G.R. No. 208716, September 24, 2014
Accused-appellant Lumaho was charged with the crime of rape under Article 266-A in relation to Article 266-B of the Revised Penal Code. The RTC and the CA convicted him of the crime charged.
The victim, AAA, the 7-years-old, was staying in her grandfather’s house. When she decided to visit her father in his house, Lumaho brought her to a shanty and removed her shirt, pants, and panty. He then had carnal knowledge of AAA by inserting his penis into her vagina. The victim felt pain and cried after the wrongful deed of her father. Lumaho warned AAA not to tell anybody about the incident. However, the crime eventually came to the knowledge of BBB (distant grandmother), prompting BBB and AAA to go to the police station to report the crime. Afterward, AAA was brought to the hospital for medical examination.
Accused-appellant interpose alibi and denial as his defense. He further assails the credibility of the testimonies of AAA and BBB.
Is the accused-appellant guilty of the crime of qualified rape?
YES, the prosecution established all the elements to constitute qualified rape. Rape is qualified if the victim is under eighteen (18) years of age and the offender is a parent, ascendant, step-parent, guardian, relative by consanguinity or affinity within the third civil degree, or the common-law spouse of the parent of the victim.
In open court, AAA positively identified her father Lumaho as the person who had carnal knowledge of her in his shanty. She narrated that when she visited her father, he brought her to a shanty and while inside, he removed all her pieces of clothing, from her shirt up to her panty. He then successfully had a carnal knowledge of her by inserting his penis into her vagina. Without any other recourse, AAA did nothing but cry. Before she left, Lumaho threatened her to keep silent about what happened.
Anent the credibility of the witnesses, a rape victim’s account is sufficient to support a conviction for rape if it is straightforward, candid and corroborated by the medical findings of the examining physician, as in the present case. While the Court noticed that some of AAA’s responses were elicited from leading questions, we find no fault on the part of the trial court in accepting the testimony of AAA as credible evidence. It must be emphasized that the liberality, in this case, is acceptable in order to serve the ends of justice. The liberality of the trial court is not equated to diminished credibility. In straightforward, positive narration, she was able to convey, despite her tender age, the essential details to convict the accused.
Alibi cannot prevail over the positive and categorical testimony and identification of the complainant. Hence, the guilt of the accused-appellant on the crime of qualified rape is proven beyond reasonable doubt.