Minority As An Exempting Circumstance Is Determined By One's Birth Date And Not By One's Mental Age

Accused-appellant Roxas was charged of five counts of rape against AAA, a minor who was 9 years old at the time of the first rape and 10 ...

Accused-appellant Roxas was charged of five counts of rape against AAA, a minor who was 9 years old at the time of the first rape and 10 years old at the time of the succeeding four rapes. The trial court and the Court of Appeals found him guilty as charged hence this instant appeal.
AAA testified that the appellant who was her uncle raped her in five different occasions. The fist one was committed when she was only 9 years old and the subsequent rapes were committed on the months of March, May, July and August of the year 1998. On those five instances, the appellant employed the same method of blindfolding AAA and turning her around three times, after which, he would lay her down in bed and have carnal knowledge with her. She tried to push him and raise her shorts and panty, but she did not succeed because he poked a pointed instrument on her neck. She did not report the incident because she was threatened by the accused-appellant not to tell anybody or else he would cut her tongue and kill her and her mother.
Accused-appellant Roxas points out that under Republic Act No. 9344 or the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006, minors fifteen (15) years old and below are exempt from criminal responsibility. He claims that since he has a mental age of nine years old, he should also be "exempt from criminal liability although his chronological age at the time of the commission of the crime was already eighteen years old.”

  1. Are all the elements of rape present in the instant case?
  2. Is accused-appellant Roxas exempt from the crime charged?

I. All the elements of rape are present. 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 is 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.
The prosecution having established all the elements of rape, accused-appellant is guilty of the same.

II. Accused-appellant Roxas is NOT exempt from criminal liability. In the matter of assigning criminal responsibility, Section 6 of Republic Act No. 9344 is explicit in providing that:
SEC. 6. Minimum Age of Criminal Responsibility. — A child fifteen (15) years of age or under at the time of the commission of the offense shall be exempt from criminal liability. However, the child shall be subjected to an intervention program pursuant to Section 20 of this Act.
A child is deemed to be fifteen (15) years of age on the day of the fifteenth anniversary of his/her birth date.
A child above fifteen (15) years but below eighteen (18) years of age shall likewise be exempt from criminal liability and be subjected to an intervention program, unless he/she has acted with discernment, in which case, such child shall be subjected to the appropriate proceedings in accordance with this Act.
The exemption from criminal liability herein established does not include exemption from civil liability, which shall be enforced in accordance with existing laws.
In determining age for purposes of exemption from criminal liability, Section 6 clearly refers to the age as determined by the anniversary of one’s birth date, and not the mental age as argued by accused-appellant Roxas. When the law is clear and free from any doubt or ambiguity, there is no room for construction or interpretation. Only when the law is ambiguous or of doubtful meaning may the court interpret or construe its true intent.
G.R. No. 200793, June 4, 2014
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, vs. MILAN ROXAS y AGUILUZ,Accused-Appellant.
The author takes no responsibility for the validity, correctness and result of this work. The information provided is not a legal advice and it should not be used  as a substitute for a competent legal advice from a licensed lawyer. See the disclaimer

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