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REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES

COURT OF APPEALS
MANILA
Third Division
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES,
Plaintiff-complainant,
-versusHARRY P. FUENTES,
Accused-appellant.

Criminal Case No. 01195940


For: Rape

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APPELLEES BRIEF
Plaintiff-complainant PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, represented by the OFFICE
OF THE SOLICITOR GENERAL, in answer to the allegations raised by the Accusedappellant in his Brief, respectfully states:

PREFATORY STATEMENT
Through this appeal, accused-appellant assails the judgment dated 10 April 2016 in the case
docketed as Criminal Case No. 01195940 before Branch 48 of the Regional Trial Court of
Manila, finding him guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of rape, and sentencing him to
Reclusion Perpetua without the possibility of parole.
THE PARTIES
1.
2.

3.

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, represented by the OFFICE OF


THE SOLICITOR GENERAL.
Accused-Appellant, HARRY P. FUENTES (accused), is a minor, 15 years of age,
student of Garcia High School and resident of 6543 Pres. Quirino Avenue, Paco,
Manila, charged and convicted of RAPE under Article 266-A (1) of the Revised Penal
Code.
Complainant-Appellee, MARIA SULONG y MODA (victim), is likewise a minor,
15 years of age, a student of Zamora High School and resident of 46 Zamora St.,
Paco, Manila, where she could be served with summons and other processes of this
Honorable Court.

STATEMENT OF MATERIAL DATES


1. On April 15, 2016, Accused-Appellant filed his Appeal to question the Decision of the
Regional Trial Court dated April 10, 2016, convicting him of the crime of rape.
2. The appeal was given due course on April 25, 2016.
3. On April 30, 2016, Plaintiff-Appellee filed its Comment pursuant to the Order of this
Honorable Court.
3

4. On May 5, 2016, this Honorable Court issued an Order directing the parties to file their
respective Appeal Briefs on or before May 20, 2016 and setting the oral arguments on
May 20, 2016.
5. Hence, this Appeal Brief is timely filed.

STATEMENT OF THE FACTS


The Appellee admits the statement of facts in the Appellants Brief, but denies Statement 10.1
pertaining to the accused-appellants testimony that he did not know the complainant. There is
nothing in his testimony or the record to support this statement.

ARGUMENTS
i.
The defense failed to establish that the instant case calls for a departure from the general
rule that the defense of alibi is inherently weak, for there was positive and clear
identification by the complainant of the appellants presence at the scene of the crime.
Moreover, defense failed to prove that the appellant was at some place other than the scene
of the crime, and that it was physically impossible for him to be at such place at the time of
the commission of such felony.
A.

There was positive and clear identification by the complainant of the appellants presence
at the scene of the crime.
1.

The defense of alibi is inherently weak and susceptible to invention, so much so


that the appreciation of the same must be circumspect. It may be considered only
when established by positive, clear, and satisfactory evidence. As an exception,
an alibi becomes significant where no positive and proper identification has been
made by the witness of the offender.
a.

In appellant Fuentes first assignment of error, the defense attempts to


counter the clear and positive identification of the complainant by
concluding, in essence, that no crime of rape could have been committed
against her since she did not actually see herself being raped by the or her
other assailants.

b.

However, such assumption is belied by the clear and convincing testimony


of the complainant who stated that:
i. Fuentes was the very same person who first convinced her to go
with him and another unidentified male person to the place known
as Dulo, allegedly to talk to one Elizabeth Ortega,
ii. While at such place, Fuentes, with the help of five other
malefactors all wearing bonnets, delivered fist blows to the
complainant at different parts of her body, and made her smell a
substance wrapped in foil,
iii.
It was only Harry who was not wearing any bonnet when he and
the complainants other attackers were delivering their blows and
simultaneously undressing her,
4

iv.
v.

2.

As a result of such violence, complainant lost consciousness, and


When she awoke because of the intense pains in her chest, vagina,
and back, she saw Fuentes and her other attackers replacing her
clothes.

It has been held that the conviction of an accused may be based on the testimony
of one witness alone provided such testimony is clear and convincing. 1
Particularly in rape cases, the lone testimony of the victim, if credible, is enough
to sustain a finding of guilt.2 As held in People vs. Landicho,3
The testimony of the offended party most often is the only
one available to prove directly the commission of rape;
corroboration by other eyewitnesses is seldom available. In
fact, the presence of such eyewitnesses would, in certain
cases, place a serious doubt as to the possibility of its
commission.

a.In the instant case, the testimony of the complainant is clear and
convincing. Complainant positively identified the appellant,
Fuentes, and clearly testified as to his presence at the scene of the
crime, with rich detail4 as to his appearance and clothing, and even
the particular clothing of her other assailants who could not be
identified because of the bonnets they were wearing.
b.That the complainant was not able to actually see appellant have carnal
knowledge of her is but a result of the violence inflicted upon her
person by the appellant and her five other attackers, rendering her
to lose consciousness while such dastardly act was being
committed. Nevertheless, complainant was able to identify the
appellant and ascertain his presence at the scene of the crime up
until she lost consciousness, and after she regained the same.
3.

The defense is mistaken that the cases of People vs. Corcino5 and in People vs.
Caballero,6 apply in the case at bar. In the abovementioned cases, the victims
who were able to regain consciousness alleged that they woke up with their
perpetrators still having carnal knowledge with them. Hence, they were able to
positively identify their aggressors.

1 People vs. Olais, 45 O.G. 279; People us. Padrones, 45 O.G. 1359; People us. Mayo, 45
2 People v. Villanueva, 254 SCRA 203 [1996]; People v. Antonio, 233 SCRA 283 [1994]; People v. Lascuna, 225
SCRA 386 [1993].

3 C.A., 43 O.G. 3767


4 Affidavit of Maria Sulong, September 25, 2001.
5 53 Phil. 234 (1929).
6 61 Phil. 900 (1935).
5

a.A perusal of the abovementioned cases reveals that the factual


circumstances are utterly different. In both cases cited, suffice it to
say that the accused was acting alone and did not even inflict
violence on the victim. The victim was asleep and not in full
control of her senses when the accused had carnal knowledge of
her, the former relying on the belief that the person with whom she
engaged in sexual intercourse was her husband, and not another
person posing as the same.
b.

4.

In the instant case, appellant Fuentes was not acting alone but in
concert with five other assailants. Collectively, they restrained the
free will of the complainant by inflicting physical injuries upon her
person, and even having her smell a substance wrapped in foil.
That she alone was the receiving end of fist blows from a total of
six assailants, coupled with the inhalation of such substance, is
enough to render her unconscious for the entire time the crime was
committed and unable to see herself being raped at such time.

The defense also relies flimsily on the doctrine enunciated People vs. Salidaga,7
where the Supreme Court also acquitted the accused where the complainants sole
testimony revealed that she felt pain in the lower part of her umbiculus after she
woke up. The defense postulates that the abovementioned case applied on all
fours in the instant case, but a review of the same reveals otherwise. The factual
circumstances greatly differ in the number of assailants and the manner in which
the victim alleged the crime.
a.In People vs. Saligaga, the defect in the testimony of the victim
consisted in her being able to testify on matters that occurred while
she was allegedly in the state of unconsciousness, contradicting her
earlier statement that she lost consciousness upon the accuseds
lying on top of her.
b.

In the instant case, no such fault could be attributed to the


complainant. She was clear and categorical in describing the
events from the moment she saw appellant Fuentes inviting her to
go with him to Dulo, until she saw him and her other assailants
punching, restraining, undressing her at such place, and after
regaining her consciousness, seeing Fuentes and the others
replacing her clothes. No inconsistent statements could be
attributed to the complainant, and from her testimony, the charge
of rape is consistent with the inference that upon being boxed
several times and losing consciousness, only to find her chest,
vagina, and back, sore and in pain after regaining consciousness,
along with the medical report attesting to recent loss of virginity,
point to no other conclusion that it was the appellant Fuentes who
had carnal knowledge of her.

7 G.R. No. 172323, Jan. 29, 2007.


6

B.

The defense failed to prove that the appellant was at some place other than the scene of
the crime, and that it was physically impossible for him to be at such place at the time of
the commission of such felony.
1.

The defense of alibi must not only appear that the accused interposing the same
was (a) at some other place but also that (b) it was physically impossible for him
to be at the scene of the crime at the time of its commission. 8
a.In the instant case, the complainants testimony established that she left her
house and went with her assailants to the scene of the crime at 7:00 p.m.,
lost consciousness for about 30 minutes, and upon escaping from the
scene, arrived at her friends Lotlot and Almas residence at 8:15 p.m.
These circumstances put the time of the crime between 7:25 to 8:05 p.m.
b.

On the other hand, Fuentes testified that at 4:00 p.m., he was at his
residence with his friends Jut Cali, Trina Monte, and Singa Mala to play
board games, and that his friends left his residence at 7:30 p.m. of that day.
9

c.Appellant Fuentes testimony, however, does not establish that he was in his
house for the entire duration of his friends visit. His testimony only
establishes that he was present when his friends visited him at 4:00 pm,
but not that he was still in his residence when his friends left the same.
d.

Moreover, it was the appellant himself who categorically admitted that the
crime scene was a mere 20 to 25 minutes away from his residence. 10 It is
possible that Fuentes was at the scene of the crime even before his friends
left at 7:30 p.m. Such admission defeats the appellants alibi and infers
that it was still physically possible for him to have been at the crime scene.

e.Jut Cali and Trina Montes testimonies also do not support the appellants alibi.
Both attested merely to the fact that the they were at Fuentes home
playing board games from 4:00 p.m. until 7:30 p.m.11 These testimonies in
no way establish that the appellant stayed at his residence during the time
of the commission of the crime. On the contrary, both Jut Cali and Trina
Monte categorically admitted during clarificatory questioning that they no
longer saw the appellant after they left him at his residence at 7:30 p.m. 12
Thus, their testimonies do not, in any way, support Fuentes alibi.

8 (People vs. Gerones, et aI., 96 Phil. 965; People vs. Baniaga, L-14905, Jan. 28, 1961; People vs. Aquino, L36468, Nov. 20, 1984.

9 TSN, (Harry Fuentes), p. 11, December 19, 2015.


10 Id., p. 13.
11 TSN, (Jut Cali), p. 14, December 19, 2015; TSN, (Trina Monte), p. 20, December 19, 2015.
12 Id., p. 17; Id., p. 22.
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From the foregoing, it is clear that appellant Fuentes defense of alibi is weak and merits
no consideration. Complainant positively identified the Fuentes, his presence at the scene of the
crime, the particularity with which she described the circumstances and details leading to her
rape, and even the presence of the appellant after such act. On the other hand, Fuentes
testimony, as corroborated with that of his friends, failed to satisfy that it was physically
impossible for him to have been at the scene of the crime.
Thus, the appellant, given his positive identification and presence in the scene of the
crime and his weak alibi, strongly militate against any finding of innocence on his part. The
general rule still stands; the defense of alibi is inherently weak, and in the case of appellant
Fuentes, was not established by positive, clear, and satisfactory evidence.

ii.
The findings of the medical examination were consistent with the charge
that the victim had been raped.

A.The court has held in numerous cases that a rape victims account is sufficient to support a
conviction for rape if it is straightforward, candid and corroborated by the medical
findings of the examining physician.13 As a piece of corroborative evidence, proof beyond
reasonable doubt as to its findings is not required. Rather, it is sufficient that such
evidence is consistent with the charge that the victim had been assaulted. 14
1.In the instant case, the findings of medico-legal officer Dr. Cordero is consistent with
the charge of rape, for he testified that the genital and extragenital conclusions
were consistent with recent loss of virginity.
B.

The absence of spermatozoa does not preclude that the crime had been committed, for
complete or full penetration of the complainants private part is not at all necessary, 15 and
the presence or absence of spermatozoa is immaterial because proof of such is not an
element of rape. Moreover, it has been held that the absence of spermatozoa in the vagina
could be due to a number of factors, such as the vertical drainage of the semen from the
vagina, the acidity of the vagina or the washing of the vagina immediately after sexual
intercourse. 16
1.That no spermatozoa was found in the vagina of the complainant is of no moment, for
its presence or absence is not an element of the crime, it being enough that the
findings of the medico-legal officer are consistent with the finding of penetration,
which is what obtains in the instant case.
iii.

13 People v. Corpuz, 517 Phil. 622, 637 (2006).


14 People vs. Guamos, G.R. No. 109662, February 21, 1995.
15 People v. Balunsat, G..R. No. 176743, 28 July 2010, 626 SCRA 77, 92 citing People v. Flores, 448 Phil. 840,
856 (2003).

16 People v. Perez, supra note 26 at 677 citing People v. Freta, 406 Phil. 854, 861 (2001).
8

The defense erroneously applied the rule on character evidence


under Rule 130, Section 51 of the Rules of Court.
A. According to Rule 130, Section 51 (a) of the Rules of Court, the accused may prove his good
moral character which is pertinent to the moral trait involved in the offense charged.
1. The defense asserts that there is sufficient proof of the good character and high
reputation of the accused since he is an altar boy and a good student who was
never been reprimanded or punished in school.
B. According to People v. Lee, character is defined as the possession by a person of certain
qualities of mind and morals,
distinguishing him from others. It is the opinion generally
entertained of a person derived from the common report of the people who are acquainted
with him; his reputation. Good moral character includes all the elements essential to make
up such a character; among these are common honesty and veracity, especially
in all
professional intercourse; a character that measures up as good among
people
of
the
community in which the person lives, or that is up to the standard of the average citizen; that
status which attaches to a man of good behavior and upright conduct. 17
C. Thus, when character evidence is used to prove the good moral character of the accused,
character would refer to the reputation that has attached to the person himself, which is
gathered from those acquainted with him. The character of the person himself does not
attach solely by reason of his status, rank, or occupation.
1. Consequently, general averments such as the accused was an altar boy and a good
student who has yet to be reprimanded cannot suffice to prove the good moral
character of the accused.
iv.
Motive is not indispensable to sustain the conviction of the accused;
the inconsistent statements of Mandante, hypothetically admitting the same
to be true, are deemed admitted.
A. The defense asserts that the testimony of Mandante was presented to impute ill motive on
the part of the accused, and since the testimonies of Mandante are inconsistent, the
witness is deemed to be not credible.
B. The alleged inconsistent statements made by Mandante, hypothetically
admitting it to
be true, are deemed admitted for failure of the defense to lay the predicate. Under Rule
132, Section 13 of the Rules of Court, before a witness can be impeached by evidence
that he has made at other times statements inconsistent with his present testimony, the
statements must be related to him, with the circumstance of the times and places and the
persons present, and he must be asked whether he made such statements, and if so,
allowed to explain them.

17 People v. Lee, 382 SCRA 596, May 29, 2002.

1. In the case of People v. Relucio, the Supreme Court has held that unless the
witness is given the opportunity to explain the discrepancies, the impeachment is
incomplete. 18
2. Even assuming without admitting that the witness was not credible, motive itself
is not indispensable to the conviction of the accused. Although the statements of
Mandante attributed ill motive to the accused in the lower court, the conviction of
the said court was sustained primarily on the grounds of weak alibi and the
strength of the victims testimony.
3. This is consistent with ruling of the Supreme Court in the case of People v.
Corpuz, which states that proof of motive is not
indispensable where guilt is
19
otherwise established by sufficient evidence.
4. Furthermore, it can be recalled that the victim has already positively identified the
accused in her affidavit. Motive is essential only when there is doubt as to the
identity of the assailant.20 It is immaterial when the accused has been positively
identified. 21

18 People v. Relucio, 86 SCRA 242, November 9, 1978.


19 People v. Corpuz, 107 Phil. 44, February 24, 1960.
20 People v. Mandapat, 196 SCRA 157, April 22,1991.
21 Id.
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PRAYER
WHEREFORE, premises considered, it is respectfully prayed of this Honorable Court
that the Decision of the Regional Trial Court dated April 10, 2016 be sustained.
Other reliefs just and equitable under the premises are likewise prayed for.
Makati City for City of Manila, May 25 2016.
OFFICE OF THE SOLICITOR GENERAL
OSG Building, 134 Amorsolo Street, Legazpi Village, Makati
By:
PAOLO GONZALES
Roll No. 987654
IBP No. 13579, Makati City, 01-05-15
PTR No. 13579, Makati City, 01-05-15
MCLE Compliance No. VI-0001244, 05-30-15
LESLIE ANN PO
Roll No. 989763
IBP No. 24680, Makati City, 01-05-15
PTR No. 24680, Makati City, 01-05-15
MCLE Compliance No. VI-0001246, 05-30-15
ERIKA GABRIELLE VALDEZ
Roll No. 234567
IBP No. 98723, Pasig City, 01-05-15
PTR No. 98723, Makati City, 01-05-15
MCLE Compliance No. IV-0001245, 05-30-15
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EXPLANATION ON MANNER OF FILING AND SERVICE


Filing and service of the foregoing Memorandum were done by registered mail due to distance
constraints and limited number of messengers in the undersigned counsels law firm, which make
personal filing and service impracticable.

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