Around 9PM, private complainant AAA was accosted by a young male (whom she later knew as Umanito). He waited for her by the creek, and he pointed as knife at her abdomen. He dragged her into the Home Economics Building of Daramuangan Elementary School. He undressed her while still holding the knife. He set her down on a bench, put down the knife, and had sex with her. He dressed up and threatened to kill her if she reported the incident. Six months later, AAA ’ s mother noticed the prominence on her stomach, and it was then that she divulged to her mother the alleged rape. Her mother brought her to the police station. (Umanito’ s alibi: He was at home all day. Re: AAA, he admitted that he courted her but she spurned him. He conjectured that she had a crush on him since she frequently visited him.)
RTC rendered judgment against Umanito and sentenced him to suffer reclusion perpetua. Umanito’s appeal was transferred to the CA for intermediate review (as per Mateo ruling), and CA affirmed RTC. Umanito seeks acquittal on reasonable doubt, with the belated filing of the case and AAA ’ s questionable credibility as grounds. He also said that AAA filed the complaint only upon her mother’s insistence; this supports his claim that AAA had sex with another (a married man). Also, he claimed that there were several inconsistencies in her assertions.
Whether or not DNA Evidence may be received to prove the accused’s guilt?
CASE IS REMANDED TO THE RTC FOR RECEPTION OF DNA EVIDENCE. The fact that AAA bore a child because of the purported rape may provide the definitive key to Umanito ’ s absolution, since it can now be determined with reasonable certainty WON he is the father of her child. AAA and her child are directed to submit themselves to DNA testing under the aegis of the New Rule on DNA Evidence (AM No. 06-11-5-SC) which took effect on 15 Oct 2007 (a few days before promulgation of this case).
DNA print / identification technology is now recognized as a uniquely effective means to link a suspect to a crime, or to absolve one erroneously accused, where biological evidence is available. The groundwork for acknowledging the strong weight of DNA testing was first laid out in Tijing v. CA . Herrera v. Alba discussed DNA analysis as evidence and traced the development of its admissibility in our jurisdiction. Tecson v. COMELEC said that in case proof of filiation or paternity would be unlikely to establish, DNA testing could be resorted to.
The determination of WON Umanito is the father (through DNA testing) is material to the fair and correct adjudication of his appeal. Under Sec. 4 of AM No. 06-11-5-SC, the courts are authorized, after due hearing and notice, motu proprio to order a DNA testing. However, since SC is not a trier of facts, it would be more appropriate that the case be remanded to RTC for reception of evidence.
The hearing should be confined to ascertaining the feasibility of DNA testing with due regard to the standards set. RTC should order the DNA testing if it finds it to be feasible in this case. RTC shall determine the institution to undertake the testing, and the parties are free to manifest their comments on the choice. After the DNA analysis is obtained, it shall be incumbent upon the parties who wish to avail of the same to offer the results in accordance with the rules of evidence, which shall be assessed by RTC in keeping with Sections 7 (Assessment of probative value of DNA evidence) and 8 (Reliability of DNA testing methodology). RTC is also enjoined to observe confidentiality and preservation of DNA evidence.
To facilitate the execution of this resolution, although the parties are primarily bound to bear the expenses for DNA testing, such costs may be advanced by SC if needed.