Incredible defense
A LAW EACH DAY (KEEPS TROUBLE AWAY) - Jose C. Sison (The Philippine Star) - July 24, 2020 - 12:00am

This is another case of rape where the usual defense raised by the accused is that the victim willingly agreed to the sexual intercourse. So the accused contend that there can be no rape since no force or violence has been committed in order to have sex with the victim. How is force and violence proven? Can there be consent to the sexual intercourse if the victim sustained injuries? These are the questions raised and answered in this case of Jessica.

Jessica is a 16-year-old teenager who belongs to a gang in their neighborhood. Among her gang-mates are her boyfriend Louie, Abby, Zel, Raffy and Gio, who are also 16 years old. The gang usually meets at night at a designated place.

One night, at about 11 p.m., Jessica sneaked out of her house to meet her boyfriend. As she approached the meeting place, she saw a bonfire, a makeshift tent and five of her gang-mates, Zel, Charlie, Tony, Raffy and Gio. She whistled to indicate her presence so Zel invited her to join them which she did. She asked where Louie her boyfriend was and Gio told her to wait. So she conversed with the group. As the night wore on, Tony, Gio, Raffy and Zel entered the makeshift tent and teased each other by removing each other’s pants.

In the meantime while Gio was inside the tent, he offered Jessica a cigarette, so Jessica approached the entrance of the tent to get the cigarette. Initially she decided not to get the cigarette because Gio placed it at an indecent part of his body, but Gio waved it at her so she took it and went back to the bonfire to smoke.

Jessica later proceeded to the tent together with Zel. Then Gio was pushed toward Jessica hitting his nape with her cigarette. Enraged, Gio pulled Jessica inside the tent causing her to fall on her knees. When Jessica tried to stand, Gio pushed her and pinned her down. Then Tony held her hands as Raffy held her legs. Thereafter Gio had sexual intercourse with her against her will and despite her physical struggles. After Gio, Tony and Raffy, also had sexual intercourse with her against her will and despite her physical resistance. After the boys left the tent, Jessica went home arriving at 3 a.m.

The following day Louie found out what happened to Jessica so he confronted her and urged her to tell her parents. She thus told her mother Thelma who accompanied her to the police station where she executed a sworn statement. On the seventh day after the incident Jessica was examined by a medico-legal officer who found abrasions in the different parts of her bodies and healed hymen lacerations.

So, three charges of rape were filed against Tony, Raffy and Gio. The prosecution presented Jessica who narrated what the three accused had done to her. Also presented was the medico legal officer who testified on the injuries sustained by Jessica. On the other hand, Tony, Raffy and Gio admitted that they had sexual intercourse with Jessica but claimed that she consented to it. They presented Abby, the girlfriend of Gio and Vilma the girlfriend of Raffy, who declared that when they met Jessica, she bragged about having sexual intercourse with Tony, Gio and Raffy and enjoying it.

The lower court however still found them guilty of three separate crimes of rape by conspiracy. Tony, who was already of legal age was sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua while Raffy and Gio, who were still minors below 18 years, were sentenced to suffer imprisonment ranging from 6 years and 1 day to 12 years and 1 day although they were released to the custody of their parents. Only Tony appealed the decision because Raffy and Gio, being below 18 years of age applied for the suspension of their sentence pursuant to Article 191 of PD 603.

The Court of Appeals (CA) affirmed said decision with the modification that Tony should also pay moral damage of P50,000 aside from the civil indemnity of P50,000. The Supreme Court on further appeal by Tony affirmed the CA decision. The SC ruled that the sexual intercourse with Jessica was against her will since she was forced and intimidated as shown by the physical injuries she sustained. The claim of the defense that Jessica sustained those injuries during the birthday party of Gio a month before the incident when she fell down in a staircase is belied by the medico-legal officer’s finding that Jessica’s injuries were at least six or seven days old only.

Jessica’s alleged reputation as a woman of ill repute or a “pokpok” girl and her admission that she already had a sexual intercourse with her boyfriend Louie, does not also affect her credibility. The victim’s character in rape is immaterial. Assuming that Jessica has an unchaste reputation and character, such is no defense to the charge of rape. Neither is the delay in reporting the incident. It is not unusual for a rape victim to conceal the incident because she may be afraid or ashamed to do so especially because she even sneaked out of the house on the night of the incident. The lower court is also correct in brushing aside the testimonies of Abby and Vilma that Jessica bragged to them about having sexual intercourse with the accused because they were biased witnesses being the girl friends of Gio and Raffy. So the three accused are really guilty of three counts of rape (People vs. Cabierte, G.R. 170477, August 7, 2007).

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Email: js0711192@gmail.com

RAPE SEXUAL HARRASMENT
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