No more distinction
A LAW EACH DAY (KEEPS TROUBLE AWAY) - Jose C. Sison (The Philippine Star) - September 13, 2019 - 12:00am

Pursuant to Republic Act (RA) 8353 otherwise known as the “Anti-Rape Law of 1997,” the definition of the crime of rape has been expanded to include not only rape by sexual intercourse but also “rape by sexual assault.” Said RA has not likewise made any distinction on the sex of either the offender or the victim. So rape may now be committed by any person, male or female against another person, male or female. This is illustrated in this case of Jayson.

Jayson is a public elementary school teacher who also acts as the teacher of the Boy Scout organization in said school and overseer of the school’s poultry project. Among his students is Paolo, a ten-year-old fourth grader who is also a boy scout.

One day at about six o’clock in the afternoon, while Paolo was about to go home, Jayson summoned Paolo to his office in the Boy Scout headquarters. Then he ordered Paolo to strip off. The boy readily complied unwary of Jayson’s perverse intentions. After Paolo has undressed, Jayson approached the boy and started kissing him all over his body. Thereafter he inserted his private organ into the mouth of Paolo. Since Paolo cannot hold on for long because he felt like vomiting, Jayson removed his penis and ordered Paolo to dress up. Then Jayson threatened Paolo with bodily harm if he will tell his mother Lilet about what happened. So Paolo just kept mum.

Jayson was thus able to repeat the same sexual assault for 12 times in a period of four months until Paolo summoned enough courage to tell his mother about what his teacher Jayson had done to him, as they leisurely walked at a park. When charged with 12 counts of rape under Article 266-A of the Revised Penal Code as amended, for willfully, unlawfully and feloniously committing sexual assault by inserting his penis on Paolo’s mouth, Jayson denied the charges and claimed that his class schedule was only in the morning so it would have been impossible for him to have molested Paolo at six in the evening. He also said however that occasionally he goes back to the school late in the afternoon to feed the chicken as the overseer of the school’s poultry project. He presented seven other witnesses who are Paolo’s classmates, the school janitor, co-teacher, and the security assistant of the city police.

The trial court however still convicted Jayson for the 12 crimes charged against him under Article 266-A of the RPC as amended by RA 8353 and sentenced him to imprisonment of five years minimum to eight years and one day maximum for each count of rape committed. This judgment was affirmed by the Court of Appeals (CA) which gave full credence to the vivid account of Paolo on his harrowing experience. The CA ruled that Paolo and his mother had no ill motive to charge Jayson and seek his conviction for the crimes committed.

This decision of the CA was affirmed by the Supreme Court (SC). According to the SC the defense of alibi raised by Jayson might prosper if it is shown (1) that the accused is in another place at the time of the commission of the offense; and (2) that it would have been physically impossible for him to be at the crime scene or within its immediate vicinity. In this case, Jayson himself admitted that while his class would end at 1 o’clock pm, he would still go back to school late in the afternoon to oversee the school’s poultry project.

The SC also ruled that the exact date of the commission of the offense of rape is not an essential element of the crime, nor would it operate to discredit the vivid account of the 11-year-old victim Paolo. Most importantly, the SC said that the evaluation of the credibility of the victim is addressed to the sound determination of the trial court which deserves weight and respect.

So, the SC ruled that Jayson is really guilty of rape since said crime has already been expanded by RA 8353 to include not only rape by sexual intercourse but also by sexual assault like what Jayson did to Paolo. Furthermore, the crime of rape is now classified as a “crime against persons as it is committed by any person who shall commit sexual assault by inserting his penis or anal orifice, or any instrument into another person’s mouth.

So, the SC ruled that the trial court and the CA are correct in finding Jayson guilty of 12 counts of rape pursuant to RA 8353 as now provided in Article 266-A of the Revised Penal Code and should be sentenced to imprisonment ranging from five years minimum to eight years and one day maximum for each of the 12 counts of rape. Jayson should also pay civil indemnity of P25,000 and moral damages of P25,000 for each count of rape (Ordinario vs. People and CA, G.R. 155415, May 20, 2004)

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