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Valcesar Estioca vs People of the Philippines

(GR 173876 June 27, 2008)

Facts

A number of persons were accused of conspiring and robbing an elementary school. One of which is Boniao who was 14 years old at the time of the commission of the crime. They were found guilty by the lower court. When the case was appealed to the CA, RA 9344 took effect and Boniao was acquitted since he was a minor at the time of the crime but without prejudice to his civil liability. Custody was given to his parents.

ISSUE

Whether RA 9344 can retroact to Boniao’s case.

HELD.

Yes, the reckoning point in considering minority is the time of the commission of the crime. In this case Boniao is 14 years old hence exempted from criminal liability without prejudice to his civil liability. Art 22 of the Revised Penal Code provides that penal laws may be given retroactive effect if they are in favour of the acused.

Joemar Ortega vs. People of the Philippines

(GR 151085 August 20, 2008)

Facts

Petitioner was 13 years old when he raped a 6 year old girl This act was committed sometime in 1996. The lower courts convicted him of rape with criminal and civil liability imposed. During the pendency of appeal in the Supreme Court, RA 9344 was passed which provided that at the time of the commission of the crime, a child whose age was 15 years old and below will be exempted from criminal liability.

ISSUE:

Whether criminal liability attaches although there were already convictions in the lower court. Stated otherwise, whether the retroactive effect of the law is not applicable in the case at bar.

HELD.

NO. Although there is a crime committed, no criminal liability attaches. Sec. 15 of RA 9344 exempts a child below fifteen from criminal liability if at the time of the commission of the crime he is below fifteen (15) years of age. Upon assessment, the offender will be released to the custody of his parents or be referred to prevention programs. It is given a retroactive since penal laws which are favourable to the accused are give retroactive effect(Art 22 of the Revised Penal code)

Even if the crime committed is heinous as in this case rape- criminal liability does not attach. The flaw in the logic of the law should be addressed in Congress and not in courts. This is to give life to the full intent of the law. Civil liability however, is not extinguished.

Robert Sierra vs People of the Philippines

(GR 182941 July 3, 2009)

Facts

Petitioner was 15 years old when he raped a minor. He was convicted of rape and was imposed a penalty of imprisonment of reclusion perpetua and a fine. He elevated the case to CA and during the pendence of the case, RA 9344 took effect. CA affirmed the conviction and denied the defense of minority since the age was not established by presenting the birth certificate but only alleged in the testimonial of the petitioner and his mother. According to them the burden of proof of age is upon the prosecution.

ISSUES

 

Who has the burden of proof in establishing the age of the accused?

Whether the law be given retroactive application.

HELD:

The duty to establish the age of the accused is not on the prosecution but on the accused. Age can be established by birth certificate. Sec. 7 provides that in the absence of such document, age may be based from the information of the child, testimonies of other persons, physical appearance and other relevant evidence. Also in case of doubt, minority should be in favour of the child. In the case at bar, minority was established by the testimonies of the petitioner and his mother. This was not objected by the prosecution and did not even presented contrary evidence. Thus, minority is established.

The law should be given retroactive application since this favors the accused as provided for in the Revised Penal Code penal laws favouring the accused should be given retroactive effect. Hence the accused is considered a minor with an age of not above 15 years old. The case is dismissed and the petitioner is referred to the appropriate local social welfare.

Raymund Madali and Rodel Madali vs. People of the Philippines

(GR 180380 August 4, 2009)

Facts:

Petitioners inflicted physical injuries to the victim which caused the latter’s death. At the time of the crime, Raymund and Rodel were minors 14 years old and 16 years old respectively. The lower court found them guilty of homicide. Petitioners elevated the case to the CA and during the pendency of the appeal, RA 9344 took effect.

ISSUE

Whether petitioners should be exempted from criminal liability.

HELD

Yes. At the time of the commission of the crime, petitioners were minors. By provisions of RA 9344, they are exempted from liability but not from criminal liability. Their exemption however differs. In the case of Raymund, the case is dismissed as to him since he was below 15 years old. He is to be released and custody is given to the parents by virtue of RA 9344 Secs. 6 and 20 setting the minimum age of criminal responsibility and who will have custody respectively. In the case of Rodel, who was 16 years old at that time, It is necessary to determine whether he acted with discernment or not. Sec 6 provides that children above 15 but below 18 will be exempt from criminal liability unless he acted with discernment. He, however, should be subjected to an intervention program. Sec 38 provides for the automatic suspension of sentence.

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, vs. HERMIE M. JACINTO

(GR 182239 March 16, 2011)

FACTS:

Accused-appellant Hermie Jacinto, is charged and convicted in the lower courts of raping a 5- year old child, AAA. Jacinto is neighbors 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 victim’s 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 victim’s father confronted Jacinto and called the police. AAA underwent a physical check-up which leads to findings that she had been raped. For his defense, 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 defense 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: Yes, SC confirms conviction. However due to the retroactive effect of RA 9344, 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 RA 9344 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 place to perpetrate the crime, to prevent detection and he boxed the victim to weaken her defense. These are indicative of then 17 year-old appellant’s mental capacity to fully understand the consequences of his unlawful action.

To give meaning to the legislative intent of the Act, the promotion of the welfare of a child in conflict with the law should extend even to one who has exceeded the age limit of twenty-one (21) years, so long as he/she committed the crime when he/she was still a child. The offender shall be entitled to the right to restoration, rehabilitation and reintegration in accordance with the Act in order that he/she is given the chance to live a normal life and become a productive member of the community. The age of the child in conflict with the law at the time of the promulgation of the judgment of conviction is not material. What matters is that the offender committed the offense when he/she was still of tender age.

RA No. 9344 warrants the suspension of sentence of a child in conflict with the law notwithstanding that he/she has reached the age of majority at the time the judgment of conviction is pronounced. According to the law, the appellant may be confined in an agricultural camp or any other training facility in accordance with Sec. 51 of Republic Act No. 9344.

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. JERWIN QUINTAL, VICENTE BONGAT, FELIPE QUINTAL, and LARRY PANTI

(G.R. No. 184170 February 2, 2011)

FACTS:

On 2 May 2001, appellant Vicente, together with 15-year old Jerwin Quintal, 16-year old Felipe Quintal and Larry Panti were charged in an Information for Rape. The victim is a 16-year old girl, AAA. Of all the accused, only Felipe and Jerwin were arrested. The victim testified that in August 2002, as she was leaving a wake at around 10 pm, she noticed that Jerwin was following her. She recognized Jerwin because he was her schoolmate. As AAA was about to go into her grandmother’s house, the both of the accused invited her to go to a birthday party, to which she acceded. She was then led to a rice field where the other accused were and all four of them took turns to rape her.

AAA reported the incident after 2 days. The parents of Jerwin accompanied their son and there were talks of Jerwin proposing marriage to the victim and there was an admission of the rape put in writing. For the defense, Jerwin claimed that the victim was his girlfriend and they had sexual intercourse before.

In 2006, the RTC convicted all the accused of rape and sentenced them to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua, but mitigated the penalty imposed on Jerwin and Felipe for they were minors. Pursuant to R.A. No. 9344, the judgment of conviction against Jerwin Quintal and Felipe Quintal was suspended and they were confined at the Home for Boys in Naga City for rehabilitation.

In 2009, the RTC ordered the dismissal of the cases against Jerwin and Felipe upon reconsideration upon the recommendation of the DSWD. The only appellant in this case is Vicente, who was not a minor at the time of the commission of the crime.

ISSUE: Whether or not there is sufficient evidence for conviction.

HELD: No. The credibility of the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses, as well as the inconclusive medical finding, tends to create doubt if AAA was indeed raped. The RTC and the Court of Appeals relied largely on the testimony of AAA that she was raped.

The SC doubted the credibility of AAA’s testimony, which was inconsistent with the testimonies she told the barangay tanod and barangay kagawad, the purported confession put into writing and signed by all the accused; and the subsequent incidents relating to the case. The combination of all the circumstances are more than sufficient to create a reasonable doubt as to whether first, rape was actually committed and second, whether the accused were the perpetrators.

As to the minors Jerwin and Felipe, the case against them had been dismissed before the RTC.