G.R. No. 183563, December 14, 2011
Accused-appellant Arpon was charged with one count of statutory rape and seven counts of rape. The RTC and CA convicted accused-appellants of all counts of rape charged.
Records show that the first count of rape against private complainant AAA was committed by accused-appellant in the house of the former when she was still eight years old (1995). In July 1999, she was again raped by accused-appellant for five times on different nights. She avers that accused-appellant was then drinking alcohol with BBB, the stepfather of AAA, in the house of AAAs neighbor. He came to AAA’s house, took off her panty and went on top of her. When asked again how the accused-appellant raped her for five nights in July of the said year, AAA narrated that accused-appellant pulled down her panty, went on top of her and pumped. She felt pain as he put his penis into her vagina. Every time she urinated, thereafter, she felt pain.
AAA further related that the accused-appellant raped her again twice in August 1999 at nighttime. He kissed her and then he took off his shirt, went on top of her and pumped. She felt pain in her vagina and in her chest because he was heavy. She related that the accused-appellant was her uncle as he was the brother of her mother. AAA said that she did not tell anybody about the rapes because the accused-appellant threatened to kill her mother if she did. She only filed a complaint when he proceeded to also rape her younger sister, DDD
Accused-appellant interpose alibi and denial as his defense. He further assails the credibility of AAA for having inconsistencies in her testimony.
Is the accused-appellant guilty of all counts of rape charged against him?
NO, the testimony of AAA was only able to establish three instances when the accused-appellant had carnal knowledge of her.
The first incident of rape was alleged to have occurred in 1995 when AAA was only eight years old. Article 266-A (1)(d) spells out the definition of the crime of statutory rape, the elements of which are: (1) that the offender had carnal knowledge of a woman; and (2) that such a woman is under twelve (12) years of age or is demented. Contrary to the posturing of the accused-appellant, the date of the commission of the rape is not an essential element of the crime of rape, for the gravamen of the offense is carnal knowledge of a woman. Inconsistencies and discrepancies in details which are irrelevant to the elements of the crime are not grounds for acquittal. As regards the first incident of rape, the RTC credited with veracity the substance of AAA’s testimony and the Court sees no cogent reason to disturb the finding of the RTC.
Anent the five incidents of rape that were alleged to have been committed in July 1999, the Court disagrees with the ruling of the trial court that all five counts were proven with moral certainty. AAA’s testimony merely described a single incident of rape. She made no reference whatsoever to the other four instances of rape that were likewise supposedly committed in the month of July 1999. The same is also true for the two (2) counts of rape allegedly committed in August 1999.
Accused-appellants defense of alibi cannot stand. Hence, accused-appellant is proven to have committed three counts of rape against AAA. He is, however, exempted from criminal liability for the first count of rape (statutory) on account of him being a minor when he committed the crime. As such, he is only guilty beyond reasonable doubt of two counts of qualified rape with his relationship as an uncle to the victim as a qualifying circumstance.