A store owner was sentenced yesterday to 17 years imprisonment for the rape of a 5-year-old girl in a barangay in Bacolod City nine years ago.
At the proclamation yesterday, Regional Trial Court Branch 41 Judge Ray Alan Drilon found Ritchel Cuadra guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of rape and ordered him to pay the complainant P75,000 for moral damages and P25,000 for exemplary damages.
In handing his 13-page decision, Drilon stressed that the rape victim’s testimony is entitled to great weight as she has no motive to testify against the accused.
The complainant’s testimonies were also simple, straightforward and unflavored of any inconsistencies or contradiction, while the defense of denial put up by the accused, being negative and self-serving, cannot prevail over the affirmative allegations of the victim, Drilon said.
The victim, whose name is being withheld by the DAILY STAR, told the court that in the afternoon of July 29, 2004, she was at a basketball court in their place when her neighbor, Roberto Garcia, “alias Nonoy” told her that Cuadra was looking for her, and that he wanted her to see him in his house
She said that when she was in the house of the accused, he undressed her, inserted his finger in her private part and threatened to shoot her if she tells anyone what happened.
The suspect gave her P5 and allowed her to go home where she told her mother what the accused did to her when she saw her urinating blood, the complainant added.
Meanwhile, the accused denied that he raped the complainant claiming that he did not know her and only learned of the charges filed against him when he applied for a police clearance.
Presented to the court to strengthen the case against Cuadra were the complainant’s mother, Garcia and City Medico Legal Officer Ely Cong, who testified that the victim had indeed, been sexually molested.*APN