Criminal Law

People of the Philippines vs Ninoy Malbog, et al.

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G.R. No. 106634 – 396 Phil. 784 – 342 SCRA 620 – Criminal Law – Book II – Crimes Against Persons – Rape – Unnatural Acts of an alleged victim of abduction and rape lead to an acquittal – Lack of Penile Penetration

Estela Eng alleged that in January 1990, she was aboard a crowded bus when she was approached by Salvador Bambilla, a police officer, who then poked his gun at her and ordered her to alight from the bus without making a scene. Eng was scared and so she complied. Bambilla then ordered her to get inside a car driven by Ninoy Malbog. Malbog then drove Bambilla and Eng to a hotel. Inside the hotel, Bambilla tried to insert his penis into the private part of Eng but he failed to do so because she did not open her legs. After Bambilla ejaculated, he left the hotel room for thirty minutes to get new clothes for Eng.

Later, Bambilla returned and he told Eng that they will be going to Manila. Eng however told Bambilla to allow her to get some clothes from their house. Bambilla agreed. Upon arriving home, Eng disclosed to her brother what happened. Two days later, she filed a case against Bambilla and Malbog for Forcible Abduction with Rape.

Bambilla countered that Eng was his girlfriend and that she consented to going to the hotel with him.

After trial, Bambilla and Malbog were convicted. The trial court gave credence to the testimony of Eng. The testimony of Estela Eng is clear and convincing, the complainant declaring that she and the accused Bambilla were never sweethearts. It is hard to believe that she would sacrifice her honor, being a good looking girl, to tell a story of defloration, allow the examination of her private parts and thereafter present herself to be the subject of a public trial.

ISSUE: Whether or not the judgment of conviction is correct.

HELD: No. The trial court failed to consider certain circumstances which cast doubt to the testimony of Eng. It was hard to believe that Eng, while on a crowded bus filled with people familiar to her, never shouted for help when Bambilla was threatening her with a gun. There were multiple opportunities for her to shout for help but she never did. Eng also testified that she cannot remember if there was penile penetration. In fact, she said she kept her legs closed all the time.

Further, there was a period when Bambilla left her alone in the hotel room which was not locked from the outside. She had the opportunity to escape at that point from her alleged abductor but she did not do so. Eng had ample opportunity to escape or, at least, to shout for help if she was really brought to the motel against her will and raped, as complained of. But she never tried to escape nor asked for help, something unnatural for a woman who had been forcibly abducted and raped. It would have been different if the complainant was physically unable to get up and escape, because she was beaten up and rendered unconscious. Then, it would have been understandable why she could not escape even if there was an opportunity to do so. In the case under scrutiny, there were no signs that complainant Eng was too weakened to even get up and walk. Unacceptable is complainants explanation why she did not try to go out of the room and escape.

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