G.R. No. 227363: March 12 2019
Offense Involved: Rape
FACTS: Sometime in September 2011, AAA, nine (9) years old was peeling corn with her cousin who lived adjacent to her grandmother’s house, Tulagan approached her, spread her legs, and inserted his finger into her private part. AAA, likewise, testified that at around 11:00 a.m. of October 8, 2011, while she was playing with her cousin in front of Tulagan’s house, he brought her to his house and told her to keep quiet. He told her to lie down on the floor, and removed her short pants and panties. He also undressed himself, kissed AAA’s cheeks, and inserted his penis into her vagina. For the defense, Tulagan claimed that the whole month of September 2011, from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., he was gathering dried banana leaves to sell then take a rest after 1:00 p.m. at their terrace, while his mother cut the banana leaves he gathered at the back of their kitchen. He said that he never went to AAA’s house and that he had not seen AAA during the entire month of September 2011. Tulagan, likewise, claimed that before the alleged incidents occurred, his mother had a misunderstanding with AAA’s grandmother, who later on started spreading rumors that he raped her granddaughter. The Court found the accused guilty beyond reasonable doubt of Sexual Assault under paragraph 2, Article 266-A of the Revised Penal Code, in relation to Section 5(b) of Republic Act No. 7610 and of Statutory Rape under Article 266-A(1)(d) and penalized in Article 266-B of the Revised Penal Code. Upon appeal, the CA affirmed Tulagan’s conviction of sexual assault and statutory rape. Aggrieved, Tulagan filed this appeal.
- Whether or not the lower court erred in sustaining accused-appelant’s conviction despite the prosecution’s failure to prove his guilt beyond reasonable doubt?
- No. The lower court erred in sustaining his conviction despite the prosecution’s failure to prove his guilt beyond reasonable doubt. Jurisprudence holds that a witness’ testimony containing inconsistencies or discrepancies does not, by such fact alone, diminish the credibility of such testimony. In fact, the variance in minor details has the net effect of bolstering instead of diminishing the witness’ credibility because they discount the possibility of a rehearsed testimony. The fact that some of the details testified to by AAA did not appear in her Sinumpaang Salaysay does not mean that the sexual assault did not happen. AAA was still able to narrate all the details of the sexual assault she suffered in Tulagan’s hands. AAA’s account of her ordeal being straightforward and candid and corroborated by the medical findings of the examining physician, as well as her positive identification of Tulagan as the perpetrator of the crime, are, thus, sufficient to support a conviction of rape.