People vs. Sarcia
G.R. No.169641, September 10, 2009
Sometime on December 16, 1996, five-year-old [AAA], together with her cousin and two other playmates, was playing in the yard of Saling Crisologo near a mango tree. Suddenly, appellant appeared and invited AAA to go with him to the backyard of Crisologo’s house. Upon reaching the place, appellant removed AAA’s shorts and underwear. He also removed his trousers and brief. Thereafter, he ordered AAA to lie down on her back. Then, he lay on top of her and inserted his penis into AAA’s private organ. Appellant made an up-and-down movement ("Nagdapadapa tabi"). AAA felt severe pain inside her private part and said "aray." She also felt an intense pain inside her stomach.
At home, AAA did not tell her mother what appellant had done to her because she feared that her mother might slap her. Later, when her mother washed her body, she felt a grating sensation in her private part. Thereafter, AAA called for her cousin. AAA’s cousin came to their house and told AAA’s mother again that appellant had earlier made an up-and-down movement on top of AAA. AAA’s mother, however, did not say anything. At that time, AAA’s father was working in Manila. After almost four years, AAA’s father filed a complaint for acts of lasciviousness against herein accused-appellant on July 7, 2000. Upon review of the evidence, the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor at Ligao, Albay upgraded the charge to rape. On September 30, 2005, the case was elevated to the Supreme Court for further review.
Whether or not the suspension of sentence under the R.A. No.9344 is applicable to the appellant.
No. While Section 38 of R.A. No. 9344 provides that suspension of sentence can still be applied even if the child in conflict with the law is already eighteen (18) years of age or more at the time of the pronouncement of his/her guilt, Section 40 of the same law limits the said suspension of sentence until the said child reaches the maximum age of 21. Accused-appellant was about 31 years of age on the date of the appeal, and the judgment of the RTC had been promulgated, even before the effectivity of R.A. No. 9344. Thus, the application of Sections 38 and 40 to the suspension of sentence was already moot and academic. However, accused-appellant shall be entitled to appropriate disposition under Section 51 (Confinement of Convicted Children in Agricultural Camps and Other Training Facilities) of R.A. No. 9344, which provides for the confinement of convicted children: “A child in conflict with the law may, after conviction and upon order of the court, be made to serve his/her sentence, in lieu of confinement in a regular penal institution, in an agricultural camp and other training facilities that may be established, maintained, supervised and controlled by the Bureau of Corrections, in coordination with the Department of Social Welfare and Development.”