The happy victim
A LAW EACH DAY (KEEPS TROUBLE AWAY) - Jose C. Sison (The Philippine Star) - February 22, 2017 - 12:00am

This is another case of rape where the victim apparently enjoyed the sexual adventures. The issue here involves the mental condition of the victim and whether it is essential for the accused to know of such condition when they had sexual intercourse in order to be held liable for rape.

The victim in this case is Becky, a married woman with two children who was suffering from chronic mental disorder known as schizophrenia or split-mindedness characterized by inability to distinguish between fantasy and reality and often accompanied by hallucinations and delusions.

The incident occurred one morning after her husband Kiko left their residence in a seaside town for his work in another city. Before leaving he entrusted Becky to her cousin with instructions not to leave her alone because of her mental illness.

However, after Kiko had left, Becky also left. She took a pedicab and went to the beach in their town.  Upon her arrival there at around 11 a.m. she changed into her shorts and blouse, left her bag with an old woman, and proceeded to wade into the water and swam towards a group of teeners particularly Cardo, brothers Lando and Pete, Bert, Tino and 14 others who were members of a basketball team celebrating their victory in a tournament. The group befriended Becky as Cardo remarked, “who is this beautiful girl with beautiful legs.” Becky introduced herself to them as they also introduced themselves to her and they frolicked in the water. She even enjoyed their company in eating lunch of puso, humba and soft drinks.

After lunch, the group told her, “Inday let’s have sexual intercourse.” So they proceeded to a place covered with roma plants where Cardo and Lando had sexual intercourse with her. After the intercourse, Becky took a bath again and went with Cardo and Lando to a hut near a funeral home where they had sexual intercourse with her once more. Then they gave her P1.00 for her fare home which she accepted. She appeared to have enjoyed these sexual adventures.

Her husband Kiko was informed by his neighbors and friends, that she left the house, took a bath at the beach and was ravished by many persons. So Gerry confronted Becky who denied everything and refused to disclose the names of her defilers. As a consequence Kiko put his “wrath on the body” of Becky by hitting her with a chair. She was later treated for the bruises inflicted by her husband where her private parts was also examined revealing that there was penetration of a male sexual organ possibly coming from more than one person.

So, upon the sworn complaint of Gerry, three informations for rape were filed in the Regional Trial Court (RTC) against Cardo, Lando and Pete, Bert, Tino and 14 others who remained unidentified and were not arrested. At the trial Becky testified and reiterated what happened smiling all the time as if enjoying what she experienced. The RTC nevertheless believed her version over that of the defense. But it acquitted Cardo, Bert and Tino and convicted only the brothers Lando and Pete who were sentenced to reclusion perpetua and pay the corresponding damages. The cases of the 14 others who remained at large were archived.

So Pete and Lando appealed the decision to the Supreme Court (SC) raising the following issues: the evidence for the prosecution failed to establish that they had carnal knowledge of Becky; assuming that they had, there is no evidence of force and intimidation; and even if there was rape based on carnal knowledge of Becky, no conviction could lie without proof that they knew of her mental illness at the time the sexual act was done.

The SC ruled that Becky was indeed raped as confirmed by the doctor who examined her. While they are correct that there was no force or intimidation because Becky appears to have enjoyed the sexual adventures, Becky was still raped for as many times as there were acts of sexual intercourse with her because she was suffering from a chronic mental disorder and therefore incapable of giving effective consent to the sexual intercourse. In short she was deprived of reason which is one of the modes of committing rape under Article 335 par. 2 of the Revised Penal Code. The rationale behind this law is that such a woman has no will.

Even if they did not know that Becky had mental illness when they had sexual intercourse with her, they can still be held liable for rape because such lack of knowledge is not an essential element of the crime of rape under Article 335 (2). Had the legislature intended that knowledge of the victim’s mental condition (or of any other fact) would be an essential element of rape under Article 335(2), it would have expressly provided so, as it has provided with respect to other felonies in the RPC. That the legislature did not do so reveals its intent to dispense with such knowledge.

In this case however, there is no sufficient evidence against Pete so his acquittal is in order. Hence only the trial court’s conclusion on Lando’s guilt must be sustained. Further he should be held liable not just for one but for two rapes. He succumbed at least twice to his bestial instinct and desire to satisfy his lust by preying upon a married woman with two children suffering from a chronic mental disorder which rendered her incapable of giving consent to or opposing the carnal acts. Lando should thus suffer two penalties of reclusion perpetua with their accessory penalties to pay the civil indemnity to Becky. (People vs. Canillo, G.R. 106579, August 30, 1994)

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Email: attyjosesison@gmail.com

BECKY
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