• Victim’s credibility unaffected by delayed reporting of crime

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    Persida Acosta

    Persida Acosta

    Dear PAO,
    My brother-in-law was accused of rape by a teen-aged girl neighbor of his. Allegedly, he raped the victim a year ago when he and the victim attended a birthday of their common friend, and they were both drunk when the alleged crime happened. We knew that the motive of the victim in filing the case was extorting money from my brother-in-law. My questions are: Does the delay in reporting the crime negate the commission of rape, or will it affect the credibility of the victim?    
    Sodor

    Dear Sodor,
    Under Article 266-A of the Revised Penal Code of the Philippines, rape is 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;

    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.

    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.

    In the case of your brother-in-law, as long as any of the elements of rape by sexual intercourse or by sexual assault mentioned above can be proven in court, the crime of rape is committed. The delay in reporting the crime of rape does not negate its commission, and it does not affect the credibility of the victim. In fact in the case of People of the Philippines vs. Gerandoy (G. R. No. 202838, September 17, 2014), Supreme Court Associate Justice Jose Perez said:

    “We also dismiss the argument that the delay in filing the complaint indicates the innocence of the accused. Likewise without merit is the accused’s contention that the victim was only persuaded by her aunt to file a case as an act of revenge.

    Xxx xxx xxx.
    Delay of two years on the part of AAA in filing a case does not necessarily result [in]a doubt in her credibility. It must be emphasized that victims of rape and sexual abuse, especially minors, react differently to the same set of circumstances. The workings of a human mind placed under emotional stress are unpredictable; people react differently. Some may have a passive or reactive response or settle into insensibility.

    Thus, the delay incurred by the victim before she filed the complaint for rape will not exculpate your brother-in-law, and will not affect her credibility. There are other criteria that can be used by the court in order to determine the credibility of the victim.

    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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