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.

Case Digest: Rigor vs. Superintendent (G.R. No. 156983, September 23, 2003)

[CRIMINAL LAW]

Case Digest: Rigor vs. Superintendent (G.R. No. 156983. September 23, 2003

FACTS:

Jose Victor Rigor was convicted of illegal sale and possession of methampethamine hydrochloride (shabu). He was sentenced, as follows:

in Criminal Case No. MC-99-1235-D: to SIX (6) MONTHS AND ONE (1) DAY OF arresto mayor maximum to FOUR (4) YEARS AND FOUR (4) MONTHS AND ONE (1) DAY OF prision correccional and a fine of P5,000.00 and,

in Criminal Case No. MC-99-1236-D: SIX (6) MONTHS AND ONE (1) DAY OF arresto mayor maximum to FOUR (4) YEARS AND ONE (1) DAY OF prision correccional and a fine of P5,000.00.

As of the filing of the petition, Rigor had already served one year and five months of imprisonment.

Contention of the Accused: Rigor states that he should be entitled to the retroactive application of RA 7659 and asks for the reduction of his penalty to only six months and one day of prision correccional in each of his convictions so that he may be deemed to have served the maximum penalty in both instances, and should now be released.

Contention of the State: The Court noted an error in the joint decision of the trial court and consequently rectified it, taking into consideration RA 7659. Rigor’s penalty of imprisonment in each of Criminal Case No. MC-99-1235-D and Criminal Case No. MC-99-1236-D, should have been from six months of arresto mayor as minimum, to four years and two months of prision correccional, as maximum.

The penalties imposed by the trial court, as duly corrected, are within the ambit of RA 7659, and there is nothing more to reduce.

RULING: Under Article 70 of the Revised Penal Code, when an offender has to serve two or more penalties, he should serve them simultaneously if the nature of the penalties will so permit. Otherwise said penalties shall be executed successively, following the order of their respective severity, in such case, the second sentence will not commence to run until the expiration of the first.

The nature of petitioner’s sentences does not allow its simultaneous service; hence he must serve it successively. Not only that he must serve it successively, he must also serve it up to its maximum term.

Petitioner must therefore first serve the penalty in Crim. Case No. MC-99-1235-D up to its maximum term, before service of the penalty in Crim. Case No. MC-99-1236-D also up to its maximum term, or a total maximum period of eight years and four months.