Criminal Law

People v. ZZZ June 19, 2019 G.R. No. 229862 -J. Leonen Statutory Rape

FACTS:

An Information was filed against ZZZ charging him with the crime of rape  under Article 266-A, in relation to 266-B of the Revised Penal Code:

That on or about 11:00 o’clock (sic) on the morning of the 12th day of April 2006, in the City of xxxxxxxxxxx, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the said accused, the live-in partner of the mother of the victim, by means of force and intimidation, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously have carnal knowledge of the victim [AAA], a minor fourteen (14) years old, against her will.

ZZZ pleaded not guilty to the crime charged.

Dr. Dacula, who conducted the medical examination on AAA, testified that she had found redness and abrasion on the right side of the victim’s labia minora, “caused by a smooth, soft object” as indicated in the Medico-Legal Report.

AAA executed her Affidavit of Recantation and Desistance, praying that the rape case be dismissed. 

The RTC found ZZZ guilty beyond reasonable doubt of simple statutory rape.

On appeal, the CA affirmed the trial court Judgment with modification. It declared that the trial court erroneously used the word “statutory” since it was not established that AAA was below 12 years old when the crime was committed. Nonetheless, the error was harmless because the penalty meted and the monetary awards granted were for the crime of simple rape.

Hence, this appeal.

ISSUE:

Whether or not accused-appellant ZZZ’s guilt for the crime of rape has been proven beyond reasonable doubt.

RULING:

After a careful examination of the case records, this Court holds that the prosecution has established beyond reasonable doubt that accused-appellant is guilty of raping AAA.

After a careful examination of the case records, this Court holds that the prosecution has established beyond reasonable doubt that accused-appellant is guilty of raping AAA. The trial court also found AAA’s testimony credible and supported by evidence.

This Court finds no reason to disturb the findings of the trial court and the Court of Appeals. 

There is also no merit in accused-appellant’s argument that force, intimidation, threat, fraud, or grave abuse of authority was not present. 

In People v. Gacusan, this Court reiterated that “[t]he abuse of moral influence is the intimidation required in rape committed by the common-law father of a minor.”

As to the inclusion of the word “statutory” in the dispositive portion of the trial court Judgment, this Court holds that it was erroneously added by the trial court judge.

In People v. Dalan:

The gravamen of the offense of statutory rape, as provided for in Article 266-A, paragraph 1 (d) of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, is the carnal knowledge of a woman below 12 years old. 

To convict an accused of the crime of statutory rape, the prosecution must prove:

first, the age of the complainant;

second, the identity of the accused; and

last but not the least, the carnal knowledge between the accused and the complainant.

Nonetheless, this Court finds that the penalty imposed on accused-appellant is correct as it is the penalty for offenders who were found guilty beyond reasonable doubt of simple rape under Article 266-B of the RPC.

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