Wednesday, February 08, 2012

People vs. Dimaano

Facts: Maricar charged her father Edgardo Dimaano of 2 counts of Rape and 1 count of attempted rape. She was 10 years old when she was first sexually abused in Sept 1993.

On Jan 1996, Maricar and her mother went to Camp Crame where they filed a complaint upon advise of a relative of theirs. The Medico-Legal Officer at the PNP Crime Lab found Maricar to have suffered deep healed hymenal lacerations and was in a non-virginal state.

 Edgardo denied the accusations against him claiming he was in the office from 7am to 9pm. Trial court found Maricar’s testimony credible and spontaneous, and  disregarded the compromise agreement and the Salaysay sa Pag-uurong ng Sumbong since Maricar was not assisted by a lawyer when she signed the same. CA affirmed with modifications. 

Issues:(1) Whether or not the evidence adduced by the prosecution has overcome the presumption of innocence of the accused

(2) Whether or not the voluntary and due execution of the affidavit of desistance by Maricar should have been duly considered as a factor which put to doubt the reasons behind the filing of the criminal charges of rape against her father - NO

(1) YES. The credibility given by the Trial Court to the rape victim is an important aspect of evidence. The trial court and CA gave due credence to the testimony of Maricar who was only 12 years old when she narrated to the court the violations of her person.

 The SC found no cogent reason to disturb the findings of the trial court and CA. Maricar’s credibility was not diminished by her failure to report the sexual abuses to the authorities and her relatives despite opportunities to do so. Delay in reporting rape incidents, in the face of threats and violence cannot be taken against the victim, more so if the lecherous attacker is her father. Delay of 2 years is not an indication that the testimony has been fabricated.

The gravamen of the offense of rape is sexual congress with a woman by force and without consent. Maricar was under 12 years of age when she was raped such that proof of force or consent is immaterial where force is not an element of statutory rape and free consent is presumed. Conviction will therefore lie provided that sexual intercourse is proven.

(2) NO. Courts attach no persuasive value to desistance, especially when executed afterthought. The unreliable character of this document is shown by the fact that it is quite incredible that after the victim goes through all the trouble, will suddenly withdraw or turn around and declare that she is no longer interest. Maricar repudiated the affidavit of desistance in open court by stating that no lawyer assisted her when she signed the desistance.

Close scrutiny of the affidavit of desistance shows that Maricar never retracted her allegation that she was raped by her father and neither did she give any exculpatory fact that would raise doubts about the rape.

Note: Dimaano was convicted of rape but acquitted of attempted rape for failure to allege acts constitutive of the latter. It merely stated “tried and attempted to rape” Maricar where such is a conclusion of law INSUFFICIENT for the court to render conviction of the accused. (Rule 110 Sec 6)

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