Criminal Law

People of the Philippines vs Salvador Tulagan

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NOTE: You are encouraged to read the full text of this case. This case comprehensively discussed Article 266-A of the RPC and Section 5b, RA 7610.

G.R. No. 227363 – 849 Phil. 197 – Criminal Law – Crimes Against Persons – Rape vs Sexual Assault – Damages in Rape Cases

Special Penal Laws – R.A. No. 7610 – Age of Sexual Consent – Proper Designation of the Offense and Penalties

Salvador Tulagan was accused of molesting and raping AAA, a 9-year old child. He was convicted of one count of Rape by Sexual Assault and one count of Stautory Rape. In the sexual assault case, he was directed to pay Php30,000.00 civil indemnity and Php20,000.00 as moral damages. In the statutory rape case, he was directed to pay Php50,000.00 civil indemnity and Php50,000.00 for moral damages.

The Court of Appeals affirmed the decision but modified the award of damages as follows: in the sexual assault case, moral damages was increased to Php30,000.00 and another Php30,000.00 was added for exemplary damages. In the statutory rape case, civil indemnity was increased to Php100,000.00, moral damages was increased to Php100,000.00, and another Php100,000.00 was added for exemplary damages.

ISSUES:

1. Is there such a case as Rape by Sexual Assault?

2. If the minor-victim is below the age of sexual consent, under which law should the perpetrator be prosecuted, Revised Penal Code or R.A. No. 7610 otherwise known as The Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act?

3. What does “child exploited in prostitution” mean?

4. Is the award of damages proper?

5. What is the weight of a minor-victim’s testimony in rape cases?

HELD:

1. No. The designation “Rape by sexual assault” is a misnomer. There is no such case as rape by sexual assault. Rape presupposes carnal knowledge. There is no carnal knowledge in sexual assault.

2. Designation of the Crime & Imposable Penalty in sex-related cases where victim is a minor

NOTE: This case was decided in 2019. In 2022, RA 11648 was enacted and the age of sexual consent was increased from 12 to 16. The table below is updated to reflect the amendments made by RA 11648.

Age of Victim: Under 16 years old or demented
16 years old or below 18, or 18 under special circumstances
18 years old and above
Crime Committed:
Acts of Lasciviousness committed against children exploited in prostitution or other sexual abuse
Acts of Lasciviousness under Article 336 of the RPC in relation to Section 5(b) of R.A. No. 7610: reclusion temporal in its medium period
Lascivious conduct under Section 5(b) of R.A. No. 7610: reclusion temporal in its medium period to reclusion perpetua
Not applicable
Sexual Assault committed against children exploited in prostitution or other sexual abuse Sexual Assault under Article 266-A(2) of the RPC in relation to Section 5(b) of R.A. No. 7610: reclusion temporal in its medium period Lascivious Conduct under Section 5(b) of R.A. No. 7610: reclusion temporal in its medium period to reclusion perpetua Not applicable
Sexual Intercourse committed against children exploited in prostitution or other sexual abuse Rape under Article 266-A(1) of the RPC: reclusion perpetua, except when the victim is below 7 years old in which case death penalty shall be imposed Sexual Abuse under Section 5(b) of R.A. No. 7610: reclusion temporal in its medium period to reclusion perpetua Not applicable
Rape by carnal knowledge Rape under Article 266-A(1) in relation to Art. 266-B of the RPC: reclusion perpetua, except when the victim is below 7 years old in which case death penalty shall be imposed Rape under Article 266-A(1) in relation to Art. 266-B of the RPC: reclusion perpetua Rape under Article 266-A(1) of the RPC: reclusion perpetua
Rape by Sexual Assault Sexual Assault under Article 266-A(2) of the RPC in relation to Section 5(b) of R.A. No. 7610: reclusion temporal in its medium period Lascivious Conduct under Section 5(b) of R.A. No. 7610: reclusion temporal in its medium period to reclusion perpetua Sexual Assault under Article 266-A(2) of the RPC: prision mayor

3. A child is considered one “exploited in prostitution or subjected to other sexual abuse” when the child indulges in sexual intercourse or lascivious conduct “under the coercion or influence of any adult.”

A child is deemed exploited in prostitution or subjected to other sexual abuse, when the child indulges in sexual intercourse or lascivious conduct (a) for money, profit, or any other consideration; or (b) under the coercion or influence of any adult, syndicate or group. Under R.A. No. 7610, children are “persons below eighteen years of age or those unable to fully take care of themselves or protect themselves from abuse, neglect, cruelty, exploitation or discrimination because of their age or mental disability or condition.” Noting that the law covers not only a situation in which a child is abused for profit, but also one in which a child, through coercion or intimidation, engages in any lascivious conduct, We ruled that Section 5(b) of R.A. No. 7610 penalizes not only child prostitution, the essence of which is profit, but also other forms of sexual abuse of children. We stressed that this is clear from the deliberations of the Senate, and that the law does not confine its protective mantle only to children under twelve (12) years of age. NOTE: Age of sexual consent is now 16.

4. No. The amount of damages imposed is not correct. Below is a table of damages for the guidance of the bar and bench:

Crime
Civil Indemnity
Moral Damages
Exemplary Damages
Acts of Lasciviousness under Article 336 of the RPC [Victim is of legal age]
P20,000.00
P20,000.00
P20,000.00
Acts of lasciviousness in relation to Section 5(b) of R.A. No. 7610 [Victim is a child under 16 years old or is demented]
P50,000.00
P50,000.00
P50,000.00
Sexual Abuse or Lascivious Conduct under Section 5(b) of R.A. No. 7610 [Victim is a child 16 years old and below 18, or above 18 under special circumstances]
P75,000.00 (If penalty imposed is reclusion perpetua)
P75,000.00 (If penalty imposed is reclusion perpetua)
P75,000.00 (If penalty imposed is reclusion perpetua)
P50,000.00 (If penalty imposed is within the range of reclusion temporal medium)
P50,000.00 (If penalty imposed is within the range of reclusion temporal medium)
P50,000.00 (If penalty imposed is within the range of reclusion temporal medium)
Sexual Assault under Article 266-A(2) of the RPC [Victim is of legal age]
P30,000.00
P30,000.00
P30,000.00
Sexual Assault under Article 266-A(2) of the RPC in relation to Section 5(b) of R.A. No. 7610 [Victim is a child under 16 years old or is demented]
P50,000.00
P50,000.00
P50,000.00

Based on this table, for his conviction in his sexual assault case, Tulagan should pay the victim Php50,000.00 as civil indemnity, Php50,000.00 as moral damages, and Php50,000.00 as exemplary damages.

On the other hand, for Tulagan’s conviction of statutory rape, he must pay the victim Php75,000.00 as civil indemnity, Php75,000.00 as moral damages, and Php75,000.00 as exemplary damages. This is based on the ruling in People v. Jugueta (783 Phil. 806).

5. Testimonies of child-victims are normally given full weight and credit, since when a girl, particularly if she is a minor, says that she has been raped, she says in effect all that is necessary to show that rape has in fact been committed. When the offended party is of tender age and immature, courts are inclined to give credit to her account of what transpired, considering not only her relative vulnerability but also the shame to which she would be exposed if the matter to which she testified is not true. Youth and immaturity are generally badges of truth and sincerity. A young girl’s revelation that she had been raped, coupled with her voluntary submission to medical examination and willingness to undergo public trial where she could be compelled to give out the details of an assault on her dignity, cannot be so easily dismissed as mere concoction.

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