A Child In Conflict with the Law (CICL) has been sentenced to reclusion perpetua and ordered to pay a total of P225,000.00 as civil indemnity and damages to an 18-year old mentally-challenged girl he allegedly raped twice in Panganiban town early this year.
The Regional Trial Court, however, suspended the sentence pursuant to Section 38 of Republic Act 9344 and ordered him committed to the Regional Rehabilitation Center for the Youth at Sorsogon City.
According to the prosecution, the victim, AAA, was sent on an errand by her mother at 5:30 P.M. of March 1, 2020 to send money to her sibling via the Smart Padala outlet in Bagatabao, Bagamanoc.
While at the outlet at 6 P.M., the 17-year old CICL approached her together with three of his friends. He held her hand and invited her to with them to the house of his friend in Bagatabao and she acceded since she considered him as a friend.
At his friend’s house, the group had a drinking session while AAA just watched them. At 8 P.M., the group decided to go to Maculiw, Panganiban, with the CICL inviting the girl and leading her by the hand to the shore where a motorized boat was docked.
Forty-five minutes later they were in Maculiw at the boy’s house where the drinking session resumed. When it ended at 10 P.M., the boy invited the girl to the room where he embraced her and began kissing her. This made her afraid and she resisted the CICL’s acts.
Warning her that if she refused, he will make the incident known, he covered her mouth and then forced himself upon her.
The sexual abuse was repeated a short time later despite AAA feeling pain and asking him to stop.
At the time, she later admitted, his parents were in their room but she did not shout for help since she was already afraid.
She managed to go home only after the barangay captain and two kagawads arrived and said they were looking for her.
Included as evidence in the case was a neuro-developmental evaluation issued by the chief neurologist of the Philippine Children’s Medical Center stating that an evaluation of the then three-year old girl found her to have “mental development delay.
The municipal health officer of Panganiban also examined the Grade 11 student and found superficial hymenal abrasions in her sex organ.
In his counter-affidavit, the CICL had claimed she was introduced to him on Feb. 12, 2020 and they became sweethearts on Feb. 25, with their first sexual encounter initiated by her four days later at the house of his friend for whom he was working as a laborer.
He denied that he raped her in Maculiw on March 1, insisting that they just stayed in the premises while waiting for the high tide.
He also alleged that when the barangay officials asked her why she went with him, she allegedly answered that she and the CICL would get married.
In her ruling, RTC Branch 43 Presiding Judge Lelu P. Contreras said that by interposing the “sweetheart theory,” the CICL claimed that he and AAA were lovers who engaged in consensual sex.
Citing a Supreme Court ruling that such a theory must be corroborated by documentary, testimonial or other evidence, Judge Contreras said the CICL could not present photographs taken of both of them and was not able to even show his facebook account.
The Court also said it could not believe that the boy, who had been in close contact with AAA for several times, failed to observe her childish behavior.