Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Proof of rape - G.R. No. 194379

G.R. No. 194379

"x x x.

In determining the guilt or innocence of the accused in rape cases, the Court is guided by the following principles:

(1) an accusation of rape can be made with facility and while the accusation is difficult to prove, it is even more difficult for the person accused, though innocent, to disprove the charge; (2) considering that, in the nature of things, only two persons are usually involved in the crime of rape, the testimony of the complainant should be scrutinized with great caution; and (3) the evidence of the prosecution must stand or fall on its own merit, and cannot be allowed to draw strength from the weakness of the evidence for the defense.[29]

Inasmuch as the crime of rape is essentially committed in relative isolation or even secrecy, it is usually only the victim who can testify with regard to the fact of the forced sexual intercourse. Therefore, in a prosecution for rape, the credibility of the victim is almost always the single and most important issue to deal with. Thus, if the victim’s testimony meets the test of credibility, the accused can justifiably be convicted on the basis of this testimony; otherwise, the accused should be acquitted of the crime.[30]

More importantly, appellate courts do not disturb the findings of the trial courts with regard to the assessment of the credibility of witnesses.[31] The reason for this is that trial courts have the “unique opportunity to observe the witnesses first hand and note their demeanor, conduct and attitude under grilling examination.”[32]

The exceptions to this rule are when the trial court’s findings of facts and conclusions are not supported by the evidence on record, or when certain facts of substance and value, likely to change the outcome of the case, have been overlooked by the trial court, or when the assailed decision is based on a misapprehension of facts.[33] However, this Court finds none of these exceptions present in the instant case.

x x x."