Thursday, March 22, 2012

People vs Baao

Facts: Rowena Frederico is a thirteen year old school drop out, finishing only grade 1 and of limited native intelligence. She claims she was raped five times by accused appellant Baao; three times in December 1982, done in the bathroom of accused-appellant’s house in Dasmariñas Cavite, and twice in February 1983, the fourth done in the backyard while the fifth was done in the living room. On March 4 1983, Rowena decided to tell her mother about the offenses. She said that the first three rapes were done at 8am on dates of December she could not recall, while the fourth was at about 10 pm on Feb 17, and the fifth at noon of Feb 23. She claimed that all rapes were done through force and threat of death and that the first rape caused laceration of her hymen and there was full penetration and pain in all instances. The victim was subjected to physical examinations under Dr. Maximo Reyes, medico-legal officer of the NBI. According to Dr. Reyes findings, Rowena underwent intercourse for not more than five times, and that the findings were compatible with the testimony of the victim. Lucia Federico, the victim’s mother, also testified that after she came to know of the rapes, the accused-appellant’s wife approached her and offered her 2000 Php so she would withraw the charges. 

The Accused-appellant relied mainly on denial and alibi. He claims that he was just being set up because he once caught the girl sealing soft drinks from his sari sari store and had scolded her. He also claims that at the times stated by Rowena on which dates she was supposedly raped, he was with his daughter at her house near Manila International Airport in Baclaran, to do some carpentry work. His daughter testified and said the same thing. He also argued that the complaint was filed to extort money from him, an amount of 15,000 which was later reduced to 8000. The Trial Judge rejected the charges on the second, third and fifth rapes. This leads the defense to invoke falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus, claiming that since the three charges were rejected, the rest should also be rejected. 

Issues: 

(1) Whether or not this was merely a tale concocted by Rowena. 

(2) Whether or not the two charges of rape should also be rejected since the other three were rejected by the court. 

Held: 

(1) Accused-Appellant was held guilty of the crime charged. His contentions were rejected. His alibi of being in Baclaran on December is not enough to relieve him of the charges because he couldn’t show that he did not have any opportunity to go back to Dasmarinas during that month. Also, considering the demeanour of the victim, she couldn’t have made up such a story on her own. Alibi is an inherently weak defense. 

(2) On the contention that all charges should be rejected since three were rejected, it could also conversely be argued that since truth was found on the first and fourth rapes, accused should also be held liable for all five rapes and be convicted. The choice really is whether it should be total acquittal or total conviction for all five charges of rapes.

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