G.R. No. 205438, February 05, 2014


On January 29, 2004 the Public Prosecutor filed three counts of rape against accused-appellant Ricardo Jualo y Samalca before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Butuan City in Criminal Cases 10419, 10420, and 10421.

SL,[1] 16 years of age when the incidents took place, testified that at about 6:00 p.m. on August 2, 2003 she was asleep in one room at their house at Ambacon, Las Nieves, Agusan del Norte, when her father, accused Jualo, woke her up, closed the door of the room, got a bolo from under a cabinet, and threatened her with it. He undressed SL, then himself, and sexually ravished her. Fearful of his threat to kill the entire family if she disclosed what happened, SL kept the matter to herself. But about two months later in October 2003, she told her mother about it. Still, the latter neither helped nor believed her. On November 20, 2003 SL ran away from home and stayed with an older brother in Maragusan, Davao City for four days until Jualo fetched her, claiming that her mother had been hospitalized.

At about 7:00 p.m. on November 27, 2003 SL was in their sala when accused Jualo told her to go upstairs with him as he had something to request of her. As soon as she entered the room upstairs, Jualo locked the door, secured the bolo he had used on her before, and threatened her with it. He undressed her as well as himself and consummated his lust for her. She tried to resist him but she was not strong enough. He again told her not to tell anyone about it if she wanted her mother and siblings to live.

Finally, at about 8:00 p.m. on November 29, 2003, SL was alone at home when accused Jualo, apparently drunk, ordered her to go up to the room but she refused. Only after he threatened to kill her did she obey. He locked the door, undressed her and himself, and sexually abused her again. He repeated his threat against her telling anyone about it.

In school, her teacher and class adviser asked SL why she had run away from home, offering to help her since he had already heard rumors that her father had been molesting her. On returning home after school, her aunt confronted SL about the matter and brought her to the barangay captain. She was eventually brought to the police station where they prepared her sworn statement. On December 2, 2003 the police brought SL to a medico-legal officer of the National Bureau of Investigation for medical examination. The examining doctor found a complete old healed and deep old healed hymenal lacerations on her genital.[2]Accused Jualo testified that his house was split type with two rooms. His sons JT and JR occupied one room while he, his wife, SL, and his four other children occupied the other. He denied SL's charges. He left Barangay Mat-i where he worked as carpenter at about 6:00 p.m. on August 2, 2003. It took him more than an hour to negotiate the six kilometers to his house. He did not know if his wife kept a bolo in their room but if she did, it was on account of the possible trouble that people playing the videoke in their house might create. He used to spank SL for coming home after 8:00 p.m. SL visited him at the provincial hospital on December 20, 2003 and told him that her cousins who had beaten up her father had forced her to file the case lest they seek reimbursement for his medical expenses.[3]

The RTC found accused Jualo guilty as charged and imposed on him the penalty of death by lethal injection for each count of rape and ordered him to pay SL P75,000.00 as civil indemnity and P50,000.00 as moral damages. On appeal to the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CR-HC 00407-MIN, the latter court affirmed the RTC Decision on November 29, 2011 with modifications. The CA reduced the penalty of death to reclusion perpetua for each of the three rape cases, without eligibility for parole. It ordered Jualo to pay SL P75,000.00 as civil indemnity; P75,000.00 as moral damages; and P30,000.00 as exemplary damages also for each count of rape.

Accused Jualo points to certain inconsistencies between SL's sworn statement and her testimony in court.[4] But as the CA correctly said, SL's testimony cannot be adversely affected by the sworn statements that the police prepared in English without the benefit of a prior translation in the dialect that SL understood.[5] The sworn statements were taken ex parte and cannot be relied on especially in the absence of searching inquiries from the investigating police officer.[6]

Accused Jualo claims that it was not likely for him to be able to undress and mount SL while at the same time gripping her hands and holding the bolo. But, as the CA correctly stated, SL testified that Jualo laid down the bolo after undressing her. Still she was unable to resist him because of the fear that overwhelmed her at that time. Besides it was not impossible for Jualo to grip her hands with one hand and hold the bolo with the other. This was not an impossible feat for a man driven blind by lewd designs.[7]

Accused Jualo claims that it was not possible for him to have raped SL between 6:00 and 8:00 p.m. on August 2, 2003 since SL's mother and siblings were by then already home resting. But as the CA pointed out, Jualo raped SL between 6:00 and 7:00 p.m. when her wife and the other children were not yet home. Besides, assuming that the other members of the household were already home by then, this did not exclude the possibility of his raping her unnoticed at the upper room.

Accused Jualo points out that SL had been unable to recall the rape that took place on November 27, 2003. But, as the Office of the Solicitor General demonstrated, she gave a detailed account of the second rape committed on that date in her direct examination.[8]

The Court, like the CA, rejects accused Jualo's self-serving claim that SL visited him on two occasions during the pendency of rape cases and admitted to him that she had fabricated the charges against him at the behest of the two persons who earlier mauled him. It was most unlikely for SL to have testified against her father if he did not in fact rape her. Besides, the Court must defer to the trial court's assessment of the testimonies of the witnesses since it had the singular opportunity to observe their demeanor. Its findings are conclusive, since Jualo had been unable to show that it had plainly overlooked certain facts of substance and value. The medico-legal report coincides with SL's testimony.

WHEREFORE, the Court AFFIRMS in toto the Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-GR. CR-HC 00407-MIN dated November 29, 2011 that found the accused-appellant Ricardo Jualo y Samalca GUILTY of three counts of rape, sentenced him to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua, without eligibility for parole for each count of rape, and ordered him to INDEMNIFY the victim P75,000.00 as civil indemnity, P75,000.00 as moral damages, and P30,000.00 as exemplary damages also for each count of rape.


[1] The real name of the victim is withheld pursuant to Republic Act 7610 and Republic Act 9262.

[2] Records, p. 4.
[3] TSN, November 4, 2004, pp. 50-56, 63.
[4] TSN, September 3, 2004, pp. 25-26.
[5] Rollo, p. 16.
[6] People v. Anggit, 438 Phil. 593, 605 (2002).
[7] People v. Bahuyan, G.R. No. 105842, November 24, 1994.
[8] TSN, July 15, 2004, pp. 8-11.