People v. Court of Appeals
People of the Philippines and AAA v. Court of Appeals 21st Division, Mindanao Station, Raymund Carampatana, Jeofhel Oporto, and Moises Alquizola
G.R. No. 183652, February 25, 2015
Accused-appellants Carampatana, Oporto and Alquizola were charged with the crime of rape of a 16-year old girl. The RTC convicted Carampatana and Oporto guilty as principals and Alquizola as an accomplice while the CA acquitted them of the crime charged, hence, this present appeal.
After attending a graduation dinner party, AAA, together with her friends, went to Alson’s Palace for a drinking session to celebrate their graduation. During such session, they shared their problems with each other. AAA became emotional and started crying, prompting her to take her first shot of Emperador Brandy. After consuming more or less five glasses of drinks, she felt dizzy so she laid her head down on Oporto’s lap. Oporto then started kissing her head and they would remove her baseball cap. This angered her so she told them to stop, and simply tried to hide her face with the cap. The group just laughed at her and still made her drink more. She fell asleep but was woken up so that she could drink the remaining liquor inside the Brandy bottle. She refused but they insisted so she drank. Again, AAA fell asleep.
When she regained consciousness, she saw that she was already at the Alquizola Lodging House. She recognized that place because she had been there before. She would thereafter fall back asleep and wake up again. And during one of the times that she was conscious, she saw Oporto on top of her, kissing her on different parts of her body, and having intercourse with her. At one point, AAA woke up while Carampatana was inserting his penis into her private organ. Alquizola then joined and started to kiss her. For the last time, she fell unconscious.
Private respondents aver that a judgment of acquittal is immediately final and executory and that the prosecution cannot appeal the acquittal because of the constitutional prohibition against double jeopardy.
Did the Court of Appeals act with grave abuse of discretion in acquitting the private respondents?
YES, the Court of Appeals erred in acquitting private respondents. As a general rule, the prosecution cannot appeal or bring error proceedings from a judgment rendered in favor of the defendant in a criminal case. If there is grave abuse of discretion, however, granting petitioner’s prayer is not tantamount to putting private respondents in double jeopardy.
The petitioner has sufficiently discharged the burden of proving that the respondent appellate court committed grave abuse of discretion in acquitting private respondents. It appears that in reaching its judgment, the CA merely relied on the evidence presented by the defense and utterly disregarded that of the prosecution. A more careful perusal will reveal that it was simply lifted, if not altogether parroted, from the testimonies of the accused, especially that of Oporto, Carampatana, and Alquizola. It presented the private respondents’ account and allegations as though these were the established facts of the case, which it later conveniently utilized to support its ruling of acquittal.
The elements of rape are: (1) the offender had carnal knowledge of the victim; and (2) such act was accomplished through force or intimidation; or when the victim is deprived of reason or otherwise unconscious; or when the victim is under twelve years of age. Here, the accused intentionally made AAA consume hard liquor more than she could handle. They still forced her to drink even when she was already obviously inebriated. They never denied having sexual intercourse with AAA, but the latter was clearly deprived of reason or unconscious at the time the private respondents ravished her.
Moreover, Alquizola should not only be deemed as an accomplice but a principal as well by virtue of conspiracy. As the caretaker of the Alquizola Lodging House, he provided a room so the rape could be accomplished with ease and furtiveness. He was likewise inside the room, intently watching, while Oporto and Carampatana sexually abused AAA and did not do anything to stop the bestial acts of his companions. He even admitted to kissing AAA’s lips, breasts, and other parts of her body. Indubitably, there was a conspiracy among Carampatana, Oporto, and Alquizola to sexually abuse AAA. Hence, the act of any one was the act of all, and each of them, Alquizola including, is equally guilty of the crime of rape.