FACTS: The complaint was filed for the rape of Liliosa Gargantilla, a mental retardate, a complaint was filed on September 10, 1986 against Calixto Raga alias “Calix” and Leonardo Gerones alias “Nanding or Narding”. Both accused pleaded not guilty to the crime charged.
The accused-appellant contends that the complaint did not give jurisdiction to the trial court the same having been signed by a mentally incompetent woman. Initially, a complaint was filed with the barangay captain by Francisco Gargantilla, the victim’s father. Rule 110, Section 5 also provides that in the case of a deceased or incapacitated person, the State may initiate the criminal action in her behalf. The information filed by the Provincial Prosecutor, the complaint initiated by the father, and the complaint filed by the offended party herself sufficiently confer jurisdiction on the trial court.
Trial proceeded and a judgment of conviction was rendered by the trial court.
ISSUE: Whether or not an incompetent’s testimony may be given credence.
HELD: YES. Determination of the competency of witnesses to testify in the hands of the trial court. As repeatedly held by this Court, the factual findings of the trial court as to the guilt of the accused, particularly the trial judge’s assessment of the credibility of the witnesses’ testimonies are accorded great respect on appeal in the absence of grave abuse of discretion on the part of the trial judge who has the advantage of actually examining both real and testimonial evidence including the demeanor of the witnesses as they present the same.
The records show that the victim managed to communicate her ordeal to the court clearly and consistently. The trial court found Liliosa to have the mental capacity of a ten year old. We are convinced that a ten year old girl can adequately narrate facts which show that she has been raped. Thus, the trial court observed: “. . . In the overall, she was able to communicate that the man who is not blind and the man without eyes helped each other in deflowering her thru force and intimidation. Her narration was crude but she managed to communicate the traumatic incident”.
Moreover, while the psychiatry report states that the victim cannot be expected to be a capable witness, at the same time it admitted that Liliosa can comprehend the nature of her acts under a limited extent. The same report concludes that she is verbally productive although she talks in incomplete sentences at times. What is required by the rules merely is that the witness is able to make her perception known to others. Thus, Rule 130, Sec. 20 of the Rules of Court states: “Except as provided in the next succeeding section, all persons who can perceive, and perceiving, can make known their perception to others, may be witnesses. . . .
Considering the foregoing, we agree with the trial court that Liliosa Gargantilla is a competent witness. There is likewise no reason to doubt her credibility as she had no motive to testify against the accused. No motive can be ascribed to complainant or to her father and step-mother other than a desire for justice and redress for a terrible wrong. She was a poor barrio girl with the mental capacity of a 10-year old, inexperienced to the ways of the world. It is highly improbable that she would fabricate matters and impute the crime unless it was true.
What is decisive in the rape charge is the complainant’s positive identification of the accused-appellants as the malefactors. The victim was even able to testify that only one actually had sexual intercourse with her and that was the blind, man while the other man who was not blind held her and pointed a knife at her while the former was raping her.