Moral ascendancy in rape cases
"I was raped by my stepfather 15 years ago. I am afraid no one will ever believe me anymore because I did not report it during that time. Can he still be found guilty of rape?
Given the factual situation you disclosed, the case of People of the Philippines vs. Tito M. Amor (GR 216937, June 5, 2017), penned by Associate Justice Noel Tijam, shall enlighten you in your situation. It clearly stated:“And even assuming arguendo that AAA failed to resist, the same does not necessarily amount to consent to accused-appellant’s criminal acts. It is not necessary that actual force or intimidation be employed as moral influence or ascendancy takes the place of violence or intimidation. Jurisprudence holds that the failure of the victim to shout for help does not negate rape. Even the victim’s lack of resistance, especially when intimidated by the offender into submission, does not signify voluntariness or consent. In the cases of People v. Ofemaniano and People v. Corpuz, it has been acknowledged that even absent any actual force or intimidation, rape may be committed if the malefactor has moral ascendancy over the victim. Considering that accused-appellant was the common-law spouse of AAA’s mother, and as such, he was exercising parental authority over AAA. Indeed, in this case, moral ascendancy is substituted for force and intimidation.” (Emphasis supplied)
As stated in the above-mentioned case, your stepfather’s relationship to your mother entails “moral ascendancy.” As such, even if no actual force or violence attended the situation or that the victim failed to shout during the ordeal, rape may still be committed. Hence, you may still pursue the case against your stepfather.However, based on Article 90 of the Revised Penal Code, the prescriptive period for which rape may be prosecuted is 20 years from the time that right of action commences. Thus, the abuses you may have experienced 15 years ago may still be brought to justice today, subject to the substantive and procedural requirements of law.
We hope that we were able to answer your queries. 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 "
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"Moral ascendancy in rape cases"
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and updated on 15 September 2021