Astowhyhetookalongerroutegoingtocomplainant,apossible
reasoncanbegivenforsuchbehavior.Hecouldhavehadrobbery
inmindwhenheenteredthemainhouse.Infact,hiscompanion,
AllanImbong,testifiedthattheywantedtoeataftertheirdrinking
spree, but accusedappellant did not have money. Accused
appellant told him to wait while he dropped by complainants
house. SPO3 Mojica theorized that accusedappellant tried to
enter several rooms in the house before finally going to
complainantsroombecausehewantedtorobtheplace.
SECOND. Itischargedthatthetrialcourtwassoprejudiced
againstaccusedappellantthatitignoredandevenrefusedtolisten
tothelattersversionoftheincidentandplacedonhimtheburden
ofprovinghisinnocence.Accusedappellantaversthatthecourt
erred in finding that the bathroom window through which the
intruderpassedwasmadeoflouversofjalousies,astestifiedtoby
SPO3Mojica,when,accordingtoPO3Tupas,itwasanoldsingle
glasswindowwithawoodencrossbrace.Accordingtoaccused
appellant,becauseoftheseconflictingdescriptionsofthewindow,
44

45

thecourtshouldhaveconductedanocularinspectionofthehouse.
_______________
44InvestigationReport(Exh.C),Records,p.48.
45TSN,pp.911,Dec.7,1999.
82

82

SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATE
Peoplevs.Nerio
Accusedappellant filed a Motion for Ocular Inspection, which
would have shown that neither of the two police officers
descriptionsofthebathroomwindowwascorrectandthatItwasin
fact made out of a single broken glass which would not allow
entrance even of a childs head, Accusedappellant argues that
such finding would also have proved his defense that he was
familiarwiththeinteriorofcomplainantsroombecausehewasa
frequentvisitorthere.
SPO3Mojicacategoricallystatedthatthebathroomwindowwas
of the jalousie type and that the intruder gained entry into the
house by detaching three glass louvers of the jalousie window.
Accusedappellantwasgiventheopportunitytocontrovertthisfact
and he, in fact, did so by describing in detail the features of
complainants room. But the trial court was not convinced. It
denied accusedappellants motion for ocular inspection in the
interest of conducting a speedy trial. The trial court had the
opportunitytohearaccusedappellantstestimonyandtoobserve
hisdemeanorwhiletestifying.Itdidnotattachanysignificanceto
theseparticulardefensespresentedbyaccusedappellant.Wefind
no cogent reason to disturb the trial courts findings on these
points.
THIRD.Accusedappellantmakesmuchofthestatementinthe
medical report that complainant claims to have had no penile
penetration but the penis was noted to enter only on vaginal
opening.Noejaculation.Accusedappellantarguesthat,ifthere
wasneitherpenilepenetrationbyforcenorejaculation,thenthere
46

wasnorape.Sufficeittosaythatneithercompletepenetrationnor
ejaculationisrequiredtoconsummaterape.Whatismaterialisthat
thereispenetrationnomatterhowslightofthefemaleorgan. The
mereintroductionofthemaleorganintothelabiaofthepudendum
issufficient.Thattherewaspenetrationinthiscasewasprovenby
the testimony of the complainant. She testified that accused
appellantinsertedhispenisintohervaginaandmadethecoital
movementforaboutfivetotenminutes.Aswehavelongheld,
whenawomansaysthatshehasbeenraped,shesaysin
47

_______________
46 Brief for the AccusedAppellant (Public Attorneys Office, Bacolod City
DistrictOffice),pp.3334;Rollo,pp.8889.
47Peoplevs.Faigano,254SCRA10(1996).
83

VOL.366,SEPTEMBER26,2001
Peoplevs.Nerio
effectallthatisnecessarytoshowthatrapehasbeancommitted.
Hertestimonyiscrediblewhereshehasnomotivetotestifyfalsely
againsttheaccused,asinthecaseatbar.
In any event, evengranting that he andcomplainant hadreally
beensweethearts,thatfactalonewouldnotnegatethecommission
ofrape.Asweetheartcannotbeforcedtohavesexagainstherwill.
Loveisnotalicenseforlust. Notevenapastsexualrelationship
betweenthepartiesisadefensetoarape.
Theconductofcomplainantimmediatelyaftertheallegedrapeas
well as accusedappellants behavior upon learning that a
complaint for rape had been filed against him is significant.
Immediately after the sexual assault, complainant told her
daughtersabouttheincident,wentwiththemtothepolicestation
to file a complaint, and submitted herself to a difficult and
humiliating physical examination during which she exposedher
private parts to a stranger. This fact belies accusedappellants
claim that complainant agreed to have sexual intercourse with
48

49

him.
Accusedappellant, on the other hand, upon learning that a
complaintforrapehadbeenfiledagainsthimonApril5,1999,
fled and went into hiding in his mothers hometown and later
stayedwithhissister.Hehidthereforsixmonthsandsixdays
until he was arrested on October 11, 1999. Accusedappellant
claims that he fled and hid because he was afraid. We are not
convinced by accusedappellants selfserving explanation. We
have repeatedly held that the flight of an accused signifies an
awareness of guilt and a consciousness that he had no tenable
defenseagainsttherapecharge.
FOURTH.Accusedappellantcontendsthatthetrialcourterred
inappreciatingtheaggravatingcircumstanceofinsultordisregard
50

51

_______________
48 People vs. Domingo, 266 SCRA 156 (1993), citing People vs. Tismo, 204
SCRA535(1991).
49Peoplevs.Sarellana,233SCRA31(1994).
50 See Peoplevs.Domingo,226SCRA156(1993),citing Peoplevs.Cruz,203
SCRA682(1991).
51 Peoplevs.Sarellana,233SCRA31(1994); Peoplevs.Cruz,165SCRA130
(1988).
84

84

SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATE
Peoplevs.Nerio
oftherespectduetotheoffendedpartyonaccountofherrankand
age.Heclaimsthat,otherthanthebareallegationthatsheis70
yearsoldandaretiredpublicschoolteacher,thereisnoproofthat
hedeliberatelyintendedtooffendorinsultcomplainantsrankor
age.
Weholdthatthetrialcourtproperlyappreciatedtheexistenceof
theaggravatingcircumstanceofinsultordisregardoftherespect
duetotheoffendedpartyonaccountofherrankandage.Accused
appellantknewthatcomplainantwashisGrade1publicschool
teacher and was already quite old. Indeed, these facts were

admittedbyaccusedappellantinthestipulationoffactsembodied
inthepretrialorderwhichhesigned. AstheSolicitorGeneral
observes,accusedappellantwasfullyawarethathewasrapinghis
oldteacher.Thatcomplainanthadalreadyretiredfromtheservice
asateacherdidnotdiminishtherespectdueherrankasaformer
Grade1teacherofaccusedappellant.
Inanalogouscases,rankaggravatedthemurderbyapupilofhis
teacher andtheassaultupona66yearoldDistrictjudgeofthe
CourtofFirstInstancebyajusticeofthepeace. Ontheother
hand,ageaggravatedthemurderofthevictim,whowas65years
old,byheroffenders,aged32and27. Itwasalsoappreciatedin
thekillingofa73yearoldmanbya27yearoldassailant.
UnderArt.266A,par.l(a)oftheRevisedPenalCode,asamended
byR.A.No.7659andR.A.No.8353,rapeiscommittedbyaman
whoshallhavecarnalknowledgeofawomanthroughforce,threat,
orintimidation.Article266Bprovidesthatrapeunderparagraph1
of Article 266A shall be punished with reclusion perpetua to
deathwhenevertherapeiscommittedwiththeuseofadeadly
weapon.Theusebyaccusedappellantofabladedweaponwhen
he raped complainant was alleged in the information and
sufficientlyproveninthiscase.UnderArticle63oftheRevised
52

53

54

55

56

________________
52SeePretrialOrder,p.1;Records,p.26.
53U.S.vs.Cabling,7Phil.469(1907).
54Peoplevs.Rodil,109SCRA308(1981).
55Peoplevs.ZapantaandTubadea,107Phil.103(1960).
56Peoplevs.Rubio,257SCRA528(1996).
85

VOL.366,SEPTEMBER26,2001
Peoplevs.Nerio
Penal Code, in all cases in which the law prescribes a penalty
composed of two indivisible penalties, and the crime was
committedwiththepresenceofoneaggravatingcircumstance,the
greaterpenaltyshallbeapplied. Consideringthepresenceinthis

caseoftheaggravatingcircumstanceofinsultordisregardofthe
respectduetheoffendedpartyonaccountofherageandrank,the
sentenceofreclusionperpetuaimposedbythetrialcourtshouldbe
changedtothepenaltyofdeath.
Four (4) members of the Court, although maintaining their
adherence to the separate opinions expressed in People vs.
Echegaray thatR.A.No.7659,insofarasitprescribesthepenalty
ofdeath,isunconstitutional,neverthelesssubmittotherulingof
themajoritythatthelawisconstitutionalandthatthedeathpenalty
shouldaccordinglybeimposed.
Theawardofcivilindemnityofaccusedappellantintheamountof
P50,000.00shouldbeincreasedtoP75,000.00.Thisisinlinewith
currentcaselaw, thatifthecrimeisqualifiedbycircumstances
whichwarranttheimpositionofthedeathpenaltybyapplicable
amendatory laws, the accused should be ordered to pay the
complainant the amount of P75,000.00 as civil indemnity. The
awardofP50,000.00asmoraldamansisinaccordancewithrecent
rulings. As to the award of exemplary damages, we held in
People vs. Catubig that the presence of an aggravating
circumstance,whetherordinaryorqualifying,entitlestheoffended
party to an award of exemplary damages. Hence, the award of
exemplary damages by the trial court is proper, but the same
shouldbereducedtoP25,000.00inlinewiththerulinginCatubig.
WHEREFORE,thedecisionofthetrialcourtisAFFIRMED
withtheMODIFICATIONthataccusedappellantissentencedto
sufferthemaximumpenaltyofDEATH.Heislikewiseorderedto
57

58

59

60

________________
57267SCRA682(1997).
58 People vs. Brondial, G.R. No. 135517, October 18, 2000, 343 SCRA 600;
People vs. Sancha, 324 SCRA 646 (2000); People vs. Alba, 305 SCRA 811
(1999).
59 Peoplevs.Nuez, 310SCRA168(1999); Peoplevs.Narido, 316SCRA131
(1999).
60G.R.No.137842,August23,2001,363SCRA621.

86

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SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATE
Peoplevs.Nerio
paycomplainantP75,000.00ascivilindemnity,and,inaddition,
P50,000.00asmoraldamages,P25,000.00asexemplarydamages,
andthecosts.
InaccordancewithSection25ofRA.No.7659,amendingArt.
83oftheRevisedPenalCode,uponthefinalityofthisdecision,let
therecordsofthiscasebeforthwithforwardedtothePresidentof
thePhilippinesforthepossibleexerciseofthepardoningpower.
SOORDERED.
Davide,Jr.(C.J.),Bellosillo,Melo,Puno,Vitug,Kapunan,
Mendoza, Panganiban, Quisumbing, Pardo, Buena, Ynares
Santiago,DeLeon,Jr.andSandovalGutierrez,JJ.,concur.
Judgmentaffirmedwithmodification.
Notes.Love is not a license for carnal intercourse through
forceorintimidationasweetheartcannotbeforcedtohavesex
againstherwill.(Peoplevs.Jimenez,302SCRA607[1999])
Removalofunderwear,areddeninghymen,anachingprivate
partandbloodontheunderweardonotprovecarnalknowledge
it is easy to speculate that the complainant was raped, but in
criminalcases,speculationandprobabilitiescannottaketheplace
of proof required to establish the guilt of the accused beyond
reasonabledoubt;Suspicion,nomatterhowstrong,mustnotsway
judgment.(Peoplev.Tayag,329SCRA491[2000])
o0o
87