Thursday, January 26, 2012

People of the Philippines vs. Quiachon, G.R. No. 170236 , August 31, 2006

Facts: Appellant Roberto Quiachon was charged with the crime of qualified rape. On or about May 12, 2001, the accused, by means of force and intimidation had sexual intercourse with one Rowena Quiachon, his daughter, 8 years old, a deaf-mute minor. Rowel recounted that on the night of May 12, 2001, Rowel saw his father on top of his sister Rowena and they were covered by a blanket or "kumot." His father's buttocks were moving up and down, and Rowel could hear Rowena crying. He could not do anything because he was afraid of their father. Rowel remained in the room but the following morning, he told his aunt, Carmelita Mateo about what he had witnessed. Together, Carmelita and Rowel went to the police to report what had transpired.

The Regional Trial Court found the appellant guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of qualified rape defined and penalized under Articles 266-A and B of the Revised Penal Code. The court imposed death penalty against the accused. The defense argued that the benefits of RA 9346 should be extended to the accused.

Issue: Whether the appellant can benefit from R.A. 9346 which abolished the death penalty law.

Held: Yes. In view of the enactment of Republic Act (R.A.) No. 9346 on June 24, 2006 prohibiting the imposition of the death penalty, the penalty to be meted on appellant is reclusion perpetua in accordance with Section 2 thereof which reads:

SECTION 2. In lieu of the death penalty, the following shall be imposed:

the penalty of reclusion perpetua, when the law violated makes use of the nomenclature of the penalties of the Revised Penal Code; or

(b) the penalty of life imprisonment, when the law violated does not make use of the nomenclature of the penalties of the Revised Penal Code.

The aforequoted provision of R.A. No. 9346 is applicable in this case pursuant to the principle in criminal law, favorabilia sunt amplianda adiosa restrigenda. Penal laws which are favorable to accused are given retroactive effect. This principle is embodied under Article 22 of the Revised Penal Code, which provides as follows: Retroactive effect of penal laws. — Penal laws shall have a retroactive effect insofar as they favor the persons guilty of a felony, who is not a habitual criminal, as this term is defined in Rule 5 of Article 62 of this Code, although at the time of the publication of such laws, a final sentence has been pronounced and the convict is serving the same.

However, appellant is not eligible for parole because Section 3 of R.A. No. 9346 provides that "persons convicted of offenses punished with reclusion perpetua, or whose sentences will be reduced to reclusion perpetua by reason of the law, shall not be eligible for parole."

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