- People v. Guardian
- G.R. No. 142900
- PUNO, J :
- Decision Date
G.R. No. 142900. August 7, 2002.
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. CRISTITUTO GUARDIAN, accused-appellant.
Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee.
Public Attorney's Office for accused-appellants.
The complainant herein is the daughter of the accused-appellant. The accused allegedly committed the first rape upon the complainant when she was barely eleven years old. The act was repeated several times until the complainant escaped from their house and sought refuge in the residence of her aunt. Thereafter, the matter was brought to the attention of the authorities that led to the filing of a criminal information for rape against accused-appellant. The trial court found the accused-appellant guilty as charged of four (4) counts of rape and was sentenced to suffer the penalty of death for each count of rape. The case was brought to the Supreme Court for automatic review. DAaIEc
The Supreme Court acquitted accused-appellant on the first rape committed due to insufficiency of evidence. However, he was found guilty on the rapes subsequently committed but the death penalties imposed were reduced to reclusion perpetua.
1. REMEDIAL LAW; CRIMINAL PROCEDURE; PROSECUTION OF OFFENSES; COMPLAINT OR INFORMATION; MUST CHARGE ONLY ONE OFFENSE; EXCEPTION PRESENT IN CASE AT BAR. As a rule, a complaint or information must charge only one offense, except when the law prescribes a single punishment for various offenses. In the case at bar, the Information indeed charged four (4) offenses of rape against the accused-appellant. Nonetheless, he waived the defect in the Information when he did not move to quash it before he pled not guilty to the charges. Thus, the accused-appellant could be convicted of as many offenses as are charged and proved.
2. ID.; ID.; JUDGMENT; IMPOSITION OF DEATH PENALTY; WHEN NOT PROPER; CASE AT BAR. Under minority and her relationship with the offender must be properly alleged in the Information and proved by sufficient evidence at the trial. The case law requires that the age of the minor victim must be clearly stated in the Information. The allegation in the Information that the complainant is the accused-appellant's "minor daughter" is insufficient. The accused-appellant's admission that he is the father of the complainant and that she was born on May 22, 1985, hence, under eighteen (18) years of age at the time of the commission of the rape cannot cure the defect. HaTAEc
D E C I S I O N
PUNO, J p:
This is another detestable case of incestuous rape of a young girl.
The complainant, MARY JANE C. GUARDIAN, is the daughter of the accused-appellant, CRISTITUTO GUARDIAN. The Information dated April 5, 1998, against the accused-appellant reads:
"UNDERSIGNED accuses CRISTITUTO GUARDIAN of the heinous crime of "Rape" (four counts) as penalized under
That in, about and during the month of September, 1996;
That on or about the 11th day of February, 1999;
That on or about the 13th day of February, 1999;
That on or about the 16th day of February, 1999;
all of which acts were committed in barangay Mabulo, municipality of San Fernando, province of Romblon, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused CRISTITUTO GUARDIAN, did then and there, by means of intimidation, willfully, unlawfully and feloniously have carnal knowledge of the complainant MARY JANE GUARDIAN, his own minor daughter, against her will. (italics supplied)
All contrary to law.
Romblon, Romblon, April 5, 1999.
(SGD.) FRANCISCO F. BENEDICTO, JR.
OIC/Senior State Prosecutor"
When arraigned, the accused-appellant pled "not guilty."
At the pre-trial conference, the prosecution and the accused-appellant, assisted by counsel, entered into the following stipulation of facts:
"A. Stipulation of Facts:
1. that the accused (appellant) is the father of Maryjane (sic) Guardian, the alleged victim and private complainant in these four (4) cases of rape;
2. that Maryjane (sic) Guardian was born on May 22, 1985, as shown by her certificate of live birth marked as Exhibit A;
3. that in September, 1996, Maryjane (sic) Guardian was eleven (11) years old;
4. that the accused and Maura Carmona Guardian have been living together continuously as husband and wife for the last sixteen (16) years as of today with their five (5) children, including Maryjane (sic) Guardian;
5. that during the month of February, 1999, Maura Carmona Guardian was in Metro Manila working as a housemaid;
6. that presently, Maryjane (sic) Guardian is attending school at Libertad Barangay High School, barangay Libertad, Odiongan, Tablas Island, Romblon, as third year student;
7. that in September 1996, Maryjane (sic) Guardian was a grade VI pupil at Mabulo Elementary School, barangay Mabulo, San Fernando, Sibuyan Island, Romblon, while in February, 1999, she was a second year high school at (sic) Espa a National High School, barangay Espa a, also in San Fernando;
8. that Maryjane (sic) Guardian executed a sworn statement on February 22, 1999, which is the complaint filed with the PNP San Fernando, Sibuyan Island, Romblon; that to further augment this complaint, Maryjane (sic) Guardian, assisted by her mother, Maura Carmona Guardian, filed on July 26, 1999, with the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor the complaint against the accused, her own father, Cristituto Guardian, and live-in partner of her mother, Maura Carmona Guardian, for four (4) rapes committed on her person during the months of September 1996, February 11, 1999, February 13, 1999 and February 16, 1999; and
9. that for the alleged incident that happened in September 1996, there was no complaint coming from Maryjane (sic) Guardian or from her mother until this year when the complaint was filed."
The trial against the accused-appellant ensued.
Mary Jane Guardian testified that in September 1996 and on February 11, 1999, February 13, 1999 and February 16, 1999, her mother, Maura Carmona Guardian, was working as a housemaid in Manila. Thus, she and her siblings were left with their father, the accused-appellant, in their house in barangay Mabulo, San Fernando, Romblon.
The complainant revealed that the first rape was committed in September 1996. She was then barely eleven (11) years old having been born on May 22, 1985. At about 10:00 p.m., she was roused from her sleep when she felt somebody undressing her. She discovered it was the accused-appellant. He took off her shorts and panty. Next, he mashed her breast and forced a sexual intercourse with her. She felt pain, cried and kicked him but to no avail. During the sexual assault, he threatened her not to reveal the incident to her mother or else he would kill them all. Afraid, she kept silent about the rape.
The complainant was abused by the accused-appellant from October 1996 until February 1999. She lost count of the number of times she was sexually assaulted, but she declared it happened almost every month, at nighttime, in their house. Sometimes, the accused-appellant was drunk and beat her up when she refused to accede to his bestial desires. Due to the accused-appellant's cruelty, the complainant's eldest brother ran away from home in 1997.
She tried to avoid the sexual advances of the accused-appellant. On several occasions, she slept in the house of her paternal grandmother, Nardita Guardian, and her paternal aunt, Sarita de Asis, situated some fifty-five (55) meters and six hundred (600) meters away, respectively, from their house. She did not tell them about the rapes for fear that they, too, might be killed by the accused-appellant. Neither did she disclose the incidents to the relatives of her mother because they were in Manila.
The second incident happened on February 11, 1999. The accused-appellant was intoxicated. Armed with a bolo, he undressed the complainant and forcibly had carnal knowledge of her. He was rough on her. The act was allegedly repeated in the same fashion on February 13, 1999.
The fourth incident took place on February 16, 1999. Again, the accused-appellant undressed her. She cried, but he was unmoved. He forced himself on her.
On February 20, 1999, the complainant saw that the accused-appellant was, again, inebriated. Gripped with fear, she did not go home but instead, went to a dance party. However, she felt that the accused-appellant would hurt her younger siblings as he was drunk. She decided to get them. Unfortunately, the accused-appellant also went to the dance. When he saw her, he brought her to their house and mauled (binugbog) her. She sustained bruises.
Complainant could no longer bear the beatings. The next day, at 1:00 a.m., she escaped from their house and sought refuge in the residence of her aunt Marlene. When Marlene's sister, Aileen De Asis, saw the bruises of the complainant, she accompanied her to barangay chairman Ireneo Bersaba and reported the maltreatment.
Barangay Chairman Ireneo Bersaba corroborated the story of the complainant. He testified that she was brought to his house in the afternoon of February 21, 1999. She was crying and had bruises on her upper limb. She revealed that the accused-appellant had mauled her because she refused to have sexual intercourse with him. She also declared that she was first raped when she was in Grade VI and, since then, he had been abusing her. Bersaba endorsed the complainant to the DSWD.
On February 22, 1999, Dr. Leticia Chan, Rural Health Physician of San Fernando, Romblon, conducted a medical examination on the complainant. The complainant was crying as she related that she was physically and sexually abused by her father, the accused-appellant. During the physical examination, the doctor found a bluish contusion on the complainant, below the left armpit, extending from the back left side of the body to the left breast. It was 2.5 inches wide and seven (7) inches long. The doctor opined that the contusion was consistent with her claim that the accused-appellant used a belt in hitting her. There were also reddish and blackish contusions on the outer side of the left arm, on the forearm, and below it and on the left side of the forehead of the complainant. The doctor explained that it was possible that the contusion on the forehead was caused by the belt's buckle. Considering the colors of the contusions, the doctor estimated that the injuries were inflicted less than four (4) or five (5) days from the date of the examination.
On the results of the internal examination, the doctor revealed that the complainant's hymen was lacerated in several scattered directions. She also found a whitish discharge (sticky fluid) on the vaginal cavity of the complainant akin to seminal fluid. When she checked her vaginal opening, it easily admitted two (2) fingers, indicating that it is lax, possibly due to repeated sexual intercourse. The doctor's findings were reflected in a medical certificate, dated February 23, 1999.
Maura Carmona Guardian testified that she and the accused-appellant lived continuously as common-law husband and wife since November 14, 1982. They have five (5) children, namely, Michael, 16 years old; Mary Jane, 14; Rezan, 10; Rose Ann, 8 and Mary Kaye, 5. Her daughter Mary Jane was born on May 22, 1985.
On February 23, 1999, Maura received a phone call from the accused-appellant. At that time, she was in Manila, working as a household helper. He told her that he beat their daughter, Mary Jane, and that she was sick. However, after the said call, somebody rang her up and informed her that the accused-appellant did not only beat Mary Jane but also raped her. Maura rushed to Romblon to verify the information.
At their house, she had a confrontation with the accused-appellant. She grabbed him and gave him several blows. She cried hysterically and asked why he raped their daughter. The accused-appellant remained silent. When she repeatedly asked whether he raped their daughter, he finally broke down and said "yes."
The defense was a mere denial.
The accused-appellant testified that he was in barangay Mabulo the whole month of September 1996. Sometimes he stayed in the mountains in their plantation, and at other times, in their house. He denied raping the complainant. He claimed he whipped her on February 16, 1999 because she slept in another person's house. He denied the confrontation that took place between him and his wife when she arrived from Manila. He claimed that they did not have an occasion to talk because the DSWD immediately took his wife into custody.
Charita de Asis, younger sister of the accused-appellant, testified that the complainant was beaten up by the accused-appellant because the complainant lied about her whereabouts at nights when she did not sleep in their house. Charita claimed that the victim would watch betamax shows without asking permission from the accused-appellant and, after the shows, she would sleep in other houses because she feared the accused-appellant. Charita denied that the complainant slept in her house as she claimed. Nonetheless, Charita admitted that she did not know if the accused-appellant really raped the complainant because their house is about 1/2 kilometer away from hers.
The trial court found the accused-appellant guilty as charged of four (4) counts of rape. The dispositive portion of its judgment reads:
"WHEREFORE, this Court finds the accused (appellant) CRISTITUTO GUARDIAN GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of four (4) counts of rape and is hereby sentenced to suffer the supreme penalty of death for each count of rape, as well as to pay MARY JANE GUARDIAN P50,000.00 for each count of rape, or a total of P200,000.00 as civil indemnity, and an additional amount of P100,000.00 as moral damages.
xxx xxx xxx
The case is with this Court for automatic review. The accused-appellant assigns one error:
"THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN CONVICTING ACCUSED-APPELLANT OF FOUR (4) COUNTS OF RAPE WHEN HIS GUILT HAS NOT BEEN PROVEN BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT."
The decision is affirmed with modifications.
The accused-appellant claims that it is incredible that the complainant would remain silent about the sexual assaults for a long period of time, i.e., from September 1996 up to February 1999. She had several opportunities to reveal the rapes to her relatives, but she kept silent. She reported the rapes only after she was beaten up. He surmises that the complainant fabricated the rape charges to get even with him.
We are not persuaded. It is not unnatural for young rape victims to conceal for some time their ordeals. Most of the time, they choose to suffer silently due to the threats made by their assailants, especially when the molesters are their own ascendants. Parent molesters have moral ascendancy over their children that could lead them to bear in silence their defilements.
In the case at bar, the complainant is a young naive girl. She was even, at first, unaware that the sexual violations committed against her by the accused-appellant were wrong. The evidence shows that he threatened to kill her and her family if she would report the rapes to anyone. She had reason to fear him for her mother was then in Manila too far to protect her. Her eldest brother had ran away from home due to the cruelty of the accused-appellant. Her only companions were her younger siblings who could not protect her. Trapped in a seemingly hopeless situation, it would be too much to expect the young complainant to act like an adult and do what is expected of mature people.
It is inconceivable that the complainant would fabricate the rape charges against the accused-appellant just to get even with him. Even when consumed with revenge, it would take a certain amount of psychological depravity for a young woman to concoct a story that would put her own father for most of his remaining life in jail, if not put him to death, and drag herself and the rest of her family to a lifetime of shame. In charging the accused-appellant, she simply told the truth. She testified as follows:
"Q: Do you realized (sic) that by filing this case against your father, he may go to prison?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: And you also know that he is now in prison?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: You also realized (sic) that the penalty that may be imposed on him is death by lethal injection?
A: Yes, sir (Witness crying).
Q: Do you think that he deserves that penalty?
A: Yes, he did that to me even though I am his own daughter.
Q: You said that the first time this thing was done to you by your father, you did not realize that it was wrong, did you say that?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: And even when he did it to you in the year 1997, you did not also realize that it was wrong?
A: No, sir.
Q: So you just went along with your father because it was not wrong?
A: I did not like it but he was forcing me and I was afraid that he might kill my siblings and mother.
Q: When did you realize that what your father was doing to you was wrong?
A: When I went to the barangay captain, he said, do not worry, tell me everything and somebody will help you, the DSWD, and your very wicked father will go to jail.
Q: That was on February 22, 1999?
Q: So, from September 1996 to January of 1999, you thought that there was nothing wrong, what your father was doing to you was not wrong?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: If these things that your father was doing to you was (sic) regular every month of every year, so (you) must have enjoyed what your father was doing to you?
A: No, sir.
Q: Do you know what is conscience?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: What is it in your understanding?
A: I was bothered by my conscience because I have a mother and why he is (sic) doing it to me.
xxx xxx xxx
Q: Now that your father was (sic) in prison, have you not even thought of forgiving him?
A: No, sir.
Q: Has he not ever asked for forgiveness?
A: No, sir, as a matter of fact, he even said that in court no truth comes out, only lies.
xxx xxx xxx
Q: There are no lies in what you told us?
A: Would I file this case if it is not true?
Q: Do you realize now, what we are seeking here is the truth?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: We do not like lies in this Court, do you realize now in this Court, we do not like lies?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: And if your father tells us that he did not rape you, that could not be true?
A: No, sir." (italics ours)
Be that as it may, we find that the prosecution was able to prove only the three (3) rapes committed in September 1996, February 11, 1999 and February 16, 1999. The complainant testified as follows:
"Q: At 10:00 o'clock during that month of September 1996, while you were in your house, what happened?
A: That month and on that year my father started to rape me.
Q: Can you not give us the exact date during that month of September 1996?
A: I cannot remember anymore the exact date of September 1996.
Q: We would like to put on record that the witness is shedding tears already.
That is correct.
PROS. SY continuing:
Q: Will you relate to us what your father did sometime during the month of September 1996 at around 10:00 o'clock?
A: At 10:00 o'clock in the evening of September 1996, I was sleeping in our house at Mabulo, San Fernando, Romblon, while I was sleeping I felt somebody was undressing me.
Q: Please go on.
A: My father took off my panty and my shorts.
Q: What else did he do to you if he did any?
A: He mashed (hinipo-an) my breast and forcibly inserted his penis into my vagina.
Q: What, if any, did your father say to you when he was doing that?
A: "Don't be mistaken in telling your mother because I would kill you all."
Q: At that time, how old are (sic) you?
A: Eleven (11) years old.
Q: Did you make any protest?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: What did you do?
A: I cried and I was kicking him.
Q: That night, on that month, sometimes (sic) on the month of September 1996, how many times did your father insert his penis to your vagina?
A: Only once.
Q: Now, have you tell (sic) anybody what your father did, that month of September 1996?
A: I was scared and I did not know also that what he was doing was bad (Witness crying).
Q: Now, did your father, papa, repeated (sic) what he did to you in September 1996?
A: Not anymore but since October 1996 until February 1999, I cannot count anymore how many times he raped me, sir.
Q: You made mention of February 1999, what happened on (sic) February, particularly February 11, 1999?
A: He also raped me.
Q: Where was your mother at that time?
A: At (sic) Manila working.
Q: What time of the day when he did that to you?
A: Nighttime but I cannot remember the hour.
Q: So, what precisely your father do (sic) to you on that February 11, 1999?
A: He was drunk, he was rough in raping me and he always hurt me or maltreat me.
Q: On February 11, 1999, you said that your father 'roughly raped me,' ravished, why did he do that?
A: He was forcing me and he was even holding a bolo.
Q: So he was holding a bolo and he was forcing you, then what did he do?
A: He undressed me.
Q: And what else?
A: He forcibly inserted his penis into my vagina.
xxx xxx xxx
Q: How about on February 16, 1999, what did your father do to you?
A: He was already maltreating me as I sustained bruises and hematoma.
Q: Aside from that, what did your father do on the 16th of February?
A: He also forcibly raped me.
Q: How did he do that?
A: He forcibly undressed me and he also forcibly inserted his penis into my vagina although I was crying then.
Q: And did you report this or did you relate to anybody what your father was doing to you up to that time?
A: I did not tell it to anybody.
A: Because I was afraid he might kill us."
Clearly, the accused-appellant used force and intimidation to have carnal knowledge of the complainant on the dates aforementioned.
The medical certificate issued by Dr. Leticia Chan supports complainant's charges against the accused-appellant. It showed that (1) the victim's hymen was perforated and (2) the vaginal introitus (opening) easily admits speculum and the doctor's two fingers with a slight degree of resistance. Dr. Chan noted multiple lacerations on the victim's hymen in scattered directions. She opined that it was possible that the lacerations on the hymen and the laxity of the vaginal opening could have been due to repeated sexual intercourse.
We hold, however, that the rape allegedly committed on February 13, 1999 was not proved beyond reasonable doubt. The testimony of the complainant relating to this particular incident leaves much to be desired. It is too niggardly in details. She testified as follows:
"Q: Was this act by your father repeated?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: When was that?
A: February 13 and 16.
Q: Of what year?
Q: And where were you at that time when your father did that to you?
A: At our house in Barangay Mabulo.
Q: And your mother, where was your mother on February 13 and 16, 1999?
A: In Manila.
Q: On February 13, what precisely did your father do to you?
A: The same also on the 11th."
We stress that every charge of rape is a distinct and separate crime and each must be proved beyond reasonable doubt. The bare allegation of the victim that she was raped on February 13, 1999, without giving any further details on how said dastardly act was committed is inadequate to establish the guilt of the accused-appellant.
The accused-appellant further contends that, even assuming that he is guilty as charged, he should be meted with only one (1) death sentence because the Information was defective on the ground that it charged more than one offense. He cites Section 18, Rule 117 of the
Again, we are not persuaded. As a rule, a complaint or information must charge only one offense, except when the law prescribes a single punishment for various offenses. In the case at bar, the Information indeed charged four (4) offenses of rape against the accused-appellant. Nonetheless, he waived the defect in the Information when he did not move to quash it before he pled not guilty to the charges. Thus, the accused-appellant could be convicted of as many offenses as are charged and proved.
We now review the penalties imposed against the accused-appellant on the three (3) rapes proven at bar.
We hold that the trial court erred in imposing the death penalty on the accused-appellant. Under minority and her relationship with the offender must be properly alleged in the Information and proved by sufficient evidence at the trial. The case law requires that the age of the minor victim must be clearly stated in the Information. The allegation in the Information that the complainant is the accused-appellant's "minor daughter" is insufficient. The accused-appellant's admission that he is the father of the complainant and that she was born on May 22, 1985, hence, under eighteen (18) years of age at the time of the commission of the rape cannot cure the defect. Accordingly, the accused-appellant should be sentenced to reclusion perpetua for each count of rape proved at bar.
As for the civil liabilities of the accused-appellant, we affirm the civil indemnity in the amount of P50,000.00 for each count of rape. As regards the moral damages awarded in the amount of P100,000.00, the current amount awarded is P50,000 for each count of rape. Thus, the total amount of moral damages should be P150,000.00. In addition, we consider the alternative circumstance of relationship as an aggravating circumstance for purposes of awarding exemplary damages. Accordingly, the accused-appellant should be held liable to pay exemplary damages in the amount of P25,000.00 for each count of rape.
IN VIEW WHEREOF, the decision of the Regional Trial Court of Romblon, Branch 81, in Criminal Case No. 2146, finding the accused-appellant CRISTITUTO GUARDIAN guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of rape in four (4) counts is modified as follows:
1. The accused-appellant is ACQUITTED of the rape allegedly committed on February 13, 1999, due to insufficiency of evidence;
2. The accused-appellant is found guilty of the rapes committed in September 1996, and on February 11, 1999 and February 16, 1999, but the death penalties imposed by the trial court are reduced to reclusion perpetua;
3. The civil indemnity awarded to the complainant, in the amount of P50,000.00 for each count of rape is AFFIRMED, thus, the accused-appellant should pay a total of P150,000.00, not P200,000.00, for the rapes he committed on September 1996, February 11, 1999 and February 16, 1999;
4. The moral damages awarded to the complainant, in the total amount of P100,000.00 is INCREASED to P150,000.00; and
5. Exemplary damages in the amount of P25,000.00 for each rape committed in September 1996, on February 11, 1999 and February 16, 1999, or a total amount of P75,000.00, is further ordered to be paid by the accused-appellant to the complainant.
No pronouncement as to costs.
Davide, Jr., C.J., Bellosillo, Vitug, Kapunan, Mendoza, Panganiban, Quisumbing, Ynares-Santiago, Sandoval-Gutierrez, Carpio, Austria-Martinez and Corona, JJ., concur.
1. Original Records, p. 1.
2. Certificate of Arraignment, Original Records, p. 11.
3. Pre-trial Order, dated July 28, 1999, Original Records, pp. 19-20.
4. TSN, Mary Jane Guardian, September 13, 1999, p. 5.
5. TSN, Maura Carmona Guardian, October 15, 1999, p. 3.
6. Id., pp. 7-8.
7. Id., pp. 13-15.
8. Id., September 14, 1999, pp. 2-5.
9. TSN, Mary Jane Guardian, September 13, 1999, pp. 8-9.
10. Id., p. 9.
11. TSN, Dr. Leticia Chan, October 4, 1999, pp. 5-8.
12. Id., pp. 10-14.
13. Exh. "A", Original Records, p. 50.
14. TSN, Maura Carmona Guardian, October 15, 1999, p. 3.
15. Id., p. 6.
16. TSN, Charita de Asis, December 13, 1999, pp. 6-7.
17. Id., pp. 3-4.
18. Rollo, pp. 19-31.
19. , 323 SCRA 13 (2000); , 323 SCRA 131 (2000).
20. , 327 SCRA 56 (2000); , 329 SCRA 21 (2000); 332 SCRA 37 (2000).
21. , 332 SCRA 499 (2000).
22. , 341 SCRA 502 (2000).
23. , 307 SCRA 330, 346 (1999).
24. TSN, Mary Jane Guardian, September 13, 1999, pp. 15-17.
25. TSN, Mary Jane Guardian, September 13, 1999, pp. 6-10.
26. Exh. "B", Original Records, p. 50.
27. TSN, Dr. Leticia Chan, October 14, 1999, pp. 10-13.
28. TSN, Mary Jane Guardian, September 13, 1999, p. 9.
29. , 319 SCRA 743 (1999), cited in , 350 SCRA 716 (2001).
31. Sec. 13 of Rule 110,
32. Sec. 3 (f) of Rule 117, id.
33. , 320 SCRA 775, 782-783 (1999), citing , 247 SCRA 583 (1995); Sec. 9 of Rule 117,
34. Sec. 3 of Rule 120,
35. , 308 SCRA 356 (1999).
36. , 340 SCRA 92 (2000).
39. Art. 15,
40. , 334 SCRA 655 (2000).