Consented abduction: Girl, 14, leaves home for guy, 23

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Persida Acosta

Persida Acosta

Dear PAO,
My 14-year-old daughter left our home to be with her 23-year-old boyfriend. We have been very vocal to her that we are against their relationship, not only because of their age gap, but also because the guy does not seem to have a serious outlook in life. He is already 23 years old but has not finished high school, and is jobless.

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Her friends told us that he proposed to our daughter. Probably, this was the reason why she left our house. I tried to talk to his parents but they refused to get involved, saying their son is already of age and we can sue him if we want to. They also do not know where their son has taken my daughter.

What case can we file against this guy? The thing is, we are not sure if he is her first boyfriend. But this is the first time she did this to us. We are only concerned for our daughter. She may think she is old enough for these things but she is still a minor and needs our guidance. Any advice will be highly appreciated.
Henry V

Dear Henry V,
It is inherent to all parents to protect and look out for what is best for their children. Hence, it is understandable for you and your wife to feel worried about your minor daughter’s condition now that she is with her 23-year-old boyfriend.

Should you decide to pursue in filing a criminal action against the latter, you may institute a complaint for consented abduction. As provided under Article 343 of the Revised Penal Code: “The abduction of a virgin over twelve years and under eighteen years of age, carried out with her consent and with lewd designs, shall be punished by the penalty of prision correccional in its minimum and medium periods.”

It is nevertheless essential for you to prove the existence of the elements of this crime. The elements have been discussed on page 343, Book II, The Revised Penal Code, Criminal Law by Luis B. Reyes, Sixteenth Edition 2006. First, your daughter, as the offended party, must be a virgin. It is worth emphasizing that the term “virgin” mentioned under the law does not necessarily mean absence of prior sexual activity or “virginity” in the strict sense of the word. It also does not require lack of previous relationships of the offended party. Thus, the fact that your daughter has had a previous relationship may not greatly affect the institution of the case. Second, the age of your daughter must be over 12 and under 18 years. This may be established through her birth certificate, medical, dental and such other pertinent records. Third, the taking away of your daughter must be with her consent after solicitation or cajolery from the offender, and lastly the taking away must be with lewd designs.

We hope that we were able to answer your queries. Please be reminded that this advice is based solely on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. Our opinion may vary when other facts are changed or elaborated.

Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to dearpao@manilatimes.net

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