Criminal Law

People of the Philippines vs Rolando Bacule

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G.R. No. 127568 – 323 SCRA 734 – Criminal Law – Book I – Aggravating Circumstances – Must be alleged in the Information

Political Law – Constitutional Law – Bill of Rights – Rights of the Accused – Right to be informed of the nature and cause of accusation against him

While the 8 year old daughter of Rolando Bacule was sleeping, Bacule undressed her. This awakened the child. But since her father was stronger than her, the father was able to insert his penis into her vagina. The daughter was helpless. The next day, she reported what happened to her aunt. Thereafter, a case was filed against Bacule. After trial, the judge convicted Bacule and sentenced him to death. The judge appreciated three aggravating circumstances against Bacule, to wit, ignominy (as it was testified during trial that Bacule inserted his penis into the anus of the minor victim), moral ascendancy, and that the minor victim was the daughter of his common-law wife.

ISSUE: Whether or not the aggravating circumstances were properly appreciated in the instant case.

HELD: No. Moral ascendancy cannot be appreciated against Bacule because moral ascendancy is not among the aggravating circumstances enumerated in Article 14 of the Revised Penal Code.

Ignominy and Bacule’s relationship (being the common-law spouse of the minor victim’s parent) with the minor victim are likewise not appreciated because they were not alleged in the information. Ignominy was not written in the information but was proven during trial. The fact that the minor victim is the child of Bacule’s common-law wife was also not written in the information but was also proven during trial. Even though these aggravating circumstances were proven, they cannot be appreciated against the accused because to do so would already violate his constitutional right to be informed of the offenses being accused of him. The rule is, all aggravating circumstances must be duly alleged in the information otherwise they are waived for the prosecution is only allowed to prove what was alleged in the information.

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