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The gravamen of Rape is sexual intercourse with a woman against her will.

AAA, her mother, her sister and her sister’s common-law husband, Mario Bagamano lived in the same house.  Around 5PM of May 1, 2006, when AAA’s mother and sister were not in the house, Mario, who was drunk, pulled AAA her into the house, ordered her to take off her clothiers, and proceeded to have sexual intercourse with her.  Later, AAA’s mother noticed her soiled appearance, making her suspect Mario had a hand in her dishevelled appearance.  AAA admitted that Mario raped her, prompting her relatives to bring her to the hospital for medical examination, which confirmed the allegation.

During trial, testimony was presented to show that AAA is mentally retarded; while her age is 20 years old, her mental age is only 7 years old.

The RTC convicted Mario as charged.  The CA denied his appeal, taking into consideration that AAA is a mental retardate, her positive testimony that Bagamano took advantage of her is credible and trustworthy and, thus, sufficient to convict him of the crime of rape.  In this relation, the CA noted AAA’s mental retardation in imposing the appropriate penalty on Bagamano, reclusion perpetua.

The Issue:

Whether or not Mario is guilty of rape.

The Ruling:

The appeal is bereft of merit.

At the outset, it must be stressed that in criminal cases, an appeal throws the entire case wide open for review and the reviewing tribunal can correct errors, though unassigned in the appealed judgment, or even reverse the trial court’s decision based on grounds other than those that the parties raised as errors. The appeal confers the appellate court full jurisdiction over the case and renders such court competent to examine records, revise the judgment appealed from, increase the penalty, and cite the proper provision of the penal law.⁠1 

As will be explained hereunder, the CA correctly upheld Bagamano’s conviction, but erred in taking into consideration AAA’s mental retardation.

Article 266-A (1) of the RPC reads as follows:

ART. 266-A. Rape, When and How Committed. – Rape is committed –

  1. By a man who shall have carnal knowledge of a woman under any of the following circumstances:

a. Through force, threat or intimidation;

b. When the offended party is deprived of reason or is otherwise unconscious;

c. By means of fraudulent machination or grave abuse of authority;

d. When the offended party is under twelve (12) years of age or is demented, even though none of the circumstances mentioned above be present.

x x x x

For a charge of Rape by sexual intercourse under Article 266-A (1) of the RPC to prosper, the prosecution must prove that: (a) the offender had carnal knowledge of a woman; and (b) he accomplished this act through force, threat or intimidation, when the victim was deprived of reason or otherwise unconscious, by means of fraudulent machination or grave abuse of authority, or when the victim is under 12 years of age or is demented.⁠2  The gravamen of Rape is sexual intercourse with a woman against her will.⁠3 

In this case, the Court agrees with the findings of both the RTC and the CA that the prosecution established, among others, that: (a) on May 1, 2006, AAA was in her neighbor’s house when Bagamano pulled her into their own house; (b) once inside, Bagamano covered her mouth then had carnal knowledge of her; (c) AAA confessed to her sister that Bagamano took advantage of her; and (d) a medical examination confirmed that AAA was indeed raped. Verily, the assessment and findings of the trial court are generally accorded great weight, and are conclusive and binding to the Court if not tainted with arbitrariness or oversight of some fact or circumstance of weight and influence,⁠4  as in this case.

However, the CA should not have taken into account AAA’s mental retardation. It must be stressed that in all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against him to ensure that his due process rights are observed. Thus, every indictment must embody the essential elements of the crime charged with reasonable particularity as to the name of the accused, the time and place of commission of the offense, and the circumstances thereof⁠5.  Hence, to consider matters not specifically alleged in the Information, even if proven in trial, would be tantamount to the deprivation of the accused’s right to be informed of the charge lodged against him.⁠6  In this case, suffice it to say that AAA’s mental retardation, while proven during trial, cannot be considered in view of the fact that it was not specifically alleged in the Information charging Bagamano of Rape.⁠7  Therefore, the CA incorrectly appreciated such circumstance in determining the means by which Bagamano committed the crime. The foregoing notwithstanding, in view of the fact that the prosecution duly established that Bagamano employed force and intimidation to accomplish his criminal desires and that this circumstance was properly alleged in the Information, his conviction for Rape is proper.

Finally, the RTC and the CA correctly sentenced Bagamano to reclusion perpetua⁠8.  However, the Court finds it necessary to modify the amount of exemplary damages awarded to AAA in order to conform with prevailing jurisprudence.⁠9  Hence, accused appellant is ordered to pay AAA the amount of P75,000.00 as exemplary damages. Meanwhile, the awards of P75,000.00 as civil indemnity and P75,000.00 as moral damages are affirmed. In addition, the Court imposes, on all monetary awards, interest at the legal rate of six percent (6%) per annum from the date of finality of this Decision until fully paid.⁠10 

WHEREFORE, the appeal is DENIED. The Decision dated October 22, 2015 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR-HC No. 01057-MIN, finding accused-appellant Mario Galia Bagamano GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Rape as defined and penalized under Article 266-A (1) of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, is hereby AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION sentencing him to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua and ordering him to pay AAA the amounts of P75,000.00 as civil indemnity, P75,000.00 as moral damages, and P75,000.00 as exemplary damages, with legal interest at the rate of six percent (6%) per annum on all the monetary awards from the date of finality of this Decision until fully paid.

SO ORDERED.

PERLAS-BERNABE, J.:

Sereno, C. J., (Chairperson), Leonardo-De Castro, Bersamin, and Caguioa, JJ., concur.

FIRST DIVISION, G.R. No. 222658, August 17, 2016, PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE, VS. MARIO GALIA BAGAMANO,  ACCUSED-APPELLANT.

 

1 See People v. Comboy, G.R. No. 218399, March 2, 2016, citing Manansala v. People, G.R. No. 215424, December 9, 2015.

2 See People v. Hilarion, 722 Phil. 52, 55 (2013).

3 See People v. Comboy, supra note 25, citing People v. Mateo, 588 Phil. 543, 554 (2008).

4 See People v. Arguta, G.R. No. 213216, April 20, 2015, 756 SCRA 376, 386, citing People v. Manalili, 716 Phil. 762, 772 (2013).

5 See Garcia v. CA, 420 Phil. 25, 34 (2001).

6 See People v. Arcillas, 692 Phil. 40, 52-53 (2012).

7 See rollo, p. 4. See also CA rollo, p. 47.

8 Item II (1) of A.M. No. 15-08-02-SC, entitled “Guidelines for the Proper Use of the Phrase ‘Without Eligibility for Parole’ in Indivisible Penaties,” dated August 4, 2015 provides:

II.

In these lights, the following guidelines shall be observed in the imposition of penalties and in the use of the phrase “without eligibility for parole“:

(1)

In cases where the death penalty is not warranted, there is no need to use the phrase “without eligibility for parole” to qualify the penalty of reclusion perpetua; it is understood that convicted persons penalized with an indivisible penalty are not eligible for parole; x x x

x x x x

9 See People v. Jugueta, G.R. No. 202124, April 5, 2016.

10 People v. Inciong, G.R. No. 213383, June 22, 2015, 760 SCRA 249, 258.

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