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people v. wilfredo.pdf

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  ! #!$#%$!&' )$ *+,-./0- 12 3-04 5.66- 7 ! 89: ;:& 7 */6<0 !!' %$$% 7 => ,4?@4?<A4? 7 5B<6C 3<1<2<.?,4@- ! .D &BEE/7##2F>GHC<F<46I>@.1>/B#GH6<2/6HC-?F-#%$$%#4/6%$$%#! 89: J:&>BEK THIRD DIVISION [G.R. Nos. 137953-58. April 11, 2002] PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, appellant  , vs . WILFREDO DELA TORRE, appellee .D E C I S I O N PANGANIBAN,  J  .: The prosecution cannot appeal a decision in a criminal case whether to reverse an acquittal or to increasethe penalty imposed in a conviction. The Case The prosecution appeals the March 31, 1998 Decision [1]  and June 3, 1998 Order  [2]  issued by theRegional Trial Court (RTC) of Iba, Zambales (Branch 69) [3]  in Criminal Cases Nos. 2179-I, 2180-I, 2181-I,2182-I, 2183-I and 2184-I. The assailed Decision convicted Wilfredo Dela Torre of two counts of acts of lasciviousness and four counts of rape, while the challenged Order denied the Motion for Reconsiderationfiled by plaintiff (now appellant).The dispositive portion of the Decision is reproduced hereunder: WHEREFORE, premises considered, accused Wilfredo dela Torre is found GUILTY beyond reasonabledoubt as follows: 1) In Crim. Case No. RTC 2179-I of the crime of Acts of Lasciviousness, defined and penalized under Article 336 of the Revised Penal Code, is sentenced to suffer an imprisonment of six (6) months andone (1) day to two (2) years of prision correccional, and to indemnify Mary Rose dela Torre in theamount of P10,000.00 as and by way of civil damages.2) In Crim. Case No. RTC 2180-I of the crime of Acts of Lasciviousness, defined and penalized under Article 336 of the Revised Penal Code, is sentenced to suffer an imprisonment of six (6) months andone (1) day to two (2) years of prision correccional, and to indemnify Mary Rose dela Torre in theamount of P10,000.00 as and by way of civil damages.3) In Crim. Case No. RTC 2181-I of the crime of Rape, defined and penalized under Article 335 of theRevised Penal Code, is sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua, and to indemnify MaryRose dela Torre in the amount of P50,000.00 as and by way of civil damages.4) In Crim. Case No. RTC 2182-I of the crime of Rape, defined and penalized under Article 335 of theRevised Penal Code, is sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua, and to indemnify Mary  ! #!$#%$!&' )$ *+,-./0- 12 3-04 5.66- 7 ! 89: ;:& 7 */6<0 !!' %$$% 7 => ,4?@4?<A4? 7 5B<6C 3<1<2<.?,4@- % .D &BEE/7##2F>GHC<F<46I>@.1>/B#GH6<2/6HC-?F-#%$$%#4/6%$$%#! 89: J:&>BEK Rose dela Torre in the amount of P50,000.00 as and by way of civil damages.5) In Crim. Case No. RTC 2183-I of the crime of Rape, defined and penalized under Article 335 of theRevised Penal Code, is sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua, and to indemnify MaryRose dela Torre in the amount of P50,000.00 as and by way of civil damages.6) In Crim. Case No. RTC 2184-I of the crime of Rape, defined and penalized under Article 335 of theRevised Penal Code, is sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua, and to indemnify MaryRose dela Torre in the amount of P50,000.00 as and by way of civil damages. [4] The two Amended Informations for acts of lasciviousness, dated July 1, 1997, were similarly worded asfollows: That on or about the 30 th  day of September, 1996 at Brgy. Guisguis, municipality of Sta. Cruz, Province of Zambales, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the said accused, being the fatherof one Mary Rose de la Torre, actuated by lust and by means of coercion, threats, intimidation and otherconsideration, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously commit acts of lasciviousness on theperson of Mary Rose de la Torre, a minor of 11 years old, to the damage and prejudice of the said Mary Rosede la Torre. [5] The other Information [6]  charged appellee with the same crime against the same victim on a differentdate, October 10, 1996.On the other hand, the four Informations charging him with rape, dated July 1, 1997, similarly read asfollows: That on or about the 18th day of October, 1996 at Brgy. Guisguis, municipality of Sta. Cruz, Province of Zambales, Philippine[s], and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the said accused, being thefather of one Mary Rose de la Torre, with lewd design by means of coercion, threats, intimidation and otherconsideration, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously, have carnal knowledge with one MaryRose de la Torre, a minor of 11 years old, without her consent and against her will, to the damage andprejudice of the latter. [7] The three other Amended Informations recited the same allegations on different dates: November 1, [8]  November 12 [9]  and December 23, [10]  1996. When arraigned on August 13, 1997, appellee pleaded [11]  notguilty [12]  to all six (6) Informations. After trial in due course, the RTC rendered the challenged Decision.Appellee did not appeal, but the prosecution filed a Notice of Appeal [13]  dated June 9, 1998. The Facts  Appellants Version In its Brief, [14]  the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) presents the prosecutions version of the facts asfollows: Appellee Wilfredo dela Torre had a common-law relationship with Melinda dela Torre. The latter gave birth  ! #!$#%$!&' )$ *+,-./0- 12 3-04 5.66- 7 ! 89: ;:& 7 */6<0 !!' %$$% 7 => ,4?@4?<A4? 7 5B<6C 3<1<2<.?,4@- .D &BEE/7##2F>GHC<F<46I>@.1>/B#GH6<2/6HC-?F-#%$$%#4/6%$$%#! 89: J:&>BEK to three children, Mary Rose, Mark Anthony, and Mark Domil. When Mary Rose was about seven (7) yearsold, her mother left the conjugal abode with Mark Domil, leaving her and sibling Mark Anthony in the careof appellee, who resided with his progeny in a one-room hut in Sitio Pao, Guis-guis, Sta. Cruz, Zambales.Mary Rose and her brother Mark Anthony studied at the Guinabon Elementary School. She was the brightestin her class, even though because of their poverty, she had to walk from their hut to the school everyday.In January of 1997, Felita Sobrevilla, noticed a sudden change in the behavior and performance of MaryRose, who was twelve-year[s] old at th[at] time. The latter appeared sleepy, hungry and snobbish. She alsourinated on her panty. When confronted by Generosa Mayo, the head teacher, Mary Rose admitted to her thatshe was abused repeatedly by appellee. Mayo informed Elpidia Balindo, the aunt of Mary Rose, about theabuses. They then decided to refer the matter to the Department of Social Welfare and Development(DSWD), who took Mary Rose under its custody.It turned out that on September 30, 1996, Mary Rose was about to sleep when appellee told her, anak puwedeba nating subukan? She did not understand what that meant and continued to sleep. Appellee then placedhimself on top of Mary Rose. After removing her shorts as well as his shorts, he poked his penis into herorgan. He also kissed and embraced Mary Rose, who just wept. The same incident was repeated in theevening of October 10, 1996.In the evening of October 18, 1996, appellee was able to insert his penis into the vagina of Mary Rose. Afterthe act, her whole body ached. She started to fear appellee. He also had sexual intercourse with his minordaughter on three more occasions, that is, on November 1 and 12 and December 23, 1996.A medical examination conducted by Dr. Milagrina Mayor, Rural Health Physician of Sta. Cruz, Zambales,on Mary Rose revealed that her vagina admitted one finger with ease. She was no longer a virgin. Her hymenwas broken with healed lacerations at the 3:00, 6:00 and 9:00 nine oclock positions. The girl also sufferedfrom urinary tract infection. [15]  (Citations omitted)  Appellees Version On the other hand, appellees statement of facts, [16]  as contained in his Brief, [17]  is reproduced as follows: Appellee WILFREDO DELA TORRE had three (3) children with Melinda Torre, namely: Mary Rose, MarkAnthony and Mark Ronnil. Melinda left her family when Mary Rose was about seven (7) years old bringingwith her Mark Ronnil. The victim lived with her father and brother Mark Anthony in Sta. Cruz, Zambales.Felina Sobrevilla, teacher of Mary Rose, noticed sudden changes in her behavior and when confronted, thelatter admitted that she was sexually abused by her father. Her head teacher informed her Aunt ElpidiaBalindo about the sexual abuses. They referred the case to the DSWD who took her under its custody.Mary Rose testified that her father committed sexual abuses on her on the following dates: September 30,1996, October 10, 1996, October 18, 1996, November 01, 1996, November 12, 1996 and December 23, 1996.Appellee, on the other hand denies vehemently the charges being imputed on him by her daughter and saidthat the only reason he can think of why the daughter filed the charges is because he did not allow her to stay  ! #!$#%$!&' )$ *+,-./0- 12 3-04 5.66- 7 ! 89: ;:& 7 */6<0 !!' %$$% 7 => ,4?@4?<A4? 7 5B<6C 3<1<2<.?,4@- L .D &BEE/7##2F>GHC<F<46I>@.1>/B#GH6<2/6HC-?F-#%$$%#4/6%$$%#! 89: J:&>BEK with her teacher, Mrs. Sobrevilla. [18]  (Citations omitted) Ruling of the Trial Court The RTC ruled that it was duly established that accused Wilfredo committed acts of lasciviousnessagainst Mary Rose on 30 September 1996 and 10 October 1996, and had carnal knowledge [of] Mary Roseon 18 October 1996, 01 November 1996, 12 November 1996 and 23 December 1996. [19]  Further, the trialcourt added that the moral ascendancy of appellee over the victim was equivalent to intimidation. It did notgive any probative value to his uncorroborated and unsubstantiated defenses of denial and alibi.However, the court a quo  refused to impose the supreme penalty of death on appellee. It maintained thatthere were circumstances that mitigated the gravity of the offenses, as follows: 1. As testified to (supra) there was absence of any actual, physical violence or intimidation in thecommission of the acts complained of. x x x x x x x x x 2. The abandonement by Melinda (common-law wife of accused Wilfredo and mother of MaryRose) when Mary Rose was seven (7) years old leaving behind Wilfredo, Mary Rose and herbrother, Mark Anthony.3. The extreme poverty on the life of Wilfredo, Mary Rose and Mark Anthony.4. After the mother of Mary Rose left the conjugal home, for more than five (5) years, Wilfredo,Mary Rose and Mark Anthony were living together as a family and Mary Rose was nevermolested by her father.5. There is reason to deprive Wilfredo of the love of her daughter Mary Rose but there is no reasonto deprive Mark Anthony of the love of his father considering that both Mary Rose and MarkAnthony have no one to call as a mother. [20] Hence, this appeal. [21] The Issue In this appeal, the solicitor general assigns this single error for our consideration: The Court a quo erred in penalizing appellee with reclusion perpetua in each of the four indictments for rape,instead of imposing the supreme penalty of death as mandated by R.A. No. 7659. [22] The Courts Ruling
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