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PEOPLE V RICHARD O.

SARCIA

GR NO 169641 September 10, 2009


DOCTRINE:

While Sec 38 of RA 9344 (Juvenile Justice Welfare Act) provides that suspension of
sentence can still be applied even if the child in conflict with the law is already 18
years of age or more at the time of the pronouncement of his/her guilt, Sec 40 of the
same law limits the said suspension of sentence until the said child reaches the
maximum age of 21.

FACTS:

Accused was charged with raping AAA, 5 year old child sometime in 1996.(the initial
complaint filed by the victims father was for acts of lasciviousness, in case maam
asks). The complaint was filed almost 4 years after the incident.

Sometime during December 16, 1996, AAA (the 5yo minor) was playing with her
cousin and two other playmates in the yard of Saling Crisologos house (relationship
of this person with the accused or the victim was not specified). Suddenly appellant
appeared and invited AAA to go with him to the backyard of said house. She agreed.
Upon reaching the place, appellant removed AAAs shorts and underwear and
proceeded to rape her.


NOTE: During the time that the accused testified before the SC on March 14, 2002,
he was 24 years old, which means that in 1996, he was 18 years of age. The trial
court found that the rape incident could have taken place in any month and date in
the year 1996. Since the prosecution was not able to prove the exact date and time
when the rape was committed, it is not certain that the crime of rape was committed
on or after he reached 18 years of age in 1996.

ISSUE:

1. Whether the accused is guilty of rape. (incidental issue to the topic)

2. Whether the Juvenile Justice Welfare Act (JJWA) applies in suspending
the sentence of the accused. (IMPORTANT)

RULING:

1. YES. The accused is guilty of rape because it was proven that he had carnal
knowledge with a minor. There is a conclusive presumption of absence of
free consent when the rape victim is below the age of twelve.

2. NO. SECTION 38 and 40 of the JJWA is MOOT and ACADEMIC in this case. The
SC ruled that despite being a heinous crime, the accused can still be given a
suspension of sentence under sec 38 of the JJWA. However, while Sec 38 of
RA 9344 (Juvenile Justice Welfare Act) provides that suspension of sentence
can still be applied even if the child in conflict with the law is already 18
years of age or more at the time of the pronouncement of his/her guilt, Sec
40 of the same law limits the said suspension of sentence until the said child
reaches the maximum age of 21.

During the trial, the accused was already 31 years old, and the judgment of
the RTC had been promulgated before the JJWA was passed. Thus, the
application of for the suspension of sentence is moot and academic.

Accused is entitled to appropriate disposition under sec 51 of the JJWA,
which provides for the confinement of convicted children in agricultural
camps and other training facilities.


(In case youre wondering why this is under Art 12 of the RPC, par 3 of the same was
repealed by the JJWA to provide that children above 15 but below 18 years of age
who acted without discernment are exempt from criminal liability.)