My 22-year-old son who has autism told us that he was raped by 10 gay men on different occasions from 2011 until 2016. Can we still file a complaint against them? What should we do?
Thank you and waiting for your reply.
Article 90 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC) provides for the prescriptive period of crimes or the time fixed by law before the State losses the right to prosecute the offender. To determine the prescriptive period for an offense, it is important to first determine the penalty prescribed under the law for the offense committed.
You mentioned in your letter that your son who has an autism was raped. The RPC imposes the penalty of reclusion temporal if the crime of rape is committed “when the offender knew of the mental disability, emotional disorder and/or physical handicap of the offended party at the time of the commission of the crime” (Article 266-B). Thus, if the assailants knew of your son’s condition when they raped him, the law prescribes the penalty of reclusion temporal against them. However, if the 10 assailants are not aware of your son’s condition when they raped your son, then the imposable penalty is prision mayor to reclusion temporal (Ibid).
After determining the prescribed penalty, we can now determine the prescriptive period for the offense. The RPC provides the following prescriptive periods:
“Article 90. Prescription of crimes – Crimes punishable by death, reclusion perpetua or reclusion temporal shall prescribe in 20 years.
Crimes punishable by other afflictive penalties shall prescribe in 15 years. xxx”
For offenses punishable by reclusion temporal, the law provides a period of 20 years to institute the action. While offenses punishable by prision mayor, which is an afflictive penalty, must be instituted within a period of 15 years. Please note that “the period of prescription shall commence to run from the day on which the crime is discovered by the offended party, the authorities, or their agents… xxx” (Art. 91, Id.)
You relayed to us in your letter, that the first incident of rape happened in 2011. As only six years have lapsed since the commission of the first offense, you may still institute the complaint against your son’s assailants as it is still well within the prescriptive period provided by law.
We also emphasize that each act of rape counts as one count for rape. Thus, the prescriptive period for each count of rape would commence to run from the day the offense was committed against your son.
We highly recommend that you immediately approach a lawyer who can assist you in the drafting of a complaint and advice you regarding other processes that are helpful to press charges against your son’s assailants.
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 email@example.com