Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Sanchez v. Demetriou [GR Nos. 111771-77 November 9, 1993]

Facts: Information was filed against several people including the petitioner in relation with the rape-slay of Mary Eileen Sarmenta and the killing of Allan Gomez. Sanchez has brought the petition to challenge the order of the respondent judge denying his motion to quash the information for rape with homicide filed against him and six other persons on the ground he is being charged with seven homicides arising from the death of only two persons. The petitioner submits that the seven informations charging seven separate homicides are absurd because the two victims in these cases could not have died seven times. 

Issue: Whether or not the court acted properly on denying the petition of Sanchez to quash on the grounds that he is being charged with seven homicides arising from the death of only two persons. 

Held: The court ruled that where there are two or more offenders who commit rape, the homicide committed on the occasion or by reason of each rape, must be deemed as a constituent of the special complex crime of rape with homicide. Therefore, there will be as many crimes of rape with homicide as there are rapes committed. In effect, the presence of homicide qualifies the crime of rape, thereby raising its penalty to the highest degree. Thus, homicide committed on the occasion or by reason of rape, loses its character as an independent offense, but assumes a new character, and functions like a qualifying circumstance. However,by fiction of law, it merged with rape to constitute an constituent element of a special complex crime of rape with homicide with a specific penalty which is in the highest degree. The petitioner and his six co-accused are not charged with only one rape committed by him in conspiracy with the other six. Each one of the seven accused is charged with having himself raped Sarmenta instead of simply helping Sanchez in committing only one rape. In other words, the allegation of the prosecution is that the girl was raped seven times, with each of the seven accused taking turns in abusing her with the assistance of the other six. Afterwards, their lust satisfied, all seven of them decided to kill and thus silence Sarmenta. Every one of the seven accused is being charged separately for actually raping Sarmenta and later killing her instead of merely assisting the petitioner in raping and then slaying her. The separate informations filed against each of them allege that each of the seven successive rapes is complexed by the subsequent slaying of Sarmenta and aggravated by the killing of Allan Gomez by her seven attackers. The separate rapes were committed in succession by the seven accused, culminating in the slaying of Sarmenta. 

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