• Alibi a weak defense in rape cases

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    BenchPressweb

    The victim, a little girl of five, and the accused, a seventeen-year-old boy, were neighbors. The accused frequently passed her house to access the public road and often visited, since he was friends with the victim’s father. The victim was friendly with the accused and even called him “kuya.”

    One evening at around 6 p.m., the victim followed her older sister to a nearby store to buy cigarettes for their father. When the older sister returned home without the victim, their father thought nothing of it and assumed that the victim went to her aunt’s house to watch television.

    A neighbor was at the same store at around 6:20 p.m. and saw the accused place the victim on his lap. They left at the same time, the neighbor proceeding to the aunt’s house while the victim and the accused, hand-in-hand, walked towards the rice fields. It was there that the accused made her lie down and while choking her, removed her underwear and punched her in the chest. He mounted her, and while her legs were spread apart, pushed his penis into her vagina and made a push and pull movement. The victim cried from the pain. After, the accused proceeded to his uncle’s house beside the rice fields while the victim went home crying.

    The victim’s father heard her crying and saw that his daughter returned muddied with blood oozing from her head, a contusion around her neck, no slippers, no underwear, and had mud and whitish substance on her vagina. She told him what happened. She underwent a physical examination and hymenal lacerations were found that, according to the report, could have been caused by the penetration of an erect male organ.

    Before the Regional Trial Court (RTC), the accused was charged with the crime of rape. The accused put up the defense of alibi. He claimed that at the time of the commission of the crime, he was at his uncle’s house beside the rice fields attending a birthday party. He was asked to buy rum in the store, which was only twenty (20) meters away, and had returned immediately thereafter.

    Both the RTC and the Court of Appeals convicted him. Sustaining the judgment of conviction, the Supreme Court (SC) held:

    In the determination of the innocence or guilt of a person accused of rape, we consider the three well-entrenched principles:

    (1) an accusation for rape can be made with facility; it is difficult to prove but more difficult for the accused, though innocent to disprove; (2) in view of the intrinsic nature of the crime of rape in which only two persons are usually involved, the testimony of the complainant must be scrutinized with extreme caution; and (3) the evidence for the prosecution must stand or fall on its own merits, and cannot be allowed to draw strength from the weakness of the evidence for the defense.

    Necessarily, the credible, natural and convincing testimony of the victim may be sufficient to convict the accused, especially when the testimony is supported by the medico-legal findings of the examining physician.

    Further, the Court emphasized that the defense of alibi cannot prevail over the victim’s positive identification of the accused as the perpetrator of the crime. For alibi to prosper, the court must be convinced that it was physically impossible for the accused to be at the location of the crime at the time it was committed, which in this case, the defense failed to prove (People of the Philippines v. Jacinto, G.R. No. 182239, March 16, 2011, J. Perez).

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