Philippine Supreme Court Resolutions


Philippine Supreme Court Resolutions > Year 2011 > January 2011 Resolutions > [G.R. No. 185387 : January 10, 2011] THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, APPELLEE, VERSUS ULDARICO TEBAJARES, APPELLANT. :




THIRD DIVISION

[G.R. No. 185387 : January 10, 2011]

THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, APPELLEE, VERSUS ULDARICO TEBAJARES, APPELLANT.

Sirs/Mesdames:

Please take notice that the Court, Third Division, issued a Resolution dated 10 January 2011, which reads as follows;

G.R. No. 185387 - THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, appellee, versus ULDARICO TEBAJARES, appellant.

RESOLUTION 

This is an appeal from the Court of Appeals' May 28, 2008 Decision[1] affirming the conviction of appellant by the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 17, of Kidapawan City, Cotabato, for four counts of rape of AAA[2], who was only fourteen (14) years old at the time of the rapes.

The prosecution proved the following facts. AAA was the niece of appellant's live-in partner, BBB. Since AAA's parents were separated, she lived with her aunt BBB. The first incident occurred at around eight o'clock in the evening of November 9, 1999. Appellant entered AAA's room, approached her and laid on top of her. She tried to push him, but she was unable to move as appellant was holding her. After threatening her, appellant removed AAA's shorts and panty and inserted his penis into her vagina. After satisfying himself, appellant punched AAA and she lost consciousness. The second incident occurred on December 23, 1999 at around five o'clock in the afternoon when AAA and appellant were on their way home after harvesting corn. When they passed a creek, appellant pushed AAA down and laid on top of her. As AAA was unable to move, appellant removed her skirt and panty and inserted his penis into her vagina. The third rape happened after four days or on December 27, 1999. On that day, at around eleven to twelve o'clock noon, while they were harvesting peanuts, appellant pushed AAA down. Despite her pleas, appellant removed her shorts and panty and inserted his penis into her vagina. The fourth rape happened in the morning of January 15, 2000 when AAA and appellant were fishing. At the side of the river near a bamboo grove, appellant pushed AAA down and laid on top of her. Appellant removed her shorts and panty and successfully inserted his penis into her vagina.

In the face of the prosecution's evidence, appellant raised the defense of denial and alibi. Appellant claimed that AAA charged him with rape because someone was trying to separate him and BBB.

The RTC found that the prosecution was able to prove appellant's guilt beyond reasonable doubt and sentenced him to the penalty reclusion perpetua with its accessory penalties for each count of rape and ordered appellant to indemnify AAA the sum of P50,000.00. The Court of Appeals affirmed appellant's conviction but modified the award of damages, ordering appellant to pay AAA civil indemnity of P50,000.00 and moral damages of P50,000.00 for each count of rape.

Hence, this appeal.

We affirm the decision of the Court of Appeals as there is no showing that the Court of Appeals committed any errors in law and in its findings of fact. Well-settled is the rule that findings of facts and assessment of credibility of witnesses is a matter best left to the trial court because of its unique position of having observed the witnesses' deportment on the stand while testifying, which opportunity is denied to the appellate courts. For this reason, the trial court's findings are accorded finality, unless there appears in the record some fact or circumstance of weight which the lower court may have overlooked, misunderstood, or misappreciated and which, if properly considered, would alter the result of the case.[3] We find no such circumstance in this case so as to disturb the findings of the trial court. Other than his claim of denial, appellant failed to show how the prosecution failed to overcome the presumption of innocence. On the contrary, the RTC found that AAA's testimony was straightforward, logical, and credible.

WHEREFORE, the appeal is DENIED. The May 28, 2008 Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR-H.C. No. 00243 is AFFIRMED.

With costs against the accused-appellant.

SO ORDERED.

Very truly yours,

(Sgd.) LUCITA ABJELINA-SORIANO
  Clerk of Court

Endnotes:


[1] Rollo, pp. 4-26. Penned by Associate Justice Romulo V. Borja, with Associate Justices Mario V. Lopez and Elihu A. Yba´┐Żez, concurring.

[2] Pursuant to the Court's ruling in People v. Cabalquinto, G.R. No. 167693, September 19, 2006, 502 SCRA 419, and Section 44 of Republic Act No. 9262 otherwise known as the "Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children Act of 2004" the real names and personal circumstances of the victims as well as any other information tending to establish or compromise their identities or those of their immediate family or household members are withheld. Fictitious initials and appellations are used instead to represent them. 

[3] People v. Soriano, Sr., G.R. No. 178325, February 22, 2008, 546 SCRA 14, 520.




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