The Regional Trial Court has sentenced a pedicab driver in his late 60’s to reclusion perpetua, in addition to two more prison sentences, for sexually abusing a 12-year old neighbor in San Andres poblacion a few years ago.
In a judgment issued recently, RTC Branch 43 Presiding Judge Lelu P. Contreras found Orlando (not his real name) guilty of three separate sexual offenses committed against the same victim from 2017 to 2018.
For violation of Republic Act 8353 or the Anti-Rape Law during the first incident of sexual abuse in 2017, the accused was meted imprisonment ranging from 12 years, 10 months and 21 days as minimum, to 15 years, six months and 20 days as maximum, and to pay the victim a total of P150,000 as civil indemnity, moral and exemplary damages.
For the same offense committed in June 2018, he was ordered to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua and to pay the victim P200,000 as damages.
For acts of lasciviousness that he perpetrated during the same month, he was meted imprisonment ranging from 12 years, 10 months and 21 days as minimum, to 15 years, six months and 20 days as maximum, and to pay the victim a total of P150,000 as civil indemnity, moral and exemplary damages.
Prosecution evidence showed sometime in the afternoon one day in October 2017, the victim, AAA, went to watch TV at the house of the pedicab driver’s sister just in front of their residence.
Inside, the girl came upon the accused lying on a folding bed inside the room watching TV. He summoned her to watch TV and she sat down by the stairs in front of the door.
When Orlando went to the kitchen, she entered the room and sat by the folding bed.
When he returned, she stood and sat on the floor but he suddenly locked the door, grabbed her hand and forced her to sit on the folding bed where he removed her shorts and panty.
After sexually abusing her while she cried, he put back her clothes and placed P20 inside her pocket. She wiped away her tears and went home, not telling anyone about what happened.
In June 2018, one afternoon she entered her neighbor’s house to watch TV but Orlando pulled her towards the room, locking the door and then having carnal knowledge with the girl. Again, he gave her P20.
The pedicab driver’s dastardly deeds was finally exposed when on June 16, 2018, AAA and her sister went inside the same house and sat together to watch TV as Orlando was cooking in the kitchen.
When her sister left together with her mother, Orlando went into the room, invited her to enter and sit by the bed as he was going to give her something but she remained standing as she was afraid.
He locked the door, forced her to sit, pulled down her shorts and panty, and placed her face over her sexual organ, a sight that shocked her mother who had come looking for her daughter and peeped through the window.
When her mother asked her why she and their neighbor were inside the locked room, AAA did not answer and just cried.
It was only after several days that the girl finally confessed to her mother what really happened.
In his defense, Orlando claimed that in October 2017, he was a taxi driver in Manila and that it was only on May 1, 2018 that he went to Catanduanes together with his son for a vacation.
On the June 16, 2018 incidents, he alleged that during a commercial break, AAA approached him and asked about his denture. While she was seated, he opened his mouth, positioned himself in front of her face to show her his denture.
It was this that her mother saw when she peeped through the window, Orlando claimed, something which he said was without malice.
In brushing aside his denial of the June 16, 2018 incident, the Court said it was not convinced by such a shallow defense as the mother vividly described what she saw, confirming the victim’s testimony.
Orlando also did not present any proof to support his claim that he was in Manila in October 2017, working as a taxi driver.
It noted that he failed to present any evidence to refute the second rape incident that occurred sometime in June 2018.
“While it is true that AAA admitt5ed that she was not forced and intimidated by the accused in all three incidents of sexual abuses, nevertheless, the acts committed against her during the first incident sometime in October 2017 and the second incident in June 2018 are still considered rape since she was under 12 years old…,” Judge Contreras emphasized.