Republic of the Philippines
G.R. No. 225600 | July 07, 2020
People of the Philippines, Plaintiff-appellee,
Denel Yumol y Timpug, Accused-appellant.
D E C I S I O N
This appeal assails the Decision dated July 31, 2015 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR-HC No. 05810 which affirmed with modification the trial court’s verdict of conviction against appellant Denel Yumol y Timpug for robbery with rape.
The Proceedings before the Trial Court
Appellant was charged with robbery with rape under the following Information, viz.:
That on or about the twenty-first (21st) day of October 2006, in the City of Olongapo, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, with intent to gain, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously poked a gun at said (AAA), a (16-year-old) minor, take, steal and carry the 3350 Nokia cellphone worth P3,550.00 Pesos, Philippine currency of (AAA), and on the occasion of said robbery did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously commit act of sexual assault on said (AAA) by then and there undressing her and inserting his penis into the (genitalia) of said minor (AAA) against her will and consent to the damage and prejudice of said minor.
CONTRARY TO LAW.
The case was raffled to the Regional Trial Court (RTC)-Olongapo City, Branch 73 and docketed as Criminal Case No. 589-2006.
On arraignment, appellant pleaded “not guilty.” Trial ensued. Complainant AAA, SPO1 Norberto Ventura, SPO3 Edgar Rivera, and Dr. Rolando Marfel Ortiz testified for the prosecution. On the other hand, appellant Denel Yumol y Timpug testified as lone witness for the defense.
Evidence for the Prosecution
AAA testified that on October 21, 2006, between 12 o’clock midnight and 1 o’clock in the morning, she and her schoolmate were heading home from a mini concert. They boarded a jeepney going to Gordon Heights, Olongapo City. Her classmate alighted first, then she got off at the next block.
As she was walking home, appellant suddenly approached her from behind, poked a gun at her back, and declared a hold-up. Appellant took her Nokia 3350 mobile phone. He then pointed a gun on her neck and ordered her to go to the nearby children’s park. Once there, appellant instructed her to sit on a stair. He started kissing her lips and touching her breast. She tried to push him away but he held her face toward his. Appellant then ordered her to go to the grassy portion of the park and undress. When she refused, appellant threatened to shoot her, thus, forcing her to accede to his demands. After she had undressed, appellant lay on the ground and ordered her to mount him. He inserted his penis into her vagina and forced her to move “up and down.” Thereafter, appellant instructed her to give him a fellatio while threatening her with a gun. He poked and pushed his gun against her head while his penis was inside her mouth. He then ordered her to mount him anew and move “up and down” again. While in that position, appellant was constantly inserting his finger into her vagina. She felt a harrowing pain in her vagina caused by appellant’s sexual assault.
After satisfying his lust, appellant told her to put on her clothes and walk toward the nearby school. He took the remaining fifty-peso bill and sim card from her clothing. When they reached the school, appellant told her to walk straight ahead and not to look back, otherwise, he will shoot her.
When she reached home, she immediately told her parents about the incident. Her parents reported the incident to the barangay officials and police authorities. The police officers accompanied her and her parents to the children’s park to search for appellant, but they did not find him there. Thereafter, she was brought to James L. Gordon Memorial Hospital for medical examination.
SPO1 Norberto Ventura testified that he was on duty at the Police Station 5, Olongapo City Police Office when Police Senior Inspector Camilo Pablo directed him to conduct a follow-up investigation regarding the incident. During her interview, AAA identified appellant from the pictures shown her.
He and SPO3 Edgar Rivera, together with AAA, proceeded to the crime scene and gathered some information from the residents, using AAA’s description of the assailant, e.g. fat, with semi-bald hair, and shorter left hand. A bystander, who believed that appellant matched the given description, told them of his whereabouts. Upon finding appellant, they showed him to AAA who immediately identified him as the person who assaulted her. AAA recognized appellant’s voice and the same pants he was wearing at the time of the assault. He and SPO3 Rivera noticed several abrasions on appellant’s body. They apprehended and brought appellant to the police station.
SPO3 Edgar Rivera corroborated SPO1 Ventura’s testimony. He testified that a senior officer dispatched them to conduct a follow-up operation on the robbery with rape incident involving AAA. A bystander informed them of the whereabouts of the person who fitted AAA’s description of her assailant, who turned out to be appellant. When they located the latter, AAA positively identified him as the perpetrator of the crime. They arrested and brought appellant to the police station.
Dr. Rolando Marfel Ortiz testified that he examined AAA and noted that she had several injuries on her arms, knees, and legs which indicated struggle. He also found lacerations in her hymen which could have been caused by a forceful entry. 
Evidence for the Defense
Appellant denied the charge. He averred that after being released from prison, he lived in his cousin’s house at No. 18 Ruano Street, Gordon Heights, Olongapo City. In the evening of October 20, 2006, around 11 o’clock or 12 midnight, he was at home watching movies. The house was far from where the incident happened. At first, he thought he was arrested for vagrancy when SPO3 Rivera spotted him along Ruano Street. He later learned at the police station that a crime transpired at Gordon Heights and he was pinpointed as the perpetrator by a woman whose face was covered. He had nothing to do with the charge against him.
The Trial Court’s Ruling
As borne by its Decision dated April 4, 2012, the trial court rendered a verdict of conviction, viz.:
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered, finding accused Denel Yumol y Timpug alias “Den-Den” GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of robbery with rape under Art. 294 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by Republic Act No. 7659 and is sentenced to suffer the penalty of Reclusion Perpetua without eligibility of (sic) parole pursuant to Republic Act No. 9346. He is also ordered to return the mobile phone and the money taken from xxxxxxxxxxx. Should restitution be no longer possible, he shall pay her the value of the stolen mobile phone (PhP3,550.00) and value in the amount of PhP50.00. He is further directed to pay her the amounts of PhP100,000.00 as civil indemnity, PhP 100,000.00 as moral damages and PhP 100,000.00 as exemplary damages.
It ruled that the elements of the crime of robbery with rape were duly established. The testimonies of the prosecution witnesses proved that appellant, with intent to gain, took the victim’s personal property by means of violence and intimidation and, on the occasion of the robbery, had carnal knowledge of the hapless victim with the use of force and intimidation.
The Proceedings before the Court of Appeals
On appeal, appellant faulted the trial court for finding him guilty of robbery with rape despite the prosecution’s alleged failure to prove his guilt beyond reasonable doubt. Appellant essentially argued that his identity was not properly established and AAA’s testimony is not credible. AAA could have been mistaken in identifying him as the perpetrator because she never had a clear view of the assailant’s facial features considering their relative positions and the lighting condition of the place where the crime transpired. The sound of his voice cannot be accepted as a means of identification considering that he and AAA had not known each other prior to the alleged incident. The police did not present a line-up of suspects to AAA from among whom she could choose or pinpoint her assailant. They simply presented him to AAA and asked her whether he was the one who robbed and raped her.
On the other hand, the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), through Acting Solicitor General Florin T. Hilbay, Assistant Solicitor General Ma. Cielo Se-Rondain, and Associate Solicitor Omar T. Gabrieles riposted that the prosecution proved appellant’s identity and guilt beyond reasonable doubt. AAA’s positive identification of appellant as the man who robbed and raped her prevails over appellant’s self-serving denial and alibi.
The Court of Appeals’ Ruling
In its assailed Decision dated July 31, 2015, the Court of Appeals affirmed with modification of the award of interest, viz.:
WHEREFORE, we DENY the appeal. The decision appealed from is AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION that an interest at the rate of six percent (6%) per annum is imposed on all damages awarded from date of finality of the judgment until full payment.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
The Court of Appeals agreed with the trial court that the elements of the crime of robbery with rape are present and appellant’s defense of denial and alibi must fail.
The Present Appeal
Appellant now seeks affirmative relief from the Court and prays anew for his acquittal. In compliance with Resolution dated September 14, 2016, both the OSG and appellant manifested that, in lieu of supplemental briefs, they were adopting their respective briefs filed before the Court of Appeals.
Did the Court of Appeals err in affirming appellant’s conviction for robbery with rape?
Robbery with rape is defined and penalized under Article 294 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC), as amended by Section 9 of Republic Act No. 7659(RA7659), viz.:
Art. 294. Robbery with violence against or intimidation of persons – Penalties. – Any person guilty of robbery with the use of violence against or intimidation of any person shall suffer:
1. The penalty of reclusion perpetua to death, when by reason or on occasion of the robbery, the crime of homicide shall have been committed, or when the robbery shall have been accompanied by rape or intentional mutilation or arson.
xxx xxx xxx
Robbery with Rape is a special complex crime that contemplates a situation where the accused’s original intent was to take, with intent to gain, personal property belonging to another and rape is committed on the occasion thereof or as an accompanying crime. It requires the following elements: (1) the taking of personal property is committed with violence or intimidation against persons; (2) the property taken belongs to another; (3) the taking is characterized by intent to gain or animus lucrandi; and (4) the robbery is accompanied by rape.
After a careful evaluation of the records, the Court finds no compelling reason to disturb the trial court’s findings, as affirmed by the appellate court. The prosecution was able to establish all the elements of the crime beyond any shadow of doubt.
Taking of personal property was
established through direct evidence
Records show that appellant, by means of violence and intimidation, took away AAA’s mobile phone, money amounting to P50.00 and sim card without the latter’s consent. AAA testified that appellant pointed a gun at her and took away her 3350 mobile phone. He then ordered her to go to the grassy area of a nearby children’s park where he forced and threatened her to have sexual intercourse with him and to give him a fellatio. Thereafter, he took her remaining money and sim card, ordered her to go to a nearby school and threatened to shoot her should she look back at him.
Intent to gain, or animus lucrandi, as an element of the crime of robbery, is an internal act, hence, presumed from the unlawful taking of things. Since it was established that appellant unlawfully took away AAA’s personal properties, intent to gain was deemed sufficiently proven, as well. The first three (3) elements of robbery with rape, therefore, were clearly established.
Rape was committed by reason or on
the occasion of a robbery
The prosecution had established beyond moral certainty that rape here was committed by reason or on the occasion of robbery. AAA positively identified appellant as the man who, with the use of force and intimidation, had carnal knowledge of her. She made a clear, candid and positive narration of how appellant pointed a gun on her neck, ordered her to mount him, inserted his penis inside her vagina, and directed her to make an “up and down” motion, give him fellatio, and once again, mount him and move “up and down,” while constantly threatening to shoot her should she resist.
AAA’s testimony solidly conforms with the physical evidence through the medical findings of Dr. Rolando Marfel Ortiz that AAA sustained several abrasions on her forearm, arms, and knees, as well as laceration or tear in her hymen, that could have been caused by a forceful entry of a foreign body such as a penis. The Court has consistently ruled that when a rape victim’s straightforward and truthful testimony conforms with the medical findings of the examining doctor, the same is sufficient to support a conviction for rape.
So must it be.
Appellant’s identity as the
perpetrator was established
Appellant, nonetheless, harps on the prosecution’s alleged failure to prove, with absolute certainty, his identity as the perpetrator because AAA never had a clear view of the assailant’s facial features considering their relative positions and the poor lighting condition of the crime scene. His identification was purportedly marked with suggestiveness since the police officers simply presented him to AAA and asked her whether he was the one who robbed and raped her, without presenting to her a line-up of suspects from among whom she could choose or pinpoint her assailant.
We do not agree.
The natural reaction of victims of criminal violence is to strive to see the appearance of their assailants and observe the manner the crime was committed. Precisely because of the unusual acts of violence committed right before their eyes, eyewitnesses and victims can remember with a high degree of reliability the identity of criminals at any given time.
There is ample evidence to establish appellant’s identity as the perpetrator of the crime. AAA vividly recounted the incident and positively identified appellant as the one who robbed and raped her. Although the situs criminis was allegedly poorly lit, she had several opportunities to look at and ascertain her assailant’s appearance and other physical features while the crime was being committed. For one, appellant held her face close to his when she tried to avoid his kiss. Another, when appellant was ordering her to remove her blouse, she was looking at him. Too, when appellant forced her to mount him twice and make an “up and down” motion, her position gave her a better look at appellant. Having seized these opportunities, AAA was able to confidently and consistently describe appellant as fat, with semi-bald hair, shorter left hand, and small penis. She also recognized his voice and remembered the white soiled short pants he was wearing during the incident.
AAA’s identification of appellant cannot be deemed unreliable or improper simply because there was no police line-up. For there is no law requiring a police line-up as essential to proper identification. Even without a police line-up, there could still be proper identification as long as the police did not suggest such identification to the witness. Of paramount importance in dispelling any doubts as to the proper identification of appellant is AAA’s positive identification of him in open court.
Indeed, AAA’s identification of appellant was proper, spontaneous and independent. Any indicia of suggestiveness is dispelled by the fact that AAA recognized appellant from a set of photos presented to her by the police and she had already given to the police officers a clear and accurate description of appellant even before the latter was arrested just a few hours right after the commission of the crime.
Both the trial court and the Court of Appeals found AAA’s testimony to be clear, straightforward, convincing, credible, and satisfactory. Notably, although AAA was not able to repel appellant’s violent and sexual acts out of fear for her life, she immediately reported her ordeal to her parents, the barangay officials and the police officers and promptly submitted herself to physical examination. Her swift and courageous actions against appellant are eloquent proofs that she was truly wronged and she wanted the wrongdoer to be punished accordingly. This further bolstered her credibility. Too, there was no showing that AAA was impelled by any improper motive to falsely testify against appellant.
Suffice it to state that the evaluation of the credibility of witnesses and their testimonies is a matter best undertaken by the trial court because of its unique opportunity to observe the witnesses firsthand and to note their demeanor, conduct, and attitude under grueling examination. Hence, the Court defers and accords finality to the factual findings of trial courts especially when such findings carry the full concurrence of the Court of Appeals, as in the case at bar.
Appellant’s defenses boil down to denial and alibi. These are the weakest of all defenses – – – easy to contrive but difficult to disprove. As between AAA’s credible and positive identification of appellant as the person who robbed and raped her against her will, on one hand, and appellant’s bare denial and alibi, on the other, the former indubitably prevails.
All told, the Court of Appeals did not err in affirming the trial court’s verdict of conviction. In accordance with Article 294 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by RA 7659, in relation to Republic Act No. 9346 (RA 9346), appellant shall suffer reclusion perpetua without eligibility for parole.
As for the monetary awards, the Court sustains the grant of P100,000.00 civil indemnity, moral damages, and exemplary damages or P100,000.00 each pursuant to People v. Jugueta These amounts shall earn interest of six (6) percent per annum from finality of judgment until fully paid.
WHEREFORE, the appeal is DENIED. The Decision of the Court of Appeals dated July 31, 2015 in CA-G.R. CR-HC No. 05810 is AFFIRMED. Appellant DENEL YUMOL y TIMPUG is found GUILTY of robbery with rape and sentenced to reclusion perpetua without eligibility for parole.
Appellant DENEL YUMOL y TIMPUG is ORDERED TO RETURN to AAA the amount of P50.00 and the mobile phone or its value (P3,550.00), where restitution is no longer possible. He is further DIRECTED TO PAY AAA the amounts of P100,00.00 as civil indemnity, P100,000.00 as moral damages, and P100,000.00 as exemplary damages. Interest at the rate of six percent (6%) per annum is imposed on all the damages awarded in this case from the date of the finality of this Decision until fully paid.
Peralta, C.J. (Chairperson), Caguioa, Reyes, Jr. and Lopez, JJ., concur.
Filed under Section 13(c), Rule 124 of the Rules of Court, as amended by A.M. No. 00-5-03-SC, rollo, pp. 14-16.
Penned by Associate Justice Apolinario D. Bruselas, Jr., and concurred in by Associate Justice Danton Q. Bueser and Associate Justice Myra V. Garcia-Fernandez, id. at 2-16.
Penned by Judge Norman V. Pamintuan of RTC-Olongapo City, Branch 73, Decision dated April 4, 2012, CA rollo, pp. 54-60.
Record, p. 1.
The real name of the victim, her personal circumstances and other information which tend to establish or compromise her identity, as well as those of her immediate family, or household members, shall not be disclosed to protect her privacy, and fictitious initial shall, instead, be used, in accordance with People v. Cabalquinto [533 Phil 703 (2006)] and Amended Administrative Circular No. 83-2015 dated September 5, 2017.
Id. at 21.
Rollo, pp. 3-4.
Id. at 4.
Id. at 4-5.
Id. at 5.
Id. at 5-6.
CA rollo, p. 57.
Rollo, p. 5.
Id. at 6.
Supra note 3.
Id. at 60.
Id. at 39-51.
Id. at 71-87.
Supra note 2.
Id. at 12.
Id. at 20-21.
Id. at 27-28, 22-24.
An Act to Impose the Death Penalty On Certain Heinous Crimes, Amending for That Purpose the Revised Penal Laws, as amended, Other Special Penal Laws, and for Other Purposes.
People v. Bringcula y Fernandez, 824 Phil. 585, 592 (2018).
People v. Bongos, 824 Phil. 1004, 1017 (2018).
People v. Caoili, 815 Phil. 839, 881 (2017).
People v. Pepino y Rueras, 111 Phil. 29, 54 (2016).
People v. Esoy y Hungoy, 631 Phil. 547, 556 (2010).
TSN, May 25, 2009, pp. 7 and 12.
Rollo, p. 8; TSN, May 25, 2009, pp. 12-14.
People v. Lubong, 388 Phil. 474, 483 (2000); People v. Bangcado, 399 Phil. 768, 775 (2000).
Heirs of Villanueva v. Heirs of Mendoza, 810 Phil. 172, 184 (2017).
Heirs of Spouses Liwagon, et al. v. Heirs of Spouses Liwagon, 748 Phil. 675, 689 (2014).
Etino v. People, 826 Phil. 32, 48 (2018); People v. Candellada, 713 Phil. 623, 637 (2013).
783 Phil. 806(2016).
People v. Belmonte y Sumagit, 813 Phil. 240, 251 (2017); People v. Samuya, 758 Phil. 584, 593 (2015).