Case Digest: People vs. Domantay (G.R. No. 130612, May 11, 1999)

[CRIMINAL LAW]

Case Digest: People vs. Domantay [G.R. No. 130612, May 11, 1999]

Crime: Rape WITH Homicide

FACTS:

At around 4pm on October 17, 1996, the body of Jennifer Domantay, a 6-year-old, was found sprawled in a bamboo grove with 38 stab wounds at the back and whose hymen had been completely lacerated on the right side. Bernandino Domantay, a cousin of the victim’s grandfather, confessed to SPO1 Antonio Espinoza that he killed Jennifer and disclosed the whereabouts of the fatal weapon (bayonet) he used in the crime. He was convicted of Rape with Homicide sentencing Domantay to death and to indemnify the heirs of the victim in the amount P480,000.00, and to pay the costs.

However, it is noteworthy that the deceased was fully clothed in blue shorts and white shirt when her body was brought to her parent’s house immediately after it was found.

There is no circumstantial evidence from which to infer that Domantay sexually abused the victim. The only circumstance from which such inference might be made is that Domantay was seen with the victim walking toward the place where the girl’s body was found. Maybe he raped the girl. Maybe he did not. Maybe he simply inserted a blunt object into her organ, thus causing the lacerations in the hymen. Otherwise, there is no circumstance from which it might reasonably be inferred that he abused her, e.g., that he was zipping up his pants, that there was spermatozoa in the girl’s vaginal canal. The very autopsy report of Dr. Bandonill militates against the finding of rape.

Even assuming that Jennifer had been raped, there is no sufficient proof that it was Bernardino who had raped her. He confessed to the victim’s murder but not on the matter of rape.

ISSUE:

Whether or not the death penalty shall be imposed

HELD:

We cannot find that accused also committed rape. In the special complex crime of rape with homicide, both the rape and the homicide must be established beyond reasonable doubt.

The judgment of the trial court is SET ASIDE and another one is rendered FINDING accused guilty of homicide with the aggravating circumstance of abuse of superior strength and sentencing him to a prison term of 12 years of prision mayor, as minimum, to 20 years of reclusion temporal, as maximum, and ORDERING him to pay the heirs of Jennifer Domantay the amounts of P50,000.00, as indemnity, P50,000.00, as moral damages, P25,000.00, as exemplary damages, and P12,000.00, as actual damages, and the costs.