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PEOPLE v. EDGARDO DIMAANO

This case has been cited 30 times or more.

2013-01-08
BERSAMIN, J.
Although the accused would discredit AAA by harping on her failure to immediately report the rape and to denounce him sooner to the proper authorities, the Court cannot but reject his attempt to discredit AAA's accusation. The attempt would rest on drawing an inference of estoppel against AAA, in that AAA would have denounced him sooner if he had truly ravished her. However, the inference of estoppel could be properly drawn against AAA only if the trial records did not plausibly explain the cause of delay.  We find that his frequent acts of domestic violence against even the young members of his family caused AAA and her mother to fear him.  He justified his violent tendencies by describing himself as a strict disciplinarian at home. His justification was implausible, however, considering that his having been once charged with child abuse in which the victim had been one of his own sons confirmed that his chastisement had exceeded the tolerable limits of parental discipline. Moreover, AAA knew that he had kept a gun at home.This, coupled by his children's undue fear of him, cowed AAA into silence about her great sufferings for a long period of time, and explained why she came out into the open to denounce him only on June 9, 1999. By then, his unabated lecherousness towards AAA had become unbearable. Under the circumstances, the delay in reporting him to the proper authorities is not a factor in determining the credibility of the charge against him of his own daughter.[45] To a child of very tender years like AAA, the threats of actual physical harm would definitely instill a fear overwhelming enough to force her to suffer her ordeals in silence for a period of time.
2012-09-19
REYES, J.
This Court concurs with the lower courts' refusal to give credence to Juanito's allegation of ill-motive.  This Court finds such defenses tenuous, shallow, specious and downright incredulous.  Not a few offenders in rape cases attributed the charges brought against them to family feuds, resentment or revenge, but such alleged motives cannot prevail over the positive and credible testimonies of complainants who remained steadfast throughout the trial.[23]  The purported family feud is too flimsy a reason for an aunt to force her niece to accuse Juanito with serious crimes, publicly disclose that she was raped, and subject her to trauma, humiliation and anxiety concomitant to a rape trial in order to exact revenge.  The revelation of an innocent child whose chastity has been abused deserves full credit, as her willingness to undergo the trouble and the humiliation of a public trial is an eloquent testament to the truth of her complaint.  In so testifying, she could only have been impelled to tell the truth, especially in the absence of proof of ill motive.[24]
2012-01-18
BERSAMIN, J.
It cannot be otherwise, for, indeed, the real nature of the criminal charge is determined not from the caption or preamble of the information, or from the specification of the provision of law alleged to have been violated, which are mere conclusions of law, but by the actual recital of the facts in the complaint or information.[28] In People v. Dimaano,[29] the Court elaborated: For complaint or information to be sufficient, it must state the name of the accused; the designation of the offense given by the statute; the acts or omissions complained of as constituting the offense; the name of the offended party; the approximate time of the commission of the offense, and the place wherein the offense was committed. What is controlling is not the title of the complaint, nor the designation of the offense charged or the particular law or part thereof allegedly violated, these being mere conclusions of law made by the prosecutor, but the description of the crime charged and the particular facts therein recited. The acts or omissions complained of must be alleged in such form as is sufficient to enable a person of common understanding to know what offense is intended to be charged, and enable the court to pronounce proper judgment. No information for a crime will be sufficient if it does not accurately and clearly allege the elements of the crime charged. Every element of the offense must be stated in the information. What facts and circumstances are necessary to be included therein must be determined by reference to the definitions and essentials of the specified crimes. The requirement of alleging the elements of a crime in the information is to inform the accused of the nature of the accusation against him so as to enable him to suitably prepare his defense. The presumption is that the accused has no independent knowledge of the facts that constitute the offense. [emphasis supplied]
2011-09-12
VELASCO JR., J.
Rape is no longer considered a personal criminal offense listed as among the crimes against chastity defined and punishable under Title 11 of the RPC, as amended. Republic Act No. (RA) 8353, or the Anti-Rape Law of 1997, has reclassified rape as a crime against persons.[21]  In effect, rape may now be prosecuted de oficio; a complaint for rape commenced by the offended party is no longer necessary for its prosecution.[22]  As corollary proposition, an affidavit of desistance by the complaining witness is not, by itself, a ground for the dismissal of a rape action over which the court has already assumed jurisdiction.[23]
2010-08-09
VELASCO JR., J.
For complaint or information to be sufficient, it must state the name of the accused; the designation of the offense given by the statute; the acts or omissions complained of as constituting the offense; the name of the offended party; the approximate time of the commission of the offense, and the place wherein the offense was committed.  What is controlling is not the title of the complaint, nor the designation of the offense charged or the particular law or part thereof allegedly violated, these being mere conclusions of law made by the prosecutor, but the description of the crime charged and the particular facts therein recited.  The acts or omissions complained of must be alleged in such form as is sufficient to enable a person of common understanding to know what offense is intended to be charged, and enable the court to pronounce proper judgment.  No information for a crime will be sufficient if it does not accurately and clearly allege the elements of the crime charged.  Every element of the offense must be stated in the information.  What facts and circumstances are necessary to be included therein must be determined by reference to the definitions and essentials of the specified crimes.  The requirement of alleging the elements of a crime in the information is to inform the accused of the nature of the accusation against him so as to enable him to suitably prepare his defense.  The presumption is that the accused has no independent knowledge of the facts that constitute the offense.[18]
2010-07-28
LEONARDO-DE CASTRO, J.
In rape cases, the gravamen of the offense is sexual intercourse with a woman against her will or without her consent.[40]  If the woman is under 12 years of age, such as in the case of AAA, proof of force and consent becomes immaterial, not only because force is not an element of statutory rape, but because the absence of free consent is presumed. Conviction will therefore lie, provided sexual intercourse is proven.[41]
2010-07-07
LEONARDO-DE CASTRO, J.
It must be emphasized that the RTC gave full faith and credence to the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses.  The time-tested doctrine is that a trial court's assessment of the credibility of a witness is entitled to great weight, and is even conclusive and binding on this Court.  The reason is obvious.  The trial court has the unique opportunity to observe at firsthand the witnesses, particularly their demeanor, conduct and attitude in the course of the trial.[18]
2009-10-02
BRION, J.
In People v. Coloma,[64] we considered an eight-year delay in reporting the long history of rape by the victim's father as understandable and insufficient to render the complaint of a 13-year old daughter incredible. People v. Santos[65] is likewise a noteworthy case on the present issue as we categorically ruled that a four-year delay in reporting a rape did not necessarily taint a victim's testimony when the reason for the delay was satisfactorily explained. In People v. Dimaano,[66] we held that strong apprehensions brought about by fear, stress, or anxiety can leave the offended party doubtful, distrustful and unsure of the proper steps to take in responding to the sexual assault she suffered.
2009-08-27
CHICO-NAZARIO, J.
In rape cases, the gravamen of the offense is sexual intercourse with a woman against her will or without her consent.[13] If the woman is under 12 years of age, such as in the case of AAA, proof of force and consent becomes immaterial, not only because force is not an element of statutory rape, but because the absence of free consent is presumed. Conviction will therefore lie, provided sexual intercourse is proven.[14]
2009-07-14
CHICO-NAZARIO, J.
When conspiracy is alleged as a crime in itself,[46] the sufficiency of the allegations in the Information charging the offense is governed by Section 6,[47] Rule 110 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure. In other words, the act of conspiring and all the elements of said crime must be set forth in the complaint or information.[48] The requirement of alleging the elements of a crime in the information is to inform the accused of the nature of the accusation against him so as to enable him to suitably prepare his defense.[49]
2009-07-13
NACHURA, J.
The desistance of the complainant does not necessarily result in the dismissal of the administrative complaint because the Court attaches no persuasive value to a desistance, especially when executed as an afterthought.[25] It should be remembered that the issue in an administrative case is not whether the complaint states a cause of action against the respondent, but whether the public officials have breached the norms and standards of the public service.[26] Considering that petitioner admitted in his pleadings that he summarily removed the concrete posts erected by respondent, allegedly within the parameters of his authority as Municipal Engineer of Naic, Cavite, it is only proper that this case be decided on its merits rather than on the basis of the desistance of respondent.
2009-06-05
NACHURA, J.
As to the variation between the monetrary awards imposed by the RTC and CA, we rule that the appropriate civil indemnity should be P50,000.00 in light of prevailing jurisprudence regarding civil indemnity for qualified rape.[26]  Such award partakes the nature of actual or compensatory damages and is mandatory upon a conviction for qualified rape.[27]
2009-02-18
BRION, J.
Civil indemnity is awarded on the finding that rape was committed.[76] Similarly, moral damages are awarded to rape complainants without need of pleading or proof of their basis; it is assumed that a rape complainant actually suffered moral injuries entitling her to this award.[77]
2009-02-10
CHICO-NAZARIO, J.
The gravamen of the offense of rape is sexual congress with a woman by force and without consent. If the woman is under 12 years of age, proof of force is not an element of statutory rape, but the absence of a free consent is presumed. Conviction will therefore lie, provided sexual intercourse is proven. But if the woman is 12 years of age or over at the time she was violated, sexual intercourse must be proven and also that it was done through force, violence, intimidation or threat.[45]
2008-12-24
CHICO-NAZARIO, J.
The gravamen of the offense of rape is sexual congress with a woman by force and without consent.  If the woman is under 12 years of age, proof of force is not an element of statutory rape, but the absence of a free consent is presumed.  Conviction will therefore lie, provided sexual intercourse is proven. But if the woman is 12 years of age or over at the time she was violated, sexual intercourse must be proven; and also the fact that it was done through force, violence, intimidation or threat.[58]
2008-12-10
BRION, J.
Catalino also contradicts himself when he claimed that the grudge Joel Obispo bore against him is the reason for the rape charges laid; later in his testimony, he admitted that he did not know of any person who would convince AAA to accuse him of rape.[53] Separately from this contradiction, we simply cannot believe that a woman in her right mind would lend her name and concoct a story of repeated rapes to serve the ends of another person's grudge. Even at her young age, AAA knew that the rapes she suffered carry a stigma of shame. For her to come out in the open and publicly describe her experience at a trial can only be taken as a badge of her sincerity and the truth of her charges. As we held in People v. Dimaano:[54]
2008-10-24
LEONARDO-DE CASTRO, J.
The trial court gave full faith and credence to the testimonies of Wilfredo and Antonio. The time-tested doctrine is that a trial court's assessment of the credibility of a witness is entitled to great weight, and is even conclusive and binding on this Court. The reason is obvious. The trial court has the unique opportunity to observe at firsthand the witnesses, particularly their demeanor, conduct and attitude in the course of the trial.[16]
2008-02-18
NACHURA, J.
What is controlling is not the title of the complaint, nor the designation of the offense charged or the particular law or part thereof allegedly violated, these being mere conclusions of law made by the prosecutor, but the description of the crime charged and the particular facts therein recited. The acts or omissions complained of must be alleged in such form as is sufficient to enable a person of common understanding to know what offense is intended to be charged, and enable the court to pronounce proper judgment. No information for a crime will be sufficient if it does not accurately and clearly allege the elements of the crime charged. Every element of the offense must be stated in the information. What facts and circumstances are necessary to be included therein must be determined by reference to the definitions and essentials of the specified crimes. The requirement of alleging the elements of a crime in the information is to inform the accused of the nature of the accusation against him so as to enable him to suitably prepare his defense.[50]
2007-12-27
VELASCO JR., J.
We affirm the credibility of AAA.  It is a settled doctrine that  the trial court's finding of credibility is conclusive on the appellate court, unless it is shown that certain facts of  substance and value have been plainly overlooked, misunderstood, or misapplied.[22]  In this case, accused-appellant has not shown that the RTC and CA findings should be reversed.  As correctly observed by the CA, the inaccuracy in AAA's Sinumpaang Salaysay may be attributed to the inadequacy of the investigator's language, and not on her alleged lack of honesty.  Moreover, AAA's testimony in court clearly proved that accused-appellant had sexually abused her.  It must be stressed that affidavits taken ex parte are inferior to testimony given in court, the affidavits being invariably incomplete and oftentimes inaccurate due to partial suggestions or want of specific inquiries.[23]
2007-10-26
NACHURA, J.
The Court stresses that conviction or acquittal in a rape case more often than not depends almost entirely on the credibility of the complainant's testimony because of the very nature of this crime. It is usually the victim who alone can testify as to its occurrence. In rape cases, the accused may be convicted solely on the basis of the testimony of the victim, provided that such testimony is credible, natural, convincing and consistent with human nature and the normal course of things.[21] The credibility given by the trial court to the rape victim is an important aspect of evidence which appellate courts can rely on because of its unique opportunity to observe the witnesses, particularly their demeanor, conduct and attitude during direct and cross-examination by counsel. Absent any showing that the trial judge overlooked, misunderstood, or misapplied some facts and circumstances of weight which would affect the result of the case, his assessment of credibility deserves the appellate court's highest respect.[22]
2007-09-05
TINGA, J.
We sustain the awards of P75,000.00 and P25,000.00 as civil indemnity and exemplary damages, respectively, for each count of rape but increase the award of moral damages from P50,000.00 to P75,000.00 for each count in line with prevailing jurisprudence.[45]
2007-08-24
TINGA, J.
All told, appellant is guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of rape through force or intimidation. Therefore, the decisions of the RTC and the Court of Appeals are both correct. The sentence on appellant to reclusion perpetua, pursuant to Articles 266-A and 266-B of the Revised Penal Code and the imposition of civil indemnity, moral, and exemplary damages, are proper. Moral damages is automatically granted in rape cases without need of further proof other than the commission of the crime, because it is assumed that a rape victim has actually suffered moral injuries entitling her to such award.[43] The presence of the aggravating circumstance of use of a deadly weapon justifies the award of exemplary damages.
2007-03-14
CHICO-NAZARIO, J.
The delay and initial reluctance of a rape victim to make public the assault on her virtue is neither unknown nor uncommon. Particularly in incestuous rape, this Court has consistently held that delay in reporting the offense is not indicative of a fabricated charge.[38] It has been repeatedly held that the delay in reporting a rape incident due to death threats cannot be taken against the victim.[39] The fact of delay does not necessarily lead to an acquittal. In several cases we have decided,[40] the delay lasted for two years or more; nevertheless, the victims were found to be credible. The charge of rape is rendered doubtful only if the delay was unreasonable and unexplained.
2007-03-14
CHICO-NAZARIO, J.
The gravamen of the offense of rape is sexual congress with a woman by force and without consent. If the woman is under 12 years of age, proof of force is not an element of statutory rape, but the absence of a free consent is presumed. Conviction will therefore lie, provided sexual intercourse is proven. But if the woman is 12 years of age or over at the time she was violated, sexual intercourse must be proven and also that it was done through force, violence, intimidation or threat.[61]
2006-12-06
CHICO-NAZARIO, J.
The fact of delay does not necessarily lead to an acquittal. In several cases we have decided,[35] the delay lasted for two years or more; nevertheless, the victims were found to be credible. As above-mentioned, we found the delay to be reasonable and sufficiently explained. The testimony of the victim herself has convinced the Court that her accusation has a ring of truth sufficient to justify the conviction of appellant.
2006-11-29
TINGA, J.
Anent the civil liability of appellant, we modify the award of damages in line with prevailing jurisprudence. Consequently, the court finds Carpio liable to AAA in the amount of P75,000.00 as civil indemnity, P75,000.00 as moral damages and P25,000.00 as exemplary damages for each count of rape.[73] The award of civil indemnity, which is in the nature of actual or compensatory damages, is mandatory upon a conviction of rape.[74] On the other hand, the award of moral damages is automatically granted in rape cases
2006-09-26
CHICO-NAZARIO, J.
The elements of arson under Sec. 3, par. 2, of PD 1613 are: (a) there is intentional burning; and (b) what is intentionally burned is an inhabited house or dwelling. Incidentally, these elements concur in the case at bar.[55] As stated in the body of the Information, accused-appellant was charged with having intentionally burned the two-storey residential house of Robert Separa. Said conflagration likewise spread and destroyed seven (7) adjoining houses. Consequently, if proved, as it was proved, at the trial, she may be convicted, and sentenced accordingly, of the crime of simple arson. Such is the case "notwithstanding the error in the designation of the offense in the information, the information remains effective insofar as it states the facts constituting the crime alleged therein."[56] "What is controlling is not the title of the complaint, nor the designation of the offense charged or the particular law or part thereof allegedly violate, x x x, but the description of the crime charged and the particular facts therein recited."[57]
2006-09-26
CHICO-NAZARIO, J.
The rulings in the Pimentel and Castro cases do not apply to the case at bar. In said cases, the delay consisted of 39 days and 5 months, respectively. The accused therein were acquitted because other circumstances, not merely the fact of the delay in the reporting of the rape, were taken into account in determining the veracity of the accusations and the credibility of the accuser. The fact of delay does not necessarily lead to an acquittal. In several cases we have decided,[45] the delay lasted for two years or more, nevertheless, the victims were found to be credible. In People v. Hortillano,[46] we ruled that other relevant facts and circumstances must be likewise considered to determine the veracity of the accusations. These circumstances are not present in the case under review. As above-mentioned, We found the delay to be reasonable and sufficiently explained. The testimony of the victim herself has convinced the Court that her accusation has a ring of truth sufficient to justify the conviction of appellant.
2006-09-08
TINGA, J.
This credibility given by the trial court to the rape victim is an important aspect of evidence which appellate courts can rely on because of its unique opportunity to observe the witnesses, particularly their demeanor, conduct and attitude during the direct and cross-examination by counsel.[26] It is likewise well established that the testimony of a rape victim is generally given full weight and credit, more so, if she is a 5-year-old child as in this case. The revelation of an innocent child whose chastity has been abused deserves full credit, as her willingness to undergo the trouble and the humiliation of a public trial is an eloquent testament to the truth of her complaint. In so testifying, she could only have been impelled to tell the truth, especially in the absence of proof of ill motive.[27]
2006-08-30
CHICO-NAZARIO, J.
The gravamen of the offense of rape is sexual congress with a woman by force and without consent. If the woman is under 12 years of age, proof of force is not an element of statutory rape, but the absence of a free consent is presumed. Conviction will therefore lie, provided sexual intercourse is proven. But if the woman is 12 years of age or over at the time she was violated, sexual intercourse must be proven and also that it was done through force, violence, intimidation or threat.[40]