Philippine Supreme Court Resolutions


Philippine Supreme Court Resolutions > Year 2008 > March 2008 Resolutions > [G.R. No. 173799 : March 05, 2008] PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES V. JOSE NONITO PANGILINAN :




SECOND DIVISION

[G.R. No. 173799 : March 05, 2008]

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES V. JOSE NONITO PANGILINAN

Sirs/Mesdames:

Quoted hereunder, for your information, is a resolution of this Court dated 05 March 2008:

G.R. No. 173799 (People of the Philippines v. Jose Nonito Pangilinan)

This appeal seeks the reversal of the Decision dated May 19, 2006[1] of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CR-H.C. No. 00738. The fallo reads:
WHEREFORE, the appeal is DISMISSED. The appealed Decision dated My 11, 2002 of the RTC, Branch 36, Gapan, Nueva Ecija, in Criminal Case No. 4563, finding accused-appellant Jose Nonito Pangilinan GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of rape and sentencing him to reclusion perpetna, is AFFIRMED.

SO ORDERED.
The facts are as follows:

On September 9, 1996, AAA[2] filed a criminal complaint for rape against accused-appellant Jose Nonito Pangilinan. It reads:
That on or about the 25th day of February 1996 at Brgy. Sto. Cristo North, Municipality of Gapan, Province of Nueva Ecija, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of the [Regional Trial Court], [accused-appellant] with lewd designs, by means of force, and intimidation, did then and there, wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously by poking a bladed instrument, have carnal knowledge upon herein complainant, a girl of 14 years of age, against her will and without her consent, to her damage and prejudice.[3]
Upon arraignment, accused-appellant pleaded not guilty, and trial on the merits ensued thereafter.

According to the prosecution, AAA, then 14 years old, was staying with her cousin, Milagros Pangilinan, accused-appellant's wife, and accused-appellant at their house in Gapan, Nueva Ecija, while working as the babysitter for the couple's children.

At around 8:30 p.m. on February 25, 1996, AAA was with accused-appellant and the latter's child at accused-appellant's house while Milagros was on duty as a midwife at the Gapan Emergency Hospital. AAA went to sleep after watching television but woke up about 30 minutes later because she felt that someone was sleeping beside her. She recognized the person as accused-appellant. She tried to stand up and leave but accused-appellant yanked her arm and forced her back to the bed. He pointed a kitchen knife at AAA's neck and told her not to shout. He then removed AAA's clothes and underwear, laid on top of her, and inserted his penis into her vagina. AAA testified that she felt pain and was too weak to offer resistance.

After satisfying his lust, accused-appellant stood and dressed. He got a pen and a piece of paper, and coerced AAA to write him a love letter. She reluctantly wrote the words dictated to her by him while he kept hitting her and pulling her hair. After her ordeal, accused-appellant went out of the house to fetch his wife, Milagros, whose shift at the hospital was about to end. Before leaving, he locked the doors and windows of the house to prevent AAA from leaving.

Accused-appellant and Milagros arrived at around 11:00 p.m. and Milagros noticed that AAA was crying. Milagros tried to ask AAA what was wrong but the latter did not answer. Milagros then called AAA's aunt, who also asked the same question but also got no answer. AAA testified that she said nothing because she feared accused-appellant.

At around 5:00 a.m. the next morning, AAA managed to surreptitiously leave accused-appellant's house. She proceeded to her mother's house, went to bed while covered with a blanket, and cried.

Despite repeated questions, AAA's mother could not elicit any information as to why AAA was crying constantly. Several days later, AAA began acting strangely and seemed always out of her mind.

After the incident, accused-appellant started frequenting AAA's house and told AAA's mother that AAA saw a "white lady" a kind of ghost. He suggested that AAA see an albularyo (faith healer or quack doctor), to which AAA's mother agreed. The CA carefully noted that accused-appellant frequently visited AAA and tried to see her. However, AAA would often try to hide from him. During the times when AAA could not hide, which happened whenever AAA's parents were not around, accused-appellant would cast dagger looks in her direction and reiterate his threat to kill her if she would tell anyone about the rape.

Despite seeing an albularyo, AAA's condition did not improve. AAA then saw doctors who recommended, after due examination, that an ultrasound examination be conducted. After the procedure, it was determined that AAA was pregnant, and a certification to that effect was issued forthwith.[4].

Accused-appellant did not deny having sexual intercourse with AAA. However, by way of exculpation, he claims that his relationship with AAA was consensual and that they were lovers. He also claimed that the sexual intercourse that happened between him and AAA was mutually agreed upon. He further testified that he and AAA became sweethearts on July 31, 1995, and proof of their relationship is a love letter which AAA allegedly gave him sometime in June 1996 before AAA discovered she was pregnant.

According to accused-appellant, on February 11, 1996, while at his residence, he and AAA had sexual intercourse on a papag (bamboo bed). He claimed that the intercourse was mutual and that afterwards they exchanged loving words. As regards the love letter, he stated that he was not present when the said letter was written and that he did not dictate the terms. He came to know of the complaint for rape only when the police arrested him on September 24, 1996.

On July 11, 2002, the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 36 in Gapan, Nueva Ecija rendered a Decision,[5] finding accused-appellant guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of rape. The fallo reads:
WHEREFORE, having been found guilty of Rape, as charged, beyond reasonable doubt, accused Jose Nonito Pangilinan is sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua, and to indemnify AAA the sum of P50,000.00. The said accused is further condemned to pay AAA another P50,000.00 in moral damages.

SO ORDERED.
On May 19, 2006, the CA affirmed the RTC Decision without any modification. Consequently, this matter was elevated to this Court for review.

On October 4, 2006, this Court issued a resolution accepting the appeal and requiring the parties to file their respective briefs if they so desired. The Office of the Solicitor General subsequently filed a manifestation, stating that the State was dispensing with the filing of supplemental brief in this case.

On December 19, 2006, accused-appellant filed a supplemental brief, arguing that rape could not have been committed considering the conduct of AAA after the rape, as follows: (1) AAA allegedly continued to live with accused-appellant after the rape; (2) she was allegedly accompanied by, inter alia, accused-appellant when she consulted an albularyo; and (3) she allegedly wrote a love letter to accused-appellant.

The foregoing arguments are distilled into a single core issue, that is, whether or not the CA erred in finding the accused guilty of rape.


Considering the allegations, issues, and arguments adduced in the appeal, the Court ADOPTS the findings of fact and conclusions of law in the Decision dated May 19, 2006 of the CA in CA-G.R. CR-H.C. No. 00738, finding accused-appellant guilty of rape.

As regards the award of damages, the appellate court's ruling should be modified to include exemplary damages, in order to protect young children from molestation and abuse by perverse elders. Thus, the award of exemplary damages in the amount of PhP 25,000 is proper.

WHEREFORE, the instant appeal is DISMISSED. The Decision dated May 19, 2006 of the CA and the Decision dated July 11, 2002 of the RTC are AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION. The dispositive portion of the RTC Decision is modified to read, as follows:
WHEREFORE, having been found guilty of Rape, as charged, beyond reasonable doubt, accused Jose Nonito Pangilinan is sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua, and to indemnify AAA the sum of PhP 50,000. The said accused is further condemned to pay AAA PhP 50,000 as moral damages, and PhP 25,000 as exemplary damages.
SO ORDERED.


Very truly yours,

(Sgd.) LUDICHI YASYA-NUNAG
Clerk of Court

Endnotes:


[1] Rollo, pp. 3-14. Penned by Associate Justice Hakim S. Abdulwahid and concurred in by Associate Justices Remedies A. Salazar-Fernando (Chairperson) and Sesinando E. Villon.

[2] In accordance with Republic Act No. 9262, otherwise known as the Anti-Violence against Women and Their Children Act of 2004, and its implementing rules, the real name of the victim is withheld; instead, a fictitious initial is used to represent her to protect her privacy. See People v. Cabalquinto, G.R. No. 167693, September 19, 2006, 502 SCRA 419.

[3]Rollo,p. 3.

[4] Id. at 137-138.

[5] CA rollo, pp. 24-36. Penned by Judge Arturo M. Bernardo.

[6] People v. Mantis, G.R. Nos. 150613-14, June 29, 2004, 433 SCRA 236, 250.



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