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G.R. No.

182239 March 16, 2011

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES,


Plaintiff-Appellee, vs.
HERMIE M. JACINTO,
Accused-Appellant.
FACTS:
Accused-appellant Hermie Jacinto, is charged and convicted in the lower courts of raping a 5-year old
child, AAA. Jacinto is neighbours with the family of AAA for a long time and he was friends with the
victim's father. The victim AAA knew Jacinto well, as she calls him
Kuya
.On January 2003, the victims father sent his other daughter, CCC, to the store to buy cigarettes and
the victim followed her older sister but did not return with the latter. The father thought that she was
left behind to watch television at another house. A witness saw Jacinto with the victim later on, at the
store where the latter was seated in his lap. The victim testified that when she left the store with the
accused Jacinto, he had carnal knowledge of her. She went home crying after the incident. The victims
father confronted Jacinto and called the police. AAA underwent a physical check-up which leads to
findings that she had been raped. For his defence, Jacinto interposed an alibi, that he attended a
birthday party at the time of the incident and that the victim merely followed him when he went to the
store. The RTC found Jacinto guilty beyond reasonable doubt. Thereafter, the defence moved to reopen
the trial for reception of newly discovered evidence. It is stated that appellant Jacinto was born on
March 1, 1985. This means that at the time of the alleged commission of the crime, he was merely 17
years old. The RTC appreciated the new evidence and reduced the penalty. The Court of Appeals
affirmed the decision.
ISSUE:
Whether or not accused appellant Jacinto should be convicted of rape. What is the imposable penalty
on the appellant?
HELD/RATIO: Yes, SC confirms conviction. However due to the retroactive effect of RA9344, and it being
proven that Jacinto was a minor at the time the crime was committed
The rape that took place has been sufficiently proven in the court. Therefore, the Supreme Court found
sufficient ground for conviction. In 2003, at the time of the commission of the crime, Jacinto was 17
years old. Though the RA9344 took effect only in 2006, it is given a retroactive effect. Sec. 6 of Republic
Act No. 9344 exempts a child above fifteen (15) years but below eighteen(18) years of age from criminal

liability, unless the child is found to have acted with discernment, in which case, "the appropriate
proceedings" in accordance with the Act shall be observed. In the present case, Jacinto showed
discernment in committing the crime as proven by the facts that he choose an isolated and dark placeto
perpetrate the crime, to prevent detection andhe boxed the victim to weaken her defense. Theseare
indicative of then 17 year-old appellantsmental capacity to fully understand theconsequences of his
unlawful action.To give meaning to the legislative intent of the Act, the promotion of the welfare of a
child inconflict with the law should extend even to onewho has exceeded the age limit of twenty-one
(21)years, so long as he/she committed the crime whenhe/she was still a child. The offender shall
beentitled to the right to restoration, rehabilitationand reintegration in accordance with the Act inorder
that he/she is given the chance to live anormal life and become a productive member of the community.
The age of the child in conflict withthe law at the time of the promulgation of thejudgment of conviction
is not material. What matters is that the offender committed the offensewhen he/she was still of tender
age.RA No. 9344 warrants the suspension of sentence of a child in conflict with the lawnotwithstanding
that he/she has reached the age of majority at the time the judgment of conviction ispronounced.
According to the law, the appellant may be confined in an agricultural camp or anyother training facility
in accordance with Sec. 51 of Republic Act No. 9344.