Difference between acts of lasciviousness and rape

Persida Acosta

Persida Acosta

Dear PAO,
I just need a clarification. I am trying to help out a friend. She intends to file a case of rape against someone who sexually assaulted her, but when she reported the incident to the police station, she was told that she can only file a case for acts of lasciviousness. What is the difference between the two?

Dear MVG,
The crimes of Rape and Acts of Lasciviousness are very different from each other. Firstly, the crime of Acts of Lasciviousness is classified as a crime against chastity under Title Eleven of the Revised Penal Code. On the other hand, Rape, by virtue of Republic Act (R.A.) No. 8353 otherwise known as the Anti-Rape Law of 1997, is classified as a crime against persons.

Secondly, the elements of these crimes are distinct from each other. In order that there be a crime of Rape, it must be shown that it was committed: (1) 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; or (2) By any person who, under any of the circumstances mentioned in paragraph 1 hereof, shall commit an act of sexual assault by inserting his penis into another person’s mouth or anal orifice, or any instrument or object, into the genital or anal orifice of another person (Article 266-A, Revised Penal Code (RPC) as amended).

In contrast, the elements of the crime of Acts of Lasciviousness are: (1) the offender commits any act of lasciviousness or lewdness against the offended party who is another person of either sex; (2) that it is done: (a) by using force or intimidation; (b) by deprivation of reason or consciousness; or (c) when the offended party is under 12 years of age, even though neither of the circumstances mentioned in the two next preceding paragraphs shall be present (Article 336, RPC).

Applying the foregoing, it is only possible for your friend to file a criminal complaint for Rape against the person who has sexually assaulted her if the aforestated elements for the crime of Rape are present. A contrario, a complaint for Rape may not be entertained or may even be dismissed, notwithstanding the same has been filed before the proper authorities, if any of the mentioned elements is lacking. Nevertheless, a complaint for Acts of Lasciviousness may stand if she can establish that the elements provided under Article 336 of the RPC transpired during the time she was assailed sexually.

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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  1. No, what she meant is that if the victim is under 12 consent is immaterial, there can be rape or AoL depending on the presence of the other requisites. But if she be 12 – 18, then the crime would be simple seduction or qualified seduction if a guy had carnal knowledge with a girl within the said age.

  2. “and d) When the offended party is under twelve (12) years of age”

    You mean that with consent, it’s ok to be with a 12 year old???? That’s crazy! Most places in my country it is when the offended party is under seventeen (17) years of age it’s statutory rape even if they persue it.