People v. Cajara (G.R. No. 122498. Sep. 27, 2000)

CASE DIGEST: PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE, VS. ELMEDIO CAJARA, ACCUSED-APPELLANT. (G.R. No. 122498. September 27, 2000)

FACTS: Accused Cajara raped 16-year-old Marita in front of his common-law wife who is the half-sister of the victim and his two small children. The trial court convicted him as charged and sentenced him to death.

HELD: The records show that the crime was aggravated by reiteracion under Art. 14, par. 10, of the Revised Penal Code, the accused having been convicted of frustrated murder in 1975 and of homicide, frustrated homicide, trespass to dwelling, illegal possession of firearms and murder sometime in 1989 where his sentences were later commuted to imprisonment for 23 years and a fine of P200,000.00. He was granted conditional pardon by the President of the Philippines on 8 November 1991.

Reiteracion or habituality under Art. 14, par. 10 of the Revised Penal Code is present when the accused has been previously punished for an offense to which the law attaches an equal or greater penalty than that attached by law to the second offense or for two or more offenses to which it attaches a lighter penalty.

Herein accused can be convicted only of simple rape and the imposable penalty therefor is reclusion perpetua. Where the law prescribes a single indivisible penalty, it shall be applied regardless of the mitigating or aggravating circumstances attendant to the crime, such as in the instant case.

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