Sleeping victim

A LAW EACH DAY (KEEPS TROUBLE AWAY) - Jose C. Sison - The Philippine Star

Rape is now a crime against person and no longer a crime against chastity. So its victim may even be a male or an LGBT. This is illustrated in this case of Eugene.

Eugene is a 31 years old lesbian living in a seaside city in Eastern Luzon. She has no boy friend but a long time girl friend named Girlie who is very close to her. For more than 10 years, Eugene frequented the house of Girlie and would often stay for a few rounds of drinks and sleep with Girlie in her bed.

At the birthday of Girlie’s laundrywoman Dina, she invited Eugene to attend the party which was held in front of Dina’s house at the compound where Girlie also lived. Also at the party were Girlie’s brother Rody and three friends who were having a drinking session in front of his house. His sister Girlie was also drinking with Eugene and some other persons about ten meters away from where they were having a session of “gin bilog.”

After drinking four glasses of gin mixed with orange juice, Eugene got drunk and had to ask Girlie for permission to go. However, Girlie prevailed upon her to sleep at her house that night. Girlie took Eugene to her house and made her sleep in her bedroom which had no partition but only a red curtain to separate it from the rest of the house. Eugene immediately fell asleep until she felt someone on top of her whom she recognized as Rody. She felt pain in her private parts which was bleeding. Thus she tried to shout but Rody covered her mouth. She tried to push him away but he held her hand. Rody released her only when they heard some noise outside the room. In his hurry, Rody put on Eugene’s pants and left, leaving behind his own pants. Moments later Girlie arrived and Eugene asked her to run after her brother Rody.

The following day, Girlie accompanied Eugene to the City General Hospital for medical examination. Results showed fresh hymenal lacerations about 1.5 cm-2cm in length on the upper third of the vaginal wall with blood occupying the vaginal canal, thereby confirming that she was violated. Two days after the incident, she gave a sworn statement before the police and on the next day, she filed a criminal complaint for rape, against Rody.

At the trial only Eugene testified to prove her complaint reiterating what happened to her. Rody on the other hand presented two other witnesses aside from himself. The gist of his defense is that it was improbable that he was able to have sexual intercourse with Eugene while she was asleep and that she was fully conscious of what was done to her and that penetration could not have taken place if he covered Eugene’s mouth with one hand while his other hand held her hand. He thus insinuates that Eugene had agreed to have sex with her.

But the trial court found Rody guilty of raping Eugene. It gave credence to the testimony of Eugene that because she was drunk, she fell asleep and Rody was able to molest her. So it sentenced Rody to imprisonment of 12 years up to 17 years four months and one day with all the accessory penalties attached thereto. On appeal, the Court of Appeals (CA) increased the penalty to reclusion perpetua and certified the case for review by the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court thereafter affirmed the decision of the trial court and the penalty imposed by the CA.  According to the SC, Eugene’s testimony is credible, plain, straightforward and positive and is thus enough to prove that Rody is guilty of rape beyond reasonable doubt. It was corroborated by the medical findings of fresh hymenal lacerations confirming the fact the she was violated. As against her testimony, the bare denial of Rody and his later inconsistent insinuation that he had sex with Eugene with her consent, cannot prevail.

Rape here was consummated even before Eugene was awakened. She fell asleep after Girlie brought her to Girlie’s room after she got drunk and was prevailed upon to sleep there She was awakened only when she felt someone on top of her and felt pain in her private parts. Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by RA 7659, states that rape is committed by having carnal knowledge of a woman who is unconscious. In several cases, it has already been decided that caral knowledge of a woman who is asleep constitutes rape.

More importantly, Girlie the sister of Rody, testified that she and Eugene often slept together. They were like sisters and she never convinced Eugene to desist from pursuing the rape case against her brother. In fact she even accompanied Eugene to the Barangay Hall to report the rape incident because she values their friendship; and to the City hospital for medical examination.

So the CA is correct in finding Rody guilty and sentencing him to reclusion perpetua which should be applied regardless of any mitigating or aggravating circumstances pursuant to article 63 of the RPC (Peoplke vs. Ramos etc. G.R. 136398, November 23, 2000)

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