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Cebu News

Delay in filing case does not destroy credibility of accuser

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The delay in the filing of cases against suspected rapists may not affect the credibility of the accuser, according to a Supreme Court ruling recently.

This latest SC ruling, issued in the case of People vs. Emeterio Ricamora last December 6, will encourage rape victims to come out in the open even if the rape took place years back.

Ricamora's 18-year-old stepdaughter only complained to the police in 1998, accusing her mother's common-law husband of sexually abusing her since 1996 but she kept the matter under wraps for fear of her life.

The victim claimed that after Ricamora raped her inside their house sometime in October 1996 and told her not to reveal it to anybody, or he will kill her and her family.

"Under the circumstances attendant to the present case, the delay of the victim in reporting the incident of rape may not be taken against her," the ruling of the SC's third division reads.

Officials of the Department of Social Welfare and Development strongly believe that many rape victims have just decided not to report their ordeal to the authorities to avoid causing dishonor to herself and her family.

Ricamora lived in the house of his common-law wife who left abroad to work as a domestic worker, entrusting to him the care of her children, including the victim herself.

Ricamora did not deny he had sexual contact with the victim as he claimed it happened after they became lovers while her mother was abroad.

He presented their neighbor who testified that Ricamora and his stepdaughter were lovers "because they have been living in the same roof and, on several occasions, he witnessed them sleeping together, naked and embracing each other".

The SC however rejected Ricamora's defense by saying that it was "improbable and fantastic."

"It will be the height of incredulity for live-in partners, between a young lady and a middle-aged man to display for others to see their intimate moments," said the SC.

"Even married husband and wife will normally seek a place where they are alone together to perform their romantic encounters secure from possible prying eyes." the SC decision further read. - Rene U. Borromeo

ABROAD

BORROMEO

EMETERIO RICAMORA

OFFICIALS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL WELFARE AND DEVELOPMENT

RAPE

RENE U

RICAMORA

RULING

SUPREME COURT

VICTIM

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