Prologue:

In the Province of Pangasinan, a traffic policeman invited her girl to go with him in a motel, called “Inawa” Lodge (resting Lodge). The girl acceded but with a condition that he will promise not to touch her, “Anggapoy galawan” in vernacular.

Tempted by the “lust of the flesh”, their mutual ‘anggapoy galawan” promise was breached. Promises, like eggs, are meant to be broken after all………the girl alleged that she was raped by the policeman.

Victim’s Version:

Estela, 19, is a nursing student at Lyceum Northwestern University in Dagupan City. At about six o’ clock in the morning of January 30, 1990, she boarded a Balbin-Fernandez bus bound for Dagupan City to attend her classes at Northwestern University. Salvador also boarded the same bus and sat beside her.

Upon reaching Dagupan, the bus stopped in front of a post office. Estela was about to alight from the vehicle when Salvador held her hand and threatened her. Salvador continued to hold her hand tightly even after they had alighted. While standing in front of the Post Office, he told her that he would kill her if she shouted or made noise. Then, a blue car stopped in front of them and Salvador opened the door of the car, pushed her inside and also boarded. Once inside the vehicle, she recognized Ninoy as the driver. Seated beside him on the front seat was Amado.

She recognized Ninoy because he was their former family driver. She shouted for help but kept quiet when Salvador threatened her and poked his gun at her waist.

When in Inawa Lodge

Upon the order of Salvador, Ninoy drove the car to Calasiao and stopped in front of what she later came to know as Inawa Lodge.

Ninoy drove the car into a garage, and a man immediately closed the gate after which Amado and Ninoy went out of the car and left while Salvador pushed Estela out and forced her to go up a staircase. Upon reaching the door of a room, Salvador pushed her inside, followed her and locked the door. She screamed and when nobody heard her, she kneeled in front of Salvador and pleaded to him not to do anything to her. Salvador pushed her to the bed, instead, went on top of her, and began kissing her cheeks, neck and lips. Then, he pulled her white uniform up to her waist and removed her underwear, after which he (Salvador) took off his pants and brief. She struggled and fought against him but he was stronger. Thereafter, he tried to insert his penis into her vagina while making an up and down movement but she closed her legs. Later, she felt hot fluid on her thighs. According to her (victim), she did not know if Salvador was able to penetrate her private parts because she was too tired and lost consciousness.

When she recovered, she went to the comfort room to wash her private parts. She looked for a window through which to escape but she found none. When she went out of the comfort room, Salvador told her that he was leaving to buy for her a shirt because her uniform was all wet and dirty.

When Salvador returned, he brought a skirt and T-shirt and ordered her to change her clothes, after which he told her that he was bringing her to Manila. When she had dressed up they left the Inawa Lodge and rode on the same blue car driven by Ninoy earlier but this time, it was Salvador who drove the car. On the way, she gypped Salvador by telling him that she would go with him to Manila but he should first take her home to Pozorrubio to get some clothes.

When they reached Pozorrubio at around 12:00 noon, Estela alighted at Barangay Talogtog and took a tricycle. Upon reaching their house, she told her brother Cesar what happened. The following day, January 31, 1990, she submitted herself for medical examination by Dr. Rico Reyes, at the Don Teofilo Memorial Hospital. Two days after the incident, or on February 1, 1990 to be precise, she reported the incident to the Pozorrubio Police and also to the Dagupan City Police.

Upon Dr. Rico Reyes’s examination, it revealed that there was:

“erythema on left labia minora xxx; hymenal laceration, healed at 6:00 o’ clock and 10:00 o’ clock position; vaginal introitus admits 1 finger; cervix closed; uterus was small; adnexae-free; vaginal smear was done for detection of presence of spermatozoa and the findings was negative for spermatozoa.”

Aside from the said findings, there was no other sign of physical injury. Dr. Reyes explained that “erythema on left labia minora” meant that there was reddening on the left labia which might be an irritation caused by tight underwears; and that the healed hymenal laceration at six o’ clock and ten o’ clock positions could have been sustained more than seven days prior to examination.

Salvador’s Version:

The Sweeet Heart Theory

According to Salvador, he and Estela were sweethearts.

Salvador first met Estela in February 1988, when he was assigned as traffic policeman near Estela’s bakery in Barangay Poblacion, Pozorrubio, Pangasinan. Since then, he began courting her and after she answered him on March 14, 1988, they began going out and he would take her to and from the school.

On January 30, 1990, at around six o’clock in the morning, as he was already off-duty, he boarded a Balbin-Fernandez bus bound for Dagupan City, to go home to Amagbagan. The bus was already half full when he boarded it. Upon seeing Estela inside the bus, he sat beside her. They reached Dagupan at around seven o’clock a.m. and they alighted together in front of the Post Office.

As Estela Eng was already late for her class, Salvador invited her for a date and she acceded on condition that she was to be brought back to her school at 12:00 noon to attend her afternoon classes.

“Anggapoy galawan”

Salvador then told her that he was going to bring her to Inawa Lodge in Calasiao. She was reluctant at first, asking him if there was no other place where they could go to but later on she agreed to go with him but asked him not to touch her – (“Anggapoy galawan”).

They were about to board a tricycle for Calasiao when an oncoming blue car blew its horn. He recognized the driver as Ninoy who used to drive a passenger mini-bus he usually rode on. He then approached the car and talked to Ninoy. When he found out that Ninoy was going to Dagupan City to buy materials for his employer, he requested him (Ninoy) to take him and Estela to Calasiao. When Ninoy agreed, he and Estela sat in the backseat. As they were leaving, they saw Amado, waving at them and asking them where they were going. Ninoy told Amado that he would first bring Salvador and his companion to Calasiao, buy spare parts for his employer and then go back to Pozorrubio. Amado asked Ninoy if he could hitch a ride back to Pozorrubio. After asking permission from his mother, Amado also boarded the car and sat beside him (Ninoy).

While they were on their way to Calasiao, Estela was worried that Ninoy and Amado might tell her brother that she went with them to Calasiao.

When they reached Inawa Lodge, he instructed Ninoy to bring the car inside the compound. A man directed them towards a garage where they parked the car. He asked Estela to go ahead upstairs because he had to tell the two not to report to her brother. When Estela left, he asked Ninoy to leave the car so people would not see him (Salvador) and Estela when they leave the place. He assured Ninoy that his employer, Rocky Cancino, was his good friend and he would explain to Cancino when he brings back the car to him. With such assurance, Ninoy agreed to leave the car and he and Amado left Inawa Lodge.

After the two left, Salvador proceeded to pay the motel bills after which a roomboy accompanied him to Room B, handing him a towel and pitcher of cold water.

When anggapoy galawan turns to “galawan”

When Salvador went inside the room, he saw Estela sitting on the bed. When he asked her why she was quiet, she told him that she was worried that Ninoy and Amado might report to her brother. He told her not to worry and began to kiss her until both of them were lying on the bed. He then removed her dress, her bra and her panty and continued kissing her. Then he stood up to remove his clothes while Estela covered her body with her clothes because she was ashamed of his seeing her naked. When he was already undressed, he laid on top of her but Estela kept her legs closed. When he tried to open her legs, she told him “not today because we have pregnancy test next week.”  Thus, he simply inserted his penis in between her thighs just above her knees because she continued to clutch her dress and covered her body from the knee up. He ejaculated on her thighs.

Afterwards, Estela got up and went to the comfort room. After a few minutes, she went out of the comfort room, lied on the bed beside him, embraced him and told him “Do not abandon me.” After assuring her that he will not because he loves her, he suggested that they leave Inawa Lodge as he was already hungry. While Estela was putting on her clothes, she noticed that they were all crumpled and told him that she needed new clothes. As he could not convince her to go with him, he went out alone.

Using the same car driven by Ninoy, he went to Ang Ka Tong Store in Dagupan City and bought a shirt and a blouse. He went back to Inawa Lodge after about 45 minutes. The door to Room B was locked when he arrived so he knocked and called out to Estela. When Estela opened the door, he gave her the shirt and blouse he bought and asked her to change. However, she did not immediately put on the clothes; instead, she sat on the bed and told him, “If you truly love me, do not abandon me. I will go with you.” It was at that point that they agreed to elope and go to Manila. After Estela was dressed, they checked out of Inawa Lodge riding in the same car that he (Salvador) borrowed from Ninoy. They agreed to go home first to Pozorrubio so they could get some clothes and money.

They arrived in Pozorrubio around noontime and upon reaching Barangay Talogtog, Estela suggested that it would be better if she would get off there and take a tricycle home so nobody would see them together. They agreed to meet at one o’ clock in the afternoon of the same day at the Pantranco bus terminal near the Pozorrubio town plaza.

While Estela took a tricycle and proceeded to her house, he also went home to Amagbagan to get money and some clothes.

He was two minutes late when he arrived at their meeting place and he did not find Estela there. He waited for her for forty-five (45) minutes but she did not arrive. Thinking that she probably changed her mind, he went to her school, Northwestern University, in Dagupan City. He waited for her until 4:30 but he did not find her. He then went back to Pozorrubio and returned his clothes in his house, after which he drove to the house of Rocky Cancino to return the car.

Salvador reached the house of Cancino at around 6:30.

While he was in the house of Cancino, two policemen, Patrolmen Mina and Perez, arrived and informed Salvador that he was to go immediately to the police station because the family of Estela was there. They also instructed Ninoy and Rocky Cancino to go with him. Thus, he, together with Ninoy and Cancino, went to the police station in Pozorrubio.

Upon arrival at the station, he saw Estela Eng, her two brothers, her sister and their family maid inside the station. Later, he learned that Estela filed a criminal complaint against him.

The Trial

During the trial, the defense counsel tried to elicit explanations from Estela as to why she did not try to go out of the room and escape when Salvador left her to buy her new clothes. These are the recorded exchanges:

 “Q: You also mentioned in your previous testimony that the accused Salvador went out for about 30 minutes?
A: Yes, sir.

Q: When he was out, do you mean to say that he left you from the room?
A: Yes, sir.

Q: And for that 30 minutes what did you do in order to escape?
A: I was trying to open the door by turning the knob but I could not and how could I also escape since my clothes were wet and dirty and the jalousies because there are also jalousies, there is still a screen covering the said window, so how could I go out , sir.”

Q: Do you mean to say that you waited for Salvador to return?
A: It is like this, before he left he told me to stay because according to him he will buy me a skirt and a t-shirt, sir.

Q: In other words, you want to tell the Honorable Court that it was Salvador Salvador who suggested to buy you skirt and t-shirt?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: And you trusted him to still come back and give you the skirt and t-shirt, am I correct?
A: Yes, sir.”



The Supreme Court’s Ruling

The Court finds the version of Estela incredible. Considering the circumstances of time and place where Estela was supposedly abducted, there was every opportunity for her to seek help by the simple expedient of shouting. If indeed Salvador threatened her by poking his gun, it was impossible that nobody noticed if she put up a struggle against him.

Estela claimed that Salvador continued to poke his gun at her and to threaten her when they alighted from the bus in front of the Post Office. Again, such allegation is unworthy of belief. Estela herself admitted that the bus regularly stops in front of the Post Office, where she and Salvador alighted because students of Lyceum usually get off thereat. The said testimony of Estela makes her allegations of “threat” unlikely because it would be impossible for anyone not to notice Salvador poking a gun at her and threatening her. Not only that, a few meters across the Post Office was the Dagupan City Police Station. If there was truth to the allegation that she was forcibly abducted by Salvador, her normal reaction would have been to resist and struggle against her abductor.

Further, Estela 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 Estela 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.

It is simply unlikely for a woman who has just been robbed of her honor and chastity to still think of wet and dirty clothes instead of seizing upon every opportunity to escape from her malefactor.

‘Stand by things decided’ ~ Stare Decisis

Read full text: People of the Philippines vs. Saturnino Ninoy et. al. (G.R. No. 106634  October 12, 2000)

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