G.R. Nos. 148939-40: February 13 2004
Offense Involved: Qualified Rape (Article 266-B, RPC)
FACTS: On September 12, 1996, around 3:00 o’clock in the morning, fifteen-year old Remilyn Orilla was sound asleep inside one of the rooms of their house located at Masidem, Bani, Pangasinan when she was suddenly awakened by a heavy weight pressing on her body and found appellant Joseph Orilla on top of her. Appellant continuously pinned down Remilyn Orilla’s body with his own. She struggled to free herself from appellant but her efforts proved futile. Appellant held both hands of Remilyn Orilla with one hand holding a knife with his other hand. He then forced Remilyn Orilla’s legs apart and inserted his penis into her vagina. With a knife pointed at her, Remilyn Orilla was powerless. Appellant warned her not to make a noise. Frightened, Remilyn Orilla just kept silent. Around 9:00 o’clock in the morning of that same day, Remilyn Orilla reported to her sister, Evelyn Catabay, what appellant did to her. Immediately, they went to report it to the authorities. For his defense, Joseph Orilla posited his alibi that he was in Sitio Olo, Barangay Masidem, Bani, Pangasinan when the incident took place. After trial, the Regional Trial Court of Alaminos City found appellant guilty of qualified rape. Aggrived, the appelant filed this case.
- Whether or not the trial court erred in holding appellant guilty of qualified rape despite the prosecution’s failure to include the age of the accused in the Amended Information?
- Yes. The trial court erred in holding appellant guilty of qualified rape despite the prosecution’s failure to include the age of the accused. The prosecution went through the trouble of amending the Information to allege that Remilyn is the “younger sister” of appellant to emphasize the qualified nature of the rape. However, the Amended Information did not allege Remilyn’s minor age. The prosecution’s failure to allege specifically Remilyn’s minor age prevents the transformation of the crime to its qualified form. Since the Amended Information failed to inform appellant that the prosecution was accusing him of qualified rape, the court can convict appellant only for simple rape and the proper penalty is reclusion perpetua and not death.