Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Leeway should be given to witnesses who are minors, especially when they are relating past incidents of abuse.


“x x x.

Jurisprudence holds that “the findings of the trial court, its calibration of the testimonies of the witnesses, and its assessment of the probative weight thereof, as well as its conclusions anchored on said findings are accorded respect if not conclusive effect.”⁠7

The trial court found that XXX’s “straightforward, unequivocal and convincing testimony”⁠8 sufficiently proved that petitioner committed an act of sexual assault by inserting his penis into XXX’s anal orifice.⁠9 There was no showing of ill motive on the part of XXX to falsely accuse petitioner.⁠10 The Court of Appeals accorded great weight to the trial court’s findings and affirmed petitioner’s conviction.⁠11

No cogent reason exists for this court to overturn the lower courts’ findings.

First, petitioner’s argument highlighting alleged inconsistencies in XXX’s testimony fails to convince.

In a long line of cases,⁠12 this court has given full weight and credit to the testimonies of child victims. Their “[y]outh and immaturity are generally badges of truth and sincerity.”⁠13 XXX, then only 10 years old, had no reason to concoct lies against petitioner.⁠14

This court has also held that “[l]eeway should be given to witnesses who are minors, especially when they are relating past incidents of abuse.”⁠15

Petitioner contends that XXX did not categorically say that a penis was inserted into his anal orifice, or that he saw a penis or any object being inserted into his anal orifice.

This contradicts petitioner’s earlier statement in his appellant’s brief⁠16 that “[a]lthough it is true that the Supreme Court, in a long line of cases, did not rule out the possibility of rape in cases where the victim remained physically intact at the time she or he was physically examined, still, it bears stressing that in the instant case, the private complainant testified that the accused-appellant’s penis fully penetrated his anus.”⁠17

X x x.”