RAPE: Minority & Actual Relationship

As regards the penalty to be imposed upon the appellant, it must be noted that the rape was committed prior to the effectivity of Republic Act No. 8353, otherwise known as The Anti-Rape Law of 1997. Applicable then is the old provision of Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by Section 11 of Republic Act No. 7659, which states in part:

Section 11. Article 335 of the same Code is hereby amended to read as follows: Art. 335. When and how rape is committed. Rape is committed by having carnal knowledge of a woman under any of the following circumstances:

1. By using force or intimidation;
2. When the woman is deprived of reason or otherwise unconscious; and
3. When the woman is under twelve years of age or is demented.

The crime of rape shall be punished by reclusion perpetua. x x x x

The death penalty shall also be imposed if the crime of rape is committed with any of the following attendant circumstances:

1. when the victim is under eighteen (18) years of age and the offender is a parent, ascendant, step-parent, guardian, relative by consanguinity or affinity within the third civil degree, or the common-law-spouse of the parent of the victim. x x x.

From the aforesaid provision of law, both minority and actual relationship must be alleged and proved in order to convict the appellant for qualified rape; otherwise, a conviction for rape in its qualified form will be barred.
In this case, while the minority of the victim was properly alleged in the Information, her relationship with appellant was not properly stated therein because what appears in the information is that the victim is the stepdaughter of appellant. A stepdaughter is the daughter of one's spouse by a previous marriage. For appellant to be the stepfather of AAA, he must be legally married to AAA's mother. And the best evidence to prove the marriage between the appellant and the mother of the complainant is their marriage contract. But the records of this case failed to show that the appellant and the mother of AAA were legally married, there being no marriage certificate ever presented to prove the same. In fact, both the appellant and the mother of AAA admitted that they were not really married, and what they had was merely a common-law relationship. The Information thus failed to allege specifically that appellant was the common-law spouse of the victims mother. Instead, the Information erroneously alleged the qualifying circumstance that appellant was the stepfather of the victim. Hence, the appellant is liable only for the crime of simple rape punishable by reclusion perpetua. (G.R. No. 177749; December 17, 2007)