2 men sentenced to life in prison for child rape
posted 15-Sep-2019  ·  
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A chief tanod and an abaca stripper last week were separately meted life imprisonment and told to pay a total of P825,000 in total damages to their young victims after being found guilty of rape and qualified rapes.

In a decision rendered last Friday, Aug. 30, 2019, the Regional Trial Court found Angeles Todoc Palmes guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of rape and to pay the victim P75,000 as civil indemnity, P75,000 as moral damages and P75,000 as exemplary damages.

Information filed before the RTC Branch 42 showed that sometime in July 2018 at about 8 P.M. in the undisclosed municipality, the 12-year old victim, referred to only as AAA, was walking home after trying to fetch her father at a wake when she passed by Palmes, who was her father’s long-time friend, near a closed store.

He asked her to buy a cigarette, handed her a P20 bill and told her to keep the change. As she was walking towards the store, Palmes followed her and told her to go with him to his house to remove his white hair and that he would give her money.

He forcefully held her by her shoulder and led her towards his house. Inside, he firmly grasped her right hand and led her inside his comfort room where he undressed her before removing his shorts and brief. He then sexually assaulted her against the wall of the comfort room.

She later told the police that she tried to push Palmes but he was strong.

Afterwards, he told AAA not to tell anybody, giving her P100 and instructing her to pass through a grassy area so no one would see her.

She went home and told no one about the incident, afraid of what Palmes, as well as her father, would do to her.

It was only on Dec. 20, 2018 at the police station that her father learned of the sexual abuse.

In his defense, Palmes denied the accusation and claimed that sometime in July 2018, he stayed all the time at the wake of his live-in partner’s uncle for four days. He also alleged that he did not personally know AAA and that he did not see her at the wake.

The Court, however, found the victim’s testimony to be clear, convincing and worthy of belief,

“Youth and immaturity are generally badges of truth. It is highly improbable that a girl of tender years, one not yet exposed to the ways of the world, would impute to any man a crime so serious as rape if what she claims is not true,” Judge Genie G. Gapas-Agbada said, quoting a Supreme Court ruling.

She noted that the strength and sheer force of the accused would have easily overcome any resistance that AAA could have put up. As the 4’4” AAA is physically no match for the accused, a 59-year old man who is 5’6”.

Aside from employing force and intimidation, the accused also committed the rape due to his moral ascendancy over the victim, who addressed him as Tiyo Angeles, and was her father’s friend and the barangay tanod’s chief, the Court stressed.

It found Palmes’ defense highly unreliable as two of his witnesses offered testimonies that conflicted with his version of events.

In the other case, the same Court found an abaca stripper guilty beyond reasonable doubt of raping his own minor daughter twice, with the last sexual abuse occurring right beside his sleeping wife.

Judge Gapas-Agbada sentenced him to two life terms without eligibility of parole and ordered him to pay a total of P600,000 as civil indemnity, moral damages and exemplary damages.

Evidence presented during the trial showed that the accused was then living in the undisclosed town together with his wife and their children, including the 14-year old victim.

In November of 2016, the mother noticed that AAA became irritable while her husband became extra affectionate to the girl.

On January 28, 2017, at about 10 P.M., the sleeping mother was awakened by a sound coming from the bamboo floor and the movement of their mosquito net.

She groped for her husband but he was not beside her. When she groped for her daughter, she felt her but then she also touched her husband’s naked butt on AAA’s lower extremities.

The mother immediately reached for the flashlight and put on its batteries but when she switched on the light, her husband was already wearing shorts and sitting beside AAA’s head.

She confronted her husband but he dismissed her, saying that he had done nothing wrong. When she removed her daughter’s blanket, she saw that the girl had no more leggings and panty.

The following day, while the accused was at the farm, she brought her daughter to the barangay hall, where AAA disclosed her father’s dastardly act the night before.

She said she was awakened when his father put himself on top of her, her leggings and panty were already removed.

AAA narrated that he held her hands and that she kicked and pushed him but he was strong. When she cried and cursed him, he slapped her mouth.

She also disclosed that her father first molested her in September 2016 while she was sleeping beside her siblings.

The Court noted that although AAA already finished testifying about her ordeal on Feb. 2, 2018, the defense moved to reset her cross-examination twice. On the third scheduled hearing, the police reported that AAA could no longer be located.

In a joint order in May 2019, the Court agreed with the prosecution that the defense is considered to have waived its right to cross-examine the private complainant, having failed to cross-examine her on two instances when she was present and ready.

Appearing as his own witness, the accused claimed that on the dates of the alleged rapes, he was stripping abaca at the forest the whole week.

However, he admitted in court that he told his wife to tell their daughter to leave their place because she would the reason someone would die.

Aside from the prosecution’s sufficiently proving the elements of the crime of rape committed by the father, Judge Gapas-Agbada described as more telling the accused’s admission of having instructed his wife on their daughter’s leaving their place.

“Why would accused want his daughter AAA to leave their place? Was accused’s instruction intended to prevent AAA from further testifying against him? If this is so, accused fully understood that he is doomed to answer for his crimes,” the Court emphasized.

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