Rape

DURA LEX SED LEX
Typography

Rape; rape victim with a mental disability either deprived of reason or demented.

Article 266-A, paragraph 1 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, provides for two circumstances when having carnal knowledge of a woman with a mental disability is considered rape, to wit: paragraph 1(b) – when the offended party is deprived of reason; and paragraph 1(d) – when the offended party is demented. Under paragraph 1(d), the term demented refers to a person who has dementia, which is a condition of deteriorated mentality, characterized by marked decline from the individual’s former intellectual level and often by emotional apathy, madness, or insanity. On the other hand, under paragraph 1(b), the phrase deprived of reason has been interpreted to include those suffering from mental abnormality, deficiency, or retardation. People of the Philippines v. Ernesto Ventura Sr., G.R. No. 205230, March 12, 2014.

Rape; when rape victim is deprived of reason but not demented. Since AAA is mentally deficient, she should properly be classified as a person who is “deprived of reason,” and not one who is “demented.” Hence, carnal knowledge of a mentally deficient individual is rape under subparagraph (b) and not subparagraph (d) of Article 266-A(1) of the RPC, as amended. Nevertheless, the erroneous reference to paragraph 1(d) in the Information will not exonerate Ventura because he failed to raise this as an objection, and the particular facts stated in the Information were protestation sufficient to inform him of the nature of the charge against him. From the foregoing, all that needs to be proven are the facts of sexual congress between the rapist and his victim, and the latter’s mental retardation. People of the Philippines v. Ernesto Ventura Sr., G.R. No. 205230, March 12, 2014.

Rape; exact date of rape incident not an essential element. AAA’s failure to recall the exact date of the first rape and the number of times she was sexually assaulted by Ventura prior to March 24, 2005, does not militate against her credibility since rape victims are not expected to cherish in their memories an accurate account of the dates, number of times and manner they were violated. This is especially true in the case of AAA who obviously cannot be expected to act like an adult who would have the courage and intelligence to disregard the threat to her life and complain immediately that she had been sexually assaulted. AAA’s testimony was clear that every time Ventura would rape her, he would threaten her against revealing the offense. Given AAA’s mental condition, it can well substitute for violence and intimidation enough to cow her into submission. The Supreme Court had repeatedly held that the exact date when the victim was sexually abused is not an essential element of the crime of rape, for the gravamen of the offense is carnal knowledge of a woman. Indeed, the precise time of the crime has no substantial bearing on its commission. As such, the time or place of commission in rape cases need not be accurately stated. Inconsistencies and discrepancies as to minor matters which are irrelevant to the elements of the crime cannot be considered grounds for acquittal. Hence, the allegation in the information, which states that the rape was committed on or about March 24, 2005, is sufficient to affirm the conviction of Ventura in the said case. People of the Philippines v. Ernesto Ventura Sr., G.R. No. 205230, March 12, 2014.