Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Proof of a person's indebtedness to the judgment debtor.

Proof of a person's indebtedness to the judgment debtor may be in an affidavit or some other form so long as the judge is satisfied. Moreover, that proof other than an affidavit is sufficient, is clear from the 1997 Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure. Section 37 of Rule 39 provides that proof to the satisfaction of the court is sufficient to cause an examination of a judgment debtor's debtor.




THIRD DIVISION

G.R. No. 132245           
January 2, 2002

PNB MANAGEMENT and DEVELOPMENT CORP. (PNB MADECOR), petitioner, vs. R&R METAL CASTING and FABRICATING, INC., respondent.

QUISUMBING, J.:

Before us is a petition for review on certiorari seeking to annul the decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. No.49955, dated September 22, 1997,1 and its resolution dated December 29, 19972 denying reconsideration of said decision. The Court of Appeals affirmed the order of the Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch 7, in Civil Case No.93-66675 that allowed the garnishment of amounts owed by petitioner to Pantranco North Express, Inc., respondent's judgment debtor.

It appears that on November 19,1993, respondent R&R Metal Casting and Fabricating, Inc. (R&R) obtained a judgment in its favor against Pantranco North Express, Inc. (PNEI). PNEI was ordered to pay respondent P213, 050 plus interest as actual damages, P50,000 as exemplary damages, 25 percent of the total amount payable as attorney's fees, and the costs of suit.3

However, the writ of execution was returned unsatisfied since the sheriff did not find any property of PNEI recorded at the Registries of Deeds of the different cities of Metro Manila. Neither did the sheriff receive a reply to the notice of garnishment he sent to PNB-Escolta.4

On March 27, 1995, respondent filed with the trial court a motion for the issuance of subpoenae duces tecum and ad testificandum requiring petitioner PNB Management and Development Corp. (PNB MADECOR) to produce and testify on certain documents pertaining to transactions between petitioner and PNEI from 1981 to 1995.

From the testimony of the representative of PNB MADECOR, it was discovered that NAREDECO, petitioner's forerunner, executed a promissory note in favor of PNEI for P7.8 million, and that PNB MADECOR also had receivables from PNEI in the form of unpaid rentals amounting to more than P7.5 million.

On the basis of said testimony, respondent filed with the trial court a motion for the application of funds or properties of PNEI, its judgment debtor, in the hands of PNB MADECOR for the satisfaction of the judgment in favor of respondent. Petitioner opposed the motion on the following grounds: (1) respondent failed to present the sheriff's return that would show that the writ of execution was unsatisfied; (2) petitioner's payables to PNEI under the promissory note were not yet due and demandable; (3) assuming the payables to be due and demandable, the obligation would be deemed extinguished by operation of law since PNEI is also indebted to petitioner in the form of unpaid rentals; and (4) the trial court cannot order the application of PNEI's payables to the judgment in favor of respondent, because petitioner has an adverse claim over said funds, in accordance with Section 45, Rule 39 of the Rules of Court.5

On May 22, 1995, the trial court issued an order garnishing the amount owed by petitioner to PNEI under the promissory note, to satisfy the judgment against PNEI and in favor of respondent.6 Petitioner appealed said order to the Court of Appeals, which affirmed the same in a decision dated September 22, 1997. The appellate court also denied petitioner's motion for reconsideration in a resolution dated December 29, 1997.

Hence, this petition, in which petitioner asserts that the Court of Appeals erred:

I

...IN THE INTERPRETATION OF THE RULES OF COURT WHEN IT RULED THA TAN AFFIDAVIT IS NOT A CONDITION PRECEDENT TO AN EXAMINATION OF A DEBTOR OF A JUDGMENT DEBTOR AS MENTIONED UNDER SECTION 39, RULE 39 OF THE RULES OF COURT.

II

...IN RULING THAT A DEMAND WAS MADE BY PNEI TO PETITIONER PNB MADECOR FOR THE PAYMENT OF THE PROMISSORY NOTE DATED 31 OCTOBER 1982.

III

...WHEN IT RULED THAT THE REQUISITES FOR LEGAL COMPENSATION AS SET FORTH UNDER ARTICLES 1277 AND 1278 OF THE CIVIL CODE DO NOT CONCUR IN THE CASE AT BAR.

IV

...[WHEN IT] MISCONSTRUED THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 45, RULE 39 OF THE RULES OF COURT BY RULING THAT PETITIONER PNB-MADECOR, UPON BEING CITED IN AND SERVED WITH A NOTICE OF GARNISHMENT BECAME A FORCED INTERVENOR. HENCE, DENYING THE RIGHT OF THE LATTER TO VENTILATE ITS POSITION IN FULL-BLOWN TRIAL.7

At the outset, we note that petitioner had previously come before this Court raising the same issues it is raising now, in the case of PNB MADECOR v. Gerardo C. Uy, G.R. No.129598, promulgated on August 15, 2001. The respondent therein was different but the facts are essentially the same: respondent was PNEI's judgment debtor who sought to garnish petitioner's receivables from PNEI. Petitioner opposed, claiming legal compensation, and asserting that it could not have become a forced intervenor in the case by virtue of the order of garnishment. Petitioner likewise pointed out in that earlier case that PNEI had not made any demand for payment of the amount owed under the promissory note. The alleged demand letter sent by PNEI to PNB MADECOR in this case is the same demand letter that was presented in evidence in the previous case.8

The only issue that was not raised in the earlier case but is raised here is the alleged necessity of an affidavit stating that the judgment had not been satisfied, before a third party may be examined as regards its debt to the judgment debtor, pursuant to Section 39, Rule 39 of the Rules of Court (prior to its amendment in 1997).

The rule cited by petitioner provides:

SEC. 39. Examination of debtor of judgment debtor. -- After an execution against the property of a judgment debtor has been returned unsatisfied in whole or in part, and upon proof, by affidavit of a party or otherwise, to the satisfaction of the judge, that a person, corporation, or other legal entity has property of such judgment debtor, or is indebted to him, the judge may, by an order, require such person, corporation, or other legal entity, or any officer or member thereof, to appear before the judge, or a commissioner appointed by him, at a time and place within the province in which the order is served, to answer concerning the same. The service of the order shall bind all credits due the judgment debtor and all money and property of the judgment debtor in the possession or in the control of such person, corporation, or legal entity from the time of service; and the judge may also require notice of such proceedings to be given to any party to the action in such manner as he may deem proper. (Underscoring supplied.)

Petitioner apparently confuses a sheriff s return with the affidavit, or other proof, stating that another person is indebted to the judgment debtor. The cited rule does not refer to a sheriffs return that states whether or not the judgment has been satisfied. Rather, it speaks of an affidavit, or some other proof, that a third person is indebted to, or has property of, a judgment debtor.

Petitioner insists that an "affidavit of sheriffs return" must be presented before petitioner, the debtor of the judgment debtor, may be examined concerning its debt. It asserts that the phrase "by affidavit of a party or otherwise" means either an affidavit executed by a party to the litigation, or an affidavit executed by a third person. Petitioner is evidently only stretching the meaning of the rule to serve its purpose. The rule is clear: proof of a person's indebtedness to the judgment debtor may be in an affidavit or some other form, so long as the judge is satisfied. We cannot read into the rule what simply is not there. Moreover, that proof other than an affidavit is sufficient is clear from the 1997 Revised Rules of Civil Procedure. As pointed out by respondent, the present Section 37 of Rule 39 provides that "proof to the satisfaction of the court" is sufficient to cause an examination .of a judgment debtor's debtor.

As regards the second, third, and fourth issues raised by petitioner, we have squarely ruled on the same in the earlier case of PNB MADECOR v. Gerardo C. Uy, G.R. No. 129598, August 15,2001.

We find, however, that legal compensation could not have occurred because of the absence of one requisite in this case: that both debts must be due and demandable.

The CA observed:

Under the terms of the promissory note, failure on the part of NAREDECO (PNB MADECOR) to pay the value of the instrument 'after due notice has been made by PNEI would entitle PNEI to collect an 18% [interest] per annum from date of notice of demand.

Petitioner makes a similar assertion in its petition, that

xxx It has been stipulated that the promissory note shall earn an interest of 18% per annum in case NAREDECO, after notice, fails to pay the amount stated therein.

Petitioner's obligation to PNEI appears to be payable on demand, following the above observation made by the CA and the assertion made by petitioner. Petitioner is obligated to pay the amount stated in the promissory note upon receipt of a notice to pay from PNEI. If petitioner fails to pay after such notice, the obligation will earn an interest of 18 percent per annum.

Respondent alleges that PNEI had already demanded payment. The alleged demand letter reads in part:

We wish to inform you that as of August 31, 1984 your outstanding accounts amounted to PI0,376,078.67, inclusive of interest.

In accordance with our previous arrangement, we have conveyed in favor of the Philippine National Bank P7,884,921.10 of said receivables from you. With this conveyance, the unpaid balance of your account will be P2,491,157.57.

To forestall further accrual of interest, we request that you take up with PNB the implementation of said arrangement. xxx

We agree with petitioner that this letter was not one demanding payment, but one that merely informed petitioner of (l) the conveyance of a certain portion of its obligation to PNEI per a dacion en pago arrangement between PNEI and PNB, and (2) the unpaid balance of its obligation after deducting the amount conveyed to PNB. The import of this letter is not that PNEI was demanding payment, but that PNEI was advising petitioner to settle the matter of implementing the earlier arrangement with PNB.

xxx

Since petitioner's obligation to PNEI is payable on demand, and there being no demand made, it follows that the obligation is not yet due. Therefore, this obligation may not be subject to compensation for lack of a requisite under the law. Without compensation having taken place, petitioner remains obligated to PNEI to the extent stated in the promissory note. This obligation may undoubtedly be garnished in favor of respondent to satisfy PNEI's judgment debt.9 (Citations appearing in the original omitted. )

There is another alleged demand letter on record, dated January 24, 1990.10 It was addressed to Atty. Domingo A. Santiago, Jr., Senior Vice President and Chief Legal Counsel of PNB, and signed by Manuel Vijungco, chairman of the Board of Directors of PNEI. In said letter, PNEI requested offsetting of accounts between petitioner and PNEI. However, PNEI's own Assistant General Manager for Finance at that time, Atty .Loreto N. Tang, testified that the letter was not a demand letter.11

On the issue of whether or not petitioner became a forced intervenor in this case, we said in the earlier PNB MADECOR case:

...petitioner contends that it did not become a forced intervenor in the present case even after being served with a notice of garnishment. Petitioner argues that the correct procedure would have been for respondent to file a separate action against PNB MADECOR, per Section 43 of Rule 39 of the Rules of Court.12 Petitioner insists it was denied its right to ventilate its claims in a separate, full-blown trial when the courts a quo ruled that the abovementioned rule was inapplicable to the present case.

On this score, we had occasion to rule as early as 1921 in Tayabas Land Co. v. Sharruf,3 as follows:

...garnishment. ..consists in the citation of some stranger to the litigation, who is debtor to one of the parties to the action. By this means such debtor stranger becomes a forced intervenor; and the court, having acquired jurisdiction over his person by means of citation, requires him to pay his debt, not to his former creditor, but to the new creditor, who is creditor in the main litigation. It is merely a case of involuntary novation by the substitution of one creditor for another. Upon principle the remedy is a species of attachment or execution for reaching any property pertaining to a judgment debtor which may be found owing to such debtor by a third person.

Again, in Perla Compania de Seguros, Inc. v. Ramolete,14 we declared:

Through service of the writ of garnishment, the garnishee becomes a "virtual party" to, or a "forced intervenor" in, the case and the trial court thereby acquires jurisdiction to bind him to compliance with all orders and processes of the trial court with a view to the complete satisfaction of the judgment of the court.

xxx

There is no need for the institution of a separate action under Rule 39, Section 43, contrary to petitioner's claim. This provision contemplates a situation where the person allegedly holding property of (or indebted to) the judgment debtor claims an adverse interest in the property ( or denies the debt). In this case, petitioner expressly admits its obligation to PNEI.15 (Citations appearing in the original adjusted to conform to present decision.)

Petitioner, in fact, actively participated in the proceedings before the trial court by appearing during hearings, examining witnesses, and filing pleadings.16 It cannot now claim that it was denied the opportunity to present its side in a full-blown trial.

WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The assailed decision and resolution of the Court of Appeals are AFFIRMED.

SO ORDERED.

Bellosillo, Mendoza, De Leon, Jr., JJ., concur.
Buena, J., on official leave.


Footnote

1 Rollo, pp. 39-48.
2 Id. at 50-51
3 Id. at 40.
4 Records, p. 101.
5 Rollo, p.16.
6 Records, pp. 208-209.
7 Rollo, pp. 19-20.
8 Records, p. 130.
9 PNB MADECOR v. Gerardo C. Uy, G.R. No. 129598, August 15,2001, pp. 12-14.
10 Records, pp. 148-149.
11 TSN, April 19, 1995, p. 26.
12 SEC. 43. Proceedings when indebtedness denied or another person claims the property. --If it appears that a person or corporation, alleged to have property of the judgment obligor or to be indebted to him, claims an interest in the property adverse to him or denies the debt, the court may authorize, by an order made to that effect, the judgment obligee to institute an action against such person or corporation for the recovery of such interest or debt, forbid a transfer or other disposition of such interest or debt within one hundred twenty (120) days from notice of the order, and may punish disobedience of such order as for contempt. Such order may be modified or vacated at any time by the court, which issued it, or by the court, in which the action is brought, upon such terms as may be just.
13 41 Phil. 382,387 (1921). This was reiterated in ... v. Barredo, 13 SCRA 744,746 (1965).
14 203 SCRA 487,492 (1991).
15 PNBMADECOR v. Gerardo C. Uy, supra, note 9, pp. 16-17.
16 See, e.g., records, pp. 97, 100, 108, 150-151, 155-168, 171-178. See also TSN, April 6, 1995, and TSN, April 16, 1995.

Examination of a child witness, Remedial Law

"The trend in procedural law is to give wide latitude to the courts in exercising control over the questioning of a child witness. The reasons are spelled out in our Rule on Examination of a Child Witness, which took effect on December 15, 2000, namely, (1) to facilitate the ascertainment of the truth, (2) to ensure that questions are stated in a form appropriate to the developmental level of the child, (3) to protect children from harassment or undue embarrassment, and (4) avoid waste of time. Leading questions in all stages of examination of a child are allowed if the same will further the interests of justice."



G.R. No. 137385               
January 23, 2002

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. RODITO DAGANIO, accused-appellant.

D E C I S I O N

PER CURIAM:

Accused-appellant Rodito Daganio, Sr., was charged with rape by his minor daughter, Virgie Daganio.1 The Information2 against him reads:

"That on or about the 6th day of September 1994, at Sapad, Lanao del Norte, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously, by means of force, violence and intimidation, to wit: by then and there threatening to kill one VIRGIE DAGANIO if she will resist and report to her mother accused’s criminal designs, and thereafter lie with and have carnal knowledge of said VIRGIE DAGANIO, his 11 YEAR OLD daughter, against her will and consent.

CONTRARY to and in VIOLATION of Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code."

When arraigned, the accused-appellant entered a plea of not guilty.3 Trial on the merits followed.

The prosecution evidence came chiefly from the victim, Virgie Daganio, the victim’s mother, Laureta Daganio, and the examining physician, Dr. William Canoy.

The victim testified that her father (accused-appellant) raped her several times in their house. Her first defilement was in the month of December, but she could no longer recall what year it was.

The second rape took place in the evening of September 6, 1994. She was then 11 years old. That night, her mother (Laureta) was in Pikalawag, Lanao del Norte. The victim was playing with her younger siblings when the accused-appellant told her to go inside the house. She obeyed him. Inside their house, the accused-appellant first placed his finger in her vagina because it was too small. Next, he inserted his penis. Half of the penis penetrated her.4 After the sexual assault, he warned her not to tell anyone about the rape or he would cut her neck. Despite the threat, the victim related her harrowing experience to her mother, Laureta Daganio.5

The victim claimed that even before she was raped by the accused-appellant, her parents would quarrel a lot because the accused-appellant was always drunk. Sometimes her parents would fight because the accused-appellant "touched" her. There were also instances when the accused-appellant would hit Laureta with fist blows during their heated arguments.6

Laureta Daganio testified that the victim was eleven years old at the time the accused-appellant raped her. She further claimed that accused-appellant also raped their other daughter, Rita Daganio, when the latter was 15 years old. Laureta forgave the accused-appellant then. However, when she learned of the similar plight of the victim in the hands of the accused-appellant, she reported the incident to the authorities and assisted the victim in filing the complaint for rape against the accused-appellant.7

Dr. William Canoy testified that he conducted a medical examination on the victim on September 15, 1994. There were no fresh wounds in the vagina, although he found edema (slight swelling emission of the skin) around the victim’s labia majora and healed lacerations in the hymen at 6, 7, 1 and 8 o’clock positions. He opined that the edema could have been caused by hard or blunt objects or by a man’s penis.8

The accused-appellant denied the accusations of the victim. He claimed that on September 6, 1994, he was ill so he stayed in bed the whole day. When asked if he sexually molested the victim on said date, he replied that he did not know if he did because of his fever. He declared that he loves Laureta and that their relationship before September 6, 1994 was harmonious. He alleged that he never quarreled with her. He claimed he did not know why she filed the rape case against him.9

After trial, the court a quo rendered its judgment,10 finding the accused-appellant guilty as charged. He was sentenced to suffer the supreme penalty of death and ordered to indemnify the victim in the amount of Php 50,000.00.

Hence, the automatic review of the case.

The accused-appellant contends that:

"I.

THE COURT A QUO ERRED IN GIVING CREDENCE TO THE TESTIMONY OF VERGIE (sic) DAGANIO.

II.

THE COURT A QUO ERRED IN CONVICTING THE ACCUSED (APPELLANT) NOTWITHSTANDING THE FAILURE OF THE PROSECUTION TO PROVE HIS GUILT BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT."

We affirm the assailed judgment.

The accused-appellant claims that the prosecution propounded leading questions on the victim. He asserts that had the trial court sustained the timely objections of his counsel, the victim would not have been able to establish the rape. We are not persuaded.

It is true that leading questions are generally not allowed and have little probative value. However, Section 10, Rule 132 of the Rules of Court11 provides:

"Sec. 10. Leading and misleading questions. - A question which suggests to the witness the answer which the examining party desires is a leading question. It is not allowed, except:

x x x           x x x          x x x

(c) When there is difficulty in getting direct and intelligible answers from a witness who is ignorant, or a child of tender years, or is of feeble mind, or a deaf mute.

x x x           x x x          x x x."

In the case at bar, the victim was twelve (12) years old when she testified in court. When most children her age were already in Grade VI of elementary education, she was only in Grade III. We can also glean from her testimony that she could not grasp the legal concept of "rape." Thus, the trial judge correctly allowed the prosecutor to ask leading questions to ferret out the truth.

The trend in procedural law is to give wide latitude to the courts in exercising control over the questioning of a child witness. The reasons are spelled out in our Rule on Examination of a Child Witness,12 which took effect on December 15, 2000, namely, (1) to facilitate the ascertainment of the truth, (2) to ensure that questions are stated in a form appropriate to the developmental level of the child, (3) to protect children from harassment or undue embarrassment, and (4) avoid waste of time. Leading questions in all stages of examination of a child are allowed if the same will further the interests of justice.

The totality of the evidence presented shows beyond reasonable doubt that the accused-appellant raped the victim on September 6, 1994. During the cross-examination, the victim gave a detailed and candid account of the rape incident. She testified as follows:13

"(ATTY. GUBAT):
Q: You said that your father used his fingers, how did your father used (sic) his fingers in raping you?

(VIRGIE):
A: He placed his fingers and his penis into my vagina.

Q: And your father’s fingers and penis were entrusted (sic) to your vagina at the same time is that right?
A: A little.

Q: What do you mean by a little?
A: It’s half.

Q: What do you mean by half?
A: Half of the penis.

Q: You said your father used his fingers, how many fingers were used?
A: Only one.

Q: Which of the fingers?
A: In the left hand.

Q: Which of the fingers in the left hand?
A: The middle finger.

Q: Have you seen the penis of your father?
A: Yes, sir."

(emphases ours)

The accused-appellant points out that Dr. William Canoy did not find fresh wounds on the genitalia of the victim. Allegedly, the absence of said wounds creates a doubt on her claim that she was raped on September 6, 1994. We disagree.

The records clearly show that accused-appellant had carnal knowledge of the victim. Dr. Canoy categorically stated that he found swelling in the genitalia of the victim that could have been caused by a male organ. The medical findings of the physician also showed that she had lacerations in her vagina at 6, 7, 1 and 8 o’clock positions.14 Said lacerations, whether healed or fresh, are the best physical evidence of forcible defloration.15

To discredit the victim, the accused-appellant claims it was easy for the victim to shout and ask for help as her siblings were in the vicinity when the rape took place. She did not. Thus, he submits that her accusations do not deserve credit. The allegation lacks merit.

A rape victim’s testimony is entitled to greater weight when she accuses a close relative of having raped her.16 Indeed, a young girl would not ordinarily file a complaint against anybody, much less her own father, if it were not true.17 Thus, the victim’s revelation that she had been raped, coupled with her voluntary submission to medical examination and willingness to undergo public trial where she could be compelled to give out details on an assault to her dignity cannot be dismissed as mere concoction.18

We also take judicial notice, and it can be considered of public knowledge, that the scene of the rape is not always or necessarily isolated or secluded. Lust is no respecter of time or place.19 It goes against human experience that a girl would fabricate a story which would drag herself as well as her family to a lifetime of dishonor, unless that is the truth, for her natural instinct is to protect her honor. More so, where her charges could mean the death of her own father, as in this case.20 Undoubtedly, the accused-appellant was correctly found guilty of raping his daughter.

Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by Section 11 of R.A. No. 7659, reads:

"The death penalty shall also be imposed if the crime of rape is committed with any of the following attendant circumstances:

1. when the victim is under eighteen (18) years of age and the offender is a parent x x x ."

We have always stressed the rule that the minority of the victim and her relationship to the accused must be duly alleged and proved to justify the imposition of the death penalty.21 In some cases,22 we did not mete out the death penalty for failure of the prosecution to present the minor’s birth certificate or for non-presentation of independent evidence that would prove the victim’s age.

In the case at bar, the information alleged that the victim was then eleven (11) years old. This fact was established through the testimony of the victim’s own mother, Laureta Daganio, and admitted by the defense at the trial that the presentation of the victim’s Certificate of Live Birth was dispensed with at the instance of the defense counsel.23 Being the victim’s mother, Laureta Daganio has personal knowledge of the age of the victim. Thus, we fully agree with the trial court that the minority of the victim was duly established. We do not doubt her because there was no showing that she was motivated by ill feelings to accuse her own husband of a grievous offense.

In the case of People vs. Dela Cruz,24 this Court has also relied on the testimony of the victims’ mother as to the minority of her daughters and imposed the death penalty on the accused. We held:

"In the case at bar, however, the prosecution proved the minority age of the victims beyond reasonable doubt. Delia, the victim’s mother, categorically testified in the hearing of October 9, 1996, that her daughters were both fourteen (14) years of age at the time of the rape incidents complained of. Thus:

x x x           x x x          x x x

There is no reason to doubt Delia's testimony. As a mother, she has personal knowledge of the ages of her children. Her testimony was never challenged by the accused who could have presented the victims’ birth certificates. Delia’s testimony stood unrebutted by any other evidence. To be sure, this is not the first time that the Court is relying on the testimony of the victim’s mother to establish the minority age of the victim. In People vs. Balgos, where the rape victim was six (6) years of age, we relied on the testimony of the victim’s mother to prove the victim’s age. Reposing trust on the testimony of the victim’s mother, we imposed the death penalty on the accused-appellant."

Stare decisis et non quieta movere.25 The doctrine leaves us no choice but to apply the full force of the law and impose the supreme penalty of death on the accused-appellant. As in the case of Dela Cruz, supra, we have no reason to doubt the sincerity of the victim’s mother when she told the trial court that her daughter was only eleven (11) years old when the accused-appellant raped her.

We note that the trial court awarded civil indemnity to the victim in the amount of Php 50,000.00. The present rule is to award civil indemnity in the amount of at least Php 75,000.00.00 as the rape was qualified by any of the circumstances under which the death penalty is authorized under R.A. No. 7659.26

Further, the victim is entitled to moral damages, in the amount of Php 50,000.00 and exemplary damages, in the amount of Php 25,000.00. In rape cases, moral damages may be awarded to the victim in the criminal proceeding in such amount as the Court deems just, without the need for pleading or proof of the basis thereof. The fact that the complainant has suffered the scars of mental, physical and psychological trauma which constitute the basis for moral damages are too obvious to still require the recital thereof at the trial by the victim, since the Court itself even assume and acknowledge such agony on her part as a gauge of her credibility.27 Exemplary damages, on the other hand, may be imposed in the case of incestuous rape to deter other fathers with perverse tendency or aberrant sexual behavior from sexually abusing their own daughters.28

Four (4) members of the Court maintain their position that R.A. No. 7659, insofar as it prescribes the death penalty, is unconstitutional. Nevertheless, they submit to the ruling of the Court, by a majority vote, that the law is constitutional and that the death penalty should be imposed accordingly.

IN VIEW WHEREOF, the Decision of the Regional Trial Court of Kapatagan, Lanao Del Norte, (Branch 21), in Criminal Case No. 21-197, sentencing the accused-appellant, RODITO DAGANIO, to death is AFFIRMED.1âwphi1 The civil indemnity in the amount of Php 50,000.00 is modified and increased to Php 75,000.00. In addition, the accused-appellant is ordered to pay the amount of Php 50,000.00 as moral damages, and Php 25,000.00 as exemplary damages.

Pursuant to Section 25 of R.A. No. 7659, amending Section 83 of the Revised Penal Code, upon finality of this Decision, let the records of this case be forthwith forwarded to the Office of the President for possible exercise of pardoning power.

SO ORDERED.

Davide, Jr., C.J., Bellosillo, Melo, Puno, Vitug, Kapunan, Mendoza, Panganiban, Quisumbing, Pardo, Buena, Ynares-Santiago, De Leon, Jr., Sandoval-Gutierrez, and Carpio, JJ., concur.


Footnotes

1 Also referred to as Vergie Daganio in some parts of the records.
2 Rollo, p. 9.
3 Original Records, p. 19.
4 TSN, Virgie Daganio, September 26, 1995, pp. 4-5, 12.
5 Id., pp. 11-31; TSN, Laureta Daganio, November 14, 1995, p. 4.
6 TSN, Virgie Daganio, September 26, 1996, pp. 7-9.
7 TSN, Laureta Daganio, November 14, 1995, pp. 4-5.
8 TSN, William Canoy, March 18, 1998, pp. 3-5; cf. Exh. "C", Original Records, p. 2.
9 TSN, Rodito Daganio, September 15, 1998, pp. 2-4.
10 Rollo, pp. 15-25.
11 In Section 4 of the recently passed Rules on Examination of a Child Witness, a "child witness" has been defined as one who "at the time of giving testimony is below the age of eighteen (18) years." In child abuse cases, a "child witness" includes "one over eighteen (18) years but is found by the court as unable to fully take care of himself from abuse, neglect, cruelty, exploitation, or discrimination because of a physical or mental disability or condition."
12 Section 19.
13 TSN, Virgie Daganio, September 26, 1995, p. 12.
14 Supra note 8.
15 People vs. Acala, 307 SCRA 330 (1999).
16 People vs. Juntilla, 314 SCRA 568 (1999).
17 People vs. Sacapa├▒o, 313 SCRA 650 (1999).
18 People vs. Molar, 286 SCRA 684 (1998).
19 People vs. Tundag, G.R. No. 135695-96, October 12, 2001.
20 Ibid.
21 People vs. Bayya, 327 SCRA 771 (2000).
22 See People vs. Javier, 311 SCRA 122, 140-141 (1999); People vs. Tipay, 329 SCRA 52 (2000); People vs. Cula, 329 SCRA 101 (2000); People vs. Brigildo, 323 SCRA 631 (2000).
23 TSN, Laureta Daganio, November 14, 1995, p. 4.
24 338 SCRA 582, 599 (2000).
25 It is best to adhere to decisions and not disturb questions put at rest.
26 People vs. Prades, 293 SCRA 411 (1998); People vs. Victor, 292 SCRA 186, 200-201 (1998); People vs. Dela Cruz, supra.
27 People vs. Prades, supra; People vs. Ramos, 296 SCRA 559 (1998).
28 People vs. Santos, G.R. Nos. 138308-10, September 26, 2001; People vs. Aquino, G.R. No. 136840-42, September 13, 2001; People vs. Catubig, G.R. No. 137842, August 23, 2001.