Mere assertion CANNOT prove subsequent rapes

As early as People v. Royeras, it has already been enunciated that when a girl says that she has been raped, she says in effect all that is necessary to show that rape was indeed committed. This is particularly true in the case of child-victims, whose testimonies are given full weight and credit by the courts, considering their relative vulnerability and the repercussions that they would face if what they narrated were not true.

In the case of People v. Helim (G.R. No. 194258. January 15, 2014), AAA showed by her testimony that she was indeed raped by accused-appellant. She had been left in his care when her mother started working in Manila in 2003. She had no one else with her other than her younger brother. Appellant would threaten AAA that he would kill her and her brother if she told anybody. Furthermore, the stage of her pregnancy at the time of the medical examination coincided with the first instance of sexual abuse that she narrated.

Appellant insists that the admission of AAA that she was maltreated is enough to show that she had ill motive to testify against him. The Supreme Court found no merit in this argument. There is sense in the Court of Appeals' (CA's) reasoning that if retribution for the beating was what she sought, AAA could have just filed a case for maltreatment.

However, the High Court found merit in accused-appellant's assertion that each and every charge of rape is a separate and distinct crime, and each should be proven beyond reasonable doubt by the prosecution. AAA's statement was that she could only recall the first instance of rape that took place on 30 January 2005. On that day, appellant beat her, threatened her with a 12-gauge shotgun, forcibly took off her shorts and underwear and succeeded in having carnal knowledge of her.However, the statement that appellant raped her almost the same way during the second, third and fourth instances is insufficient to convict him under the corresponding criminal Informations. A simple assertion that the subsequent instances of rape occurred in the same manner as the previous incident is clearly inadequate and grossly insufficient to establish the guilt of appellant to a degree of moral certainty.

ADDITIONAL READINGS:

[1] Robbery with rape; tenacious resistance - Project Jurisprudence.
[2] 155 Phil. 609 (1974).
[3] People v. Garcia, G.R. No. 200529, 19 September 2012, 681 SCRA 465.
[4] Section 5. Arrest without warrant; when lawful. — A peace officer or a private person may, without a warrant, arrest a person:
(a) When, in his presence, the person to be arrested has committed, is actually committing, or is attempting to commit an offense;
(b) When an offense has just been committed, and he has probable cause to believe based on personal knowledge of facts or circumstances that the person to be arrested has committed it; and
(c) When the person to be arrested is a prisoner who has escaped from a penal establishment or place where he is serving final judgment or is temporarily confined while his case is pending, or has escaped while being transferred from one confinement to another. In cases falling under paragraph (a) and (b) above, the person arrested without a warrant shall be forthwith delivered to the nearest police station or jail and shall be proceeded against in accordance with section 7 of Rule 112. (5a)
[5] People v. Tan, G.R. No. 191069, 15 November 2010, 634 SCRA 773, 786.
[6] People v. Dela Torre, 464 Phil. 23 (2004); People v. Lilo, 444 Phil. 778 (2003).
[7] People v. Santos, 452 Phil. 1046 (2003); People v. De Taza, G.R. Nos. 136286-89, 11 September 2003, 410 SCRA 518; People v. Silvano, 428 Phil. 729 (2002).
[8] People v. Victor, 441 Phil. 798 (2002); People v. Evangelista, 419 Phil. 80 (2001).
[9] REVISED PENAL CODE, Art. 266-B, par. 2.
[10] People v. Bayya, 384 Phil. 519 (2000); People v. EscaƱo, 427 Phil. 162 (2002).
[1] 453 Phil. 54 (2003).
[12] An Act Prohibiting the Imposition of Death Penalty in the Philippines, which took effect on 24 June 2006.
[13] Section 3 of Republic Act No. 9346 states: "Person convicted of offenses punishable with reclusion perpetua or whose sentences will be reduced to reclusion perpetua by reason of this Act, shall not be eligible for parole under Act No. 4103 otherwise known as the Indeterminate Sentence Law, as amended.
[14] People v. Osma, Jr., G.R. No. 187734, 29 August 2012, 679 SCRA 428; People v. Lauga, G.R. No. 186228, 15 March 2010, 615 SCRA 548.
[15] People v. Vitero, G.R. No. 175327, 3 April 2013, 695 SCRA 54; People v. Amistoso, G.R. No. 201447, 9 January 2013, 688 SCRA 376.

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