G.R. No. 212193. February 15, 2017 (Case Brief / Digest)

### Title: People of the Philippines vs. Juan Richard Tionloc y Marquez

### Facts:

Juan Richard Tionloc y Marquez (the appellant) was convicted by the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Manila, Branch 37, for the crime of rape committed against “AAA” under paragraph 1 of Article 266-A of the Revised Penal Code (RPC). The accusation contended rape through sexual intercourse by means of force and intoxication against the will of “AAA”. Despite the designation in the Information suggesting rape by sexual assault under paragraph 2, Article 266-A of the RPC, the accusatory portion aligned more closely with paragraph 1(b), implicating rape through sexual intercourse.

“AAA” testified that after a drinking session with the appellant and Elvis James Meneses—a minor not prosecutable due to age—she became dizzy, took a nap, and awakened to find Meneses raping her, followed by Tionloc, who also raped her under threat of a nearby knife. The following day, “AAA” reported the incident and underwent a medical examination which confirmed two lacerations on her hymen.

In defense, the appellant denied the accusations, claiming he witnessed “AAA” and Meneses in a consensual act. His and Meneses’s narratives underscored a story divergent from “AAA’s”, pointing towards her voluntary participation in the drinking session and subsequent events.

The RTC’s decision, focusing on the credible and consistent testimony of “AAA”, found the appellant guilty, sentencing him to reclusion perpetua and ordering monetary damages. The appellant’s appeal rested on alleged discrepancies between “AAA’s” sworn statement and her testimony, which he argued compromised her credibility. The Court of Appeals (CA) upheld the RTC’s ruling but modified the awarded damages to include a 6% annual interest from the date of the finality of the judgment until full payment.

### Issues:

1. Whether the designation discrepancy in the Information affects the appellant’s right to be informed of the accusation.
2. Whether the prosecution successfully established the elements of rape through sexual intercourse under paragraph 1, Article 266-A of the RPC.
3. Whether discrepancies between “AAA’s” affidavit and testimony impact her credibility.

### Court’s Decision:

The Supreme Court (SC) found merit in the appeal, emphasizing the acquittal of Tionloc due to the insufficiency of evidence. The SC clarified that the nature of the crime should be determined by the factual allegations within the Information, dismissing the discrepancy issue as non-prejudicial to the appellant’s rights.

On examining the procedural elements of rape, the SC concluded that the prosecution failed to incontrovertibly prove the use of force, threat, or intimidation as required. Testimonies did not convincingly demonstrate that “AAA” was deprived of her will or that the sexual act was non-consensual due to coercion. Notably, “AAA’s” testimony lacked explicit indications of resistance or objection, a critical element in establishing non-consent. This led to the SC ruling in favor of the appellant, emphasizing the necessity for clear evidence of coercion in rape convictions.

### Doctrine:

In rape cases alleged to have been committed by force, threat, or intimidation, the prosecution must decisively prove the absence of voluntariness on the part of the victim. The element of force or intimidation must be sufficiently demonstrated to substantiate a conviction. Additionally, discrepancies between an affidavit and trial testimony do not inherently undermine credibility, especially when such discrepancies suggest a lack of rehearsal or manipulation.

### Class Notes:

– **Elements of Rape (Article 266-A, RPC):** Establishment requires proof of (1) male offender, (2) carnal knowledge of a woman, and (3) act accomplished by force, threat, or intimidation.
– **Doctrine on Discrepancies:** Minor inconsistencies between a witness’s affidavit and testimony do not automatically discredit the witness, particularly in accounts of traumatic events.
– **Procedural Posture:** Appeals in criminal cases can progress from the RTC to the CA, and subsequently to the SC under certain conditions, focusing on questions of law.

### Historical Background:

This case underscores the Philippine judiciary’s stringent requirements for proving rape, emphasizing the need for unequivocal evidence of non-consent and coercion. It illustrates the evolving legal interpretations of consent and the importance of the prosecution’s burden to overcome the presumption of innocence in criminal cases.


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