People v. Terelios (G.R. No. 217025. Aug. 23, 2017)


FACTS: The RTC issued a decision finding the accused-appellant guilty beyond reasonable doubt of three counts of qualified rape committed against AAA, his own minor daughter. This was affirmed by the CA.

The accused-appellant was penalized by the lower courts with reclusion perpetua for each count of qualified rape. However, the applicable law - Article 266-A and Article 266-B of the Revised Penal Code, as amended - clearly set death as the penalty for qualified rape, to wit:
Article 266-A. Rape; When and How Committed. - Rape is committed: By a man who shall have carnal knowledge of a woman under any of the following circumstances:

a. Through force, threat or intimidation;
b. When the offended party is deprived of reason or otherwise unconscious;
c. By means of fraudulent machination or grave abuse of authority; and
d. When the offended party is under twelve (12) years of age or is demented, even though none of the circumstances mentioned above be present.

Article 266-B. Penalties, x x x.

The death penalty shall also be imposed if the crime of rape is committed with any of the following aggravating/qualifying 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; xxx.
ISSUES: Should the accused-appellant be punished by death? What is the proper amount of civil liabilities?

The passage in mid-2006 of Republic Act No. 9346 has saved the accused-appellant from the supreme penalty. Section 1 of Republic Act No. 9346 provides: "Section 1. The imposition of the penalty of death is hereby prohibited."Nonetheless, pursuant to Section 3 of Republic Act No. 9346, the accused-appellant shall suffer reclusion perpetua without eligibility for parole.

Conformably with People v. Jugueta, the civil liabilities shall be increased, specifically: P100,000.00 for civil indemnity; P100,000.00 for moral damages; and P100,000.00 for exemplary damages, all to be paid to AAA with interest of 6% per annum from the finality of this decision until full satisfaction.

[1] People v. Cabalquinto (G.R. No. 167693, September 19, 2006, 502 SCRA 419) requires the real names of the rape victim and of the members of her immediate family and the household members, and other information tending to establish or compromise the identity of the victim not to be disclosed.

[2] An Act Prohibiting The Imposition of Death Penalty in The Philippines, repealing Republic Act 8177 otherwise known as the Act Designating Death By Lethal Injection, Republic Act 7659 otherwise known as the Death Penalty Law and all other laws, executive orders and decrees.

[3] Section 3 of Republic Act No. 9346 provides: Sec. 3. Persons convicted of offenses punished with reclusion perpetua, or whose sentences will be reduced to reclusion perpetua, by reason of this Act, shall not be eligible for parole under Act No. 4103, otherwise known as the Indeterminate Sentence Law, as amended.

[4] G.R. No. 202124, April 5, 2016, 778 SCRA 331, 381-382.

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