Tuesday, February 21, 2012

People vs Bayya (GR 127845)

Facts: For automatic review here is a judgment handed down by Branch 16 1 of the Regional Trial Court in Ilagan, Isabela, finding appellant Lodrigo Bayya guilty of incestuous rape and sentencing him to the ultimate penalty of DEATH. 

Filed on October 9, 1995 by Asst. Provincial Prosecutor Pacifico Paas and docketed as Criminal Case No. 2467, the accusatory portion of the Information indicting appellant, alleges: 

That on or about the year 1994 and for sometimes (sic) thereafter in the municipality of Burgos, province of Isabela, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the said accused armed with a knife, did then and there, willfully, unlawfully and feloniously, by means of force, intimidation and with lewd designs, have carnal knowledge with his own daughter ROSIE S. BAYYA for several times against the latters (sic) will and consent. 

CONTRARY TO LAW.  

Issue: Whether or not Lodrigo Bayya should be charged with the crime of Simple Rape or under the RA 7659. 

Held: A careful perusal of the Information indicting appellant reveals a crucial omission in its averments of the minority of the victim, Rosie S. Bayya. It is thus imperative that the Information filed with the trial court be complete — to the end that the accused may suitably prepare his defense. Corollary to this, an indictment must fully state the elements of the specific offense alleged to have been committed as it is the recital of the essentials of a crime which delineates the nature and cause of accusation against the accused. 

The Court held recently that to sustain a conviction under Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code as amended by Republic Act No. 7659, the prosecution must allege and prove the basic elements of: 1) sexual congress; 2) with a woman; 3) by force and without consent, and in order to warrant the imposition of the death penalty, the additional elements that 4) the victim is under 18 years of age at the time of the rape; and 5) the offender is a parent (whether legitimate, illegitimate or adopted) of the victim. 

In the case under scrutiny, the information does not allege the minority of the victim, although the same was proven during the trial as borne by the records. The omission is not merely formal in nature since doctrinally, an accused cannot be held liable for more than what he is indicted for. It matters not how conclusive and convincing the evidence of guilt may be, but an accused cannot be convicted of any offense, not charged in the Complaint or information on which he is tried or therein necessarily included. He has a right to be informed of the nature of the offense with which he is charged before he is put on trial. To convict an accused of an offense higher than that charged in the Complaint or information on which he is tried would constitute unauthorized denial of that right. 

The Information under consideration charges nothing more than simple rape defined and penalized in the first and second paragraphs of Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code, that is — having carnal knowledge of a woman by means of force and intimidation and against her will. The additional allegation that the offender is a parent of the offended party can only be deemed a generic aggravating circumstance.

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