The Supreme Court (SC) showed no compassion for a man who sexually abused a mentally or intellectually retarded minor in 2013 because it imposed a higher sentence on him.
Considering that the convicted criminal knew that the young girl suffered from a form of mental retardation and that this “did not dissuade him from pursuing his bestial desires, the law therefore imposes a higher penalty on him for his intransigent carnal motives”, underlined the SC.
Instead of the only life imprisonment (prison sentence ranging from 20 to 40 years), since the death penalty had been removed from the penal statutes, as well as civil damages and indemnities, the SC decided that Edilberto M. Manuel Jr . was to be imprisoned “without a word.”
The SC decision that was released on October 4 was written by Chief Justice Alexander G. Gesmundo. It confirmed with modification the judgments delivered by the Court of First Instance in 2017 as affirmed by the Court of Appeal (CA) in 2018.
(The names of the victim, his relatives and other people who testified in the case, as well as the place where the crime occurred have been redacted in the SC decision.)
The victim was 15 when she was abused by Edilberto in 2013. But even before the rape was committed, court records showed Edilberto touched the private parts of the victim who is the daughter of his living partner. .
Due to her intellectual disability, she was assisted by a doctor to recount her ordeal during the trial.
As summarized in its 2018 decision, the AC said: “When the victim was six years old, she was found to have an overall pattern of developmental delay and had a developmental age of 3 to 3.5. years. At 9 years old, he was diagnosed with mental retardation with a developmental age of a child of 5 years old. At her follow-up visit at the age of 16, she was diagnosed with a developmental age of 5 to 5.5 years.
The CA also stated: The victim “further stated that she lived in the same house as the accused-appellant (Edilberto) for a while; and that the latter repeatedly touched his private part. As the accused-appellant threatened her, she did not report the incident to anyone. She was only 15 at the time of the incident.
On the day the rape took place, the victim’s mother asked why Edilberto had entered the room and locked the door. The victim described to his mother what Edilberto did. They reported the incident to the barangay, the Department of Social Welfare and Development and the police. A rape complaint has been filed. He denied having abused the girl.
After the trial, the Regional Court of First Instance (RTC) found Edilberto guilty of rape, sentenced him to life imprisonment; and ordered him to pay 50,000 P in civil damages, 50,000 P in moral damages and 30,000 P in exemplary damages.
The RTC found the victim’s testimony to be “straightforward, compelling and consistent despite her mental disability; and there was no tinge of vengeance or resentment in his testimony; and the fact of his mental disability was well established by competent medical evidence.
The Board confirmed the prison sentence imposed on Edilberto. But he increased the pecuniary compensation to P 75,000 for civil compensation, P 75,000 for moral damages and P 75,000 for exemplary damages with interest of six percent until full payment.
The appeals court ruled that “the credible disclosure of this accused-appellant (Edilberto) violated her is the most important evidence of the commission of the crime” and that “there is no evidence that the victim was motivated by an inappropriate reason ”.
On Edilberto’s call, the SC said:
“Initially, it should be noted that the information accused the accused-appellant not only of rape, punishable by Article 266-A (l) (b), but also of the allegation that the accused-appellant was aware of the complainant’s mental retardation at the time of the commission of the offense.
“This, coupled with a review of the records and the court’s decision in People v. Castillo, obliges the Court to convict the accused-appellant of statutory qualifying rape, despite the sub-silent treatment of the courts of first instance and of appeal on the alleged qualifying circumstance. in the information.
“Here it has been conclusively proven that the victim, at the age of 16, was diagnosed as having a developmental age of 5 to 5.5 years. His doctor and members of his family have testified to this.
Moreover, her testimony about her experience at the hands of the accused-appellant, whom she called ‘Kuya Boy’ or ‘Charles’, convinces this Court that the accused-appellant had successfully had a carnal knowledge of the victim.
“Faced with the victim’s testimony, the accused-appellant’s defense of denial and alibi fails. There is no evidence that she was pushed by an improper motive. As the Court has previously held, “in view of the victim’s mental retardation, [W]We find it highly unlikely that she fabricates the rape charge against the appellant.
“It is also unlikely that she was charged with accusing the appellant given his limited intelligence. Due to her mental state, only a very traumatic experience would leave a lasting impression on her so that she could remember it when asked.
“Here, it is impossible that the accused-appellant did not know the mental state and the condition of the victim. Her intimate relationship with her birth mother, along with the victim’s frequent and scheduled visits to her home every Sunday, is sufficient evidence to establish her guilt for the crime of capital rape.
“By virtue of art. 266-B of the RPC (Revised Penal Code), qualified rape is punishable by death. However, due to the enactment of Republic Law No. 9346, the law prohibiting the imposition of the death penalty in the Philippines, the penalty is automatically reduced to life imprisonment.
“In addition, the sentence of life imprisonment should be qualified by the expression“ without eligibility for parole ”in accordance with the guidelines of the Court in MO # 15-08-02-SC.
“THEREFORE, the Court DISMISSES the appeal; FINDS the accused-appellant Edilberto Manuel, Jr. y Mangalindan GUILTY of qualifying rape, as defined and punished under article 266-A (l) (d), in relation to article 266-B of the Code revised penal; IMPOSES the sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole; and ORDERS the accused-appellant to PAY the following sums: 100,000 pi as civil indemnity, 100,000 pi in moral damages, 100,000 pi in exemplary damages and to PAY interest on said amounts to rate of six percent (6%) per from the final date of this decision until full payment. THUS ORDERED.
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