Monday, March 05, 2012

People vs. Balatazo [G.R. No. 118027, 29 January 2004]

Facts: On 16 February 1991, at Sitio Mainit na TUbig, Barangay Mainit Norte, Municipality of Perez, Province of Quezon, Philippines, Ricardo Balatazo is said to have had carnal knowledge with his first cousin, Marina Cano Dapo, a 24-year old who had the mentality of a child. 

After the prosecution rested its case, the appellant filed a Demurrer to Evidence, claiming that Marina failed to prove in her testimony that he threatened, forced, or intimidated her into having sexual intercourse with him, hence, he could not be convicted. The public prosecutor contended that there was no need for her to prove that, as she was a mental retardate. Sexual intercourse with a woman who is a mental retardate is classified as rape under Art. 335, par. 2 of the RPC. 

On 02 July 1994, the trial court rendered judgment convicting the appellant of rape. It declared that since Marina is mentally ill, she is incapable of consenting to sexual intercourse. Accordingly, the absence of this fact in the criminal complaint was merely a procedural defect. 

The appellant appealed this decision to the Supreme Court, which is the subject of this case. He contests that he was charged of rape under par. 1 of Art. 335, but he was convicted under par. 2 of the same article. 

Issue: Whether or not the trial court erred in convicting the accused for a crime to which he was not charged for a crime not included and different from the crime he was charged. 

Held: The Office of the Solicitor-General: Even if the prosecution failed to prove the rape under par. 1, the appellant may still be convicted of the said crime under par. 2. As held by the trial court, the failure to allege the victim as a mental retardate is merely a procedural defect, which the appellant waived when he failed to object to the evidence of the prosecution proving this 

People v. Dalandas: The observation of the trial court, its impression of the demeanor and deportment of the victim and its conclusions anchored thereon are accorded high respect, if not conclusive effect, on the appellate court 

Supreme Court: Force or intimidation may be actual or constructive. The appellant took advantage of the victim’s mental condition and succeeded in having sexual intercourse with her. If a woman is insane or too weak of mind to give a rational consent, then it follows that she has been forcibly ravished. The woman has a lack of capacity to consent. 

The Court is also not convinced with the appellant’s contention that Marina’s mother, Adelaida, only coached her daughter, as the victim was able to clearly narrate how she was raped. There is no evidence of the alleged coaching. In People v. Rosare, the SC ruled that a mother would draw her daughter, a mental retardate at that, into a rape scam with the scandals attendant to it

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