Rape complaint may be pursued even if victim can’t recall exact date
"My 16-year-old cousin is a rape victim. Her parents accompanied her to the police station so that they could file the necessary reports. During her interview, she said that she was raped by the 20-year-old brother of her friend, and gave other details that were asked of her, but she could not recall the exact date. She said it happened sometime between February 20 and 21, 2018. She was not sure of the exact date because it was dark at the time – it could have been the night of February 20 or early dawn of February 21. It was only between those two dates when they were together for a drinking spree.
The police officer said that she would take action on my cousin’s complaint and that my cousin would be notified when she needs to appear bfore the Prosecutor’s Office. Her parents were just wondering if the impreciseness on the part of my cousin as to the date of the rape incident could affect her complaint. Please advise me on this matter.Zoe
Dear Zoe,It is essential in filing a criminal complaint that the important details of the incident are mentioned. To be clear, Section 6 of Rule 110 of the Revised Rules of Court states:
“A complaint or information is sufficient if it states the name of the accused the designation of the offense given by the statute the acts or omissions complained of as constituting the offense the name of the offended party the approximate date of the commission of the offense and the place where the offense was committed. x x x”As can be gleaned from the abovementioned provision, an exact date of the commission of the crime is not particularly required. It is sufficient that the approximate date of the commission of the crime be mentioned. Section 11 of Rule 110 of the law, further provides:
“It is not necessary to state in the complaint or information the precise date the offense was committed except when it is a material ingredient of the offense. The offense may be alleged to have been committed on a date as near as possible to the actual date of its commission.”Applying the foregoing, we believe that your cousin may pursue filing a criminal complaint for rape against her alleged aggressor despite the fact that she could not recall the exact date of the commission thereof, considering that she still recollects the approximate date when the untoward incident happened. However, she must be able to establish the elements of the crime of rape pursuant to Republic Act 8353, otherwise known as The Anti-Rape Law of 1997:“Article 266-A. Rape: When And How Committed. - Rape is committed:(1) By a man who 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 abuse of authority and(d) When the offended party is under twelve (12) years of age or 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.”It has also been held by the Supreme Court in the case of People of the Philippines vs Pareja (GR 202122, January 15, 2014, Ponente: Associate Justice Teresita J. Leonardo-de Castro) that:“Besides, inaccuracies and inconsistencies in a rape victim’s testimony are generally expected. As this Court stated in People v. Saludo:x x xSince human memory is fickle and prone to the stresses of emotions, accuracy in a testimonial account has never been used as a standard in testing the credibility of a witness. x x x The date and time of the commission of the crime of rape becomes important only when it creates serious doubt as to the commission of the rape itself or the sufficiency of the evidence for purposes of conviction. In other words, the ‘date of the commission of the rape becomes relevant only when the accuracy and truthfulness of the complainant’s narration practically hinge on the date of the commission of the crime.’ Moreover, the date of the commission of the rape is not an essential element of the crime. x x x”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 ."
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"Rape complaint may be pursued even if victim can’t recall exact date"
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and updated on 15 September 2021