What happens if victim's testimony NOT present in rape cases?

It is true that in rape cases, the testimony of the victim is essential. However, when the victim is a small child or, someone who acts like one, and thus cannot effectively testify as to the details of the offense, and there are no other eyewitnesses, resort to circumstantial evidence becomes inevitable. Circumstantial evidence, sometimes referred to as indirect or presumptive evidence, indirectly proves a fact in issue through an inference which the fact-finder draws from the evidence established.[1] It is not a weaker form of evidence vis-à-vis direct evidence.[2] Resort to it is imperative when the lack of direct testimony would result in setting an outlaw free. The Supreme Court reiterates that direct evidence of the commission of a crime is not the only basis on which a court may draw its finding of guilt.[3] In fact, circumstantial evidence, when demonstrated with clarity and forcefulness, may even be the sole basis of a criminal conviction. It cannot be overturned by bare denials or hackneyed alibis.[4] Established facts that form a chain of circumstances can lead the mind intuitively or impel a conscious process of reasoning towards a conviction. Verily, resort to circumstantial evidence is sanctioned by Section 5, Rule 133 of the Revised Rules on Evidence. The following are the requisites for circumstantial evidence to be sufficient to support conviction: (a) there is more than one (1) circumstance; (b) the facts from which the inferences are derived have been proven; and (c) the combination of all these circumstances results in a moral certainty that the accused, to the exclusion of all others, is the one who committed the crime. Thus, to justify a conviction based on circumstantial evidence, the combination of circumstances must be interwoven in such a way as to leave no reasonable doubt as to the guilt of the accused.[5]

[1] Bastian v. CA, 575 Phil. 42, 55 (2008).

[2] People v. Matito, 468 Phil. 14, 26 (2004).

[3] Bastian v. CA, supra note 1.

[4] People v. Matito, supra note 2.

[5] People v. Matito, supra note 1 at 56.

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