Republic Act 7610. Anti-Child Abuse Law

R.A. 7610 – An Act providing for stronger deterrence and special protection against child abuse, exploitation and discrimination, providing penalties for its violation and for other purposes.

Pp vs. Dahilig (GR: 187083)

The question now is what crime has been committed? Is it Rape (Violation of Article 266-A par. 1 in relation to Article 266-B, 1st par. of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by R.A. No. 8353), or is it Child Abuse, defined and penalized by Sec. 5, (b), R.A. No. 7610?

As elucidated by the RTC and the CA in their respective decisions, all the elements of both crimes are present in this case. The case of People v. Abay, however, is enlightening and instructional on this issue. It was stated in that case that if the victim is 12 years or older, the offender should be charged with either sexual abuse under Section 5(b) of R.A. No. 7610 or rape under Article 266-A (except paragraph 1[d]) of the Revised Penal Code. However, the offender cannot be accused of both crimes for the same act because his right against double jeopardy will be prejudiced. A person cannot be subjected twice to criminal liability for a single criminal act.

Garingarao vs. PP (GR: 192760)

Garingarao alleges that the Court of Appeals erred in affirming the trial courts decision finding him guilty of acts of lasciviousness in relation to RA 7610. Garingarao insists that it was physically impossible for him to commit the acts charged against him because there were many patients and hospital employees around. He alleges that AAAs room was well lighted and that he had an assistant when the incident allegedly occurred. Garingarao further alleges that, assuming the charges were correct, there was only one incident when he allegedly touched AAA and as such, he should have been convicted only of acts of lasciviousness and not of violation of RA 7610.

We do not agree.

In this case, the prosecution established that Garingarao touched AAAs breasts and inserted his finger into her private part for his sexual gratification. Garingarao used his influence as a nurse by pretending that his actions were part of the physical examination he was doing. Garingarao persisted on what he was doing despite AAAs objections. AAA twice asked Garingarao what he was doing and he answered that he was just examining her.

XXX

The elements of sexual abuse under Section 5, Article III of RA 7610 are the following:

  1. The accused commits the act of sexual intercourse or lascivious conduct;
  2. The said act is performed with a child exploited in prostitution or subjected to other sexual abuse; and
  3. The child, whether male or female, is below 18 years of age.

Under Section 32, Article XIII of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of RA 7610, lascivious conduct is defined as follows:

[T]he intentional touching, either directly or through clothing, of the genitalia, anus, groin, breast, inner thigh, or buttocks, or the introduction of any object into the genitalia, anus or mouth, of any person, whether of the same or opposite sex, with the intent to abuse, humiliate, harass, degrade, or arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person, bestiality, masturbation, lascivious exhibition of the genitals or pubic area of a person.

xxx

The Court has already ruled that it is inconsequential that sexual abuse under RA 7610 occurred only once. Section 3(b) of RA 7610 provides that the abuse may be habitual or not. Hence, the fact that the offense occurred only once is enough to hold Garingarao liable for acts of lasciviousness under RA 7610.

Sanchez Vs. PP, CA (GR: 179090)

Resolution: J. Nachura

Before this Court is a Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Civil Procedure seeking the reversal of the Court of Appeals (CA) Decision dated February 20, 2007 which affirmed the Decision dated July 30, 2003 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Tagbilaran City, Bohol, convicting appellant Leonilo Sanchez alias Nilo (appellant) of the crime of Other Acts of Child Abuse punishable under Republic Act (R.A.) No. 7610 in relation to Presidential Decree (P.D.) No. 603, with a modification of the penalty imposed.

XXX

The instant Petition is bereft of merit.

Under Subsection (b), Section 3 of R.A. No. 7610, child abuse refers to the maltreatment of a child, whether habitual or not, which includes any of the following:

(1) Psychological and physical abuse, neglect, cruelty, sexual abuse and emotional maltreatment;

(2) Any act by deeds or words which debases, degrades or demeans the intrinsic worth and dignity of a child as a human being;

(3) Unreasonable deprivation of his basic needs for survival, such as food and shelter; or

(4) Failure to immediately give medical treatment to an injured child resulting in serious impairment of his growth and development or in his permanent incapacity or death.

XXX

Appellant contends that, after proof, the act should not be considered as child abuse but merely as slight physical injuries defined and punishable under Article 266 of the Revised Penal Code. Appellant conveniently forgets that when the incident happened, VVV was a child entitled to the protection extended by R.A. No. 7610, as mandated by the Constitution.  As defined in the law, child abuse includes physical abuse of the child, whether the same is habitual or not. The act of appellant falls squarely within this definition. We, therefore, cannot accept appellant’s contention.

De Ocampo vs. Hon. Sec. of Justice (GR:147932)

Petitioners single act of allegedly banging the heads of her students had two distinct victims, namely Ronald and Lorendo. Therefore, petitioner has to face prosecution for cruelty to each victim. For Ronalds death, petitioner is being charged with homicide under Article 249 of the Revised Penal Code in relation to Section 10(a), Article VI of RA 7610 punishable by reclusion perpetua. However, this does not mean that petitioner is being charged with the distinct offenses of homicide and child abuse for Ronalds death. On the other hand, for her cruelty to Lorendo, petitioner is being charged with violation of Section 10(a), Article VI of RA 7610 punishable by prision mayor in its minimum period.

Contrary to petitioners contention, Section 10(a), Article VI of RA 7610 is clear. This provision reads:

(a) Any person who shall commit any other acts of child abuse, cruelty or exploitation or be responsible for other conditions prejudicial to the childs development including those covered by Article 59 of Presidential Decree No. 603, as amended, but not covered by the Revised Penal Code, as amended, shall suffer the penalty of prision mayor in its minimum period.

Ambiguity is a condition of admitting two or more meanings, of being understood in more than one way, or of referring to two or more things at the same time. A statute is ambiguous if it is susceptible to more than one interpretation. In the present case, petitioner fails to show convincingly the ambiguity in Section 10(a), Article VI of RA 7610.

Section 3(b), Article VI of RA 7610 defines child abuse as the maltreatment, whether habitual or not, of the child which includes physical abuse and cruelty. Petitioners alleged banging of the heads of Ronald and Lorendo is clearly an act of cruelty.

PP vs. CA, Olayon (GR 171863)

The record shows that the Pasig City Prosecutors Office found that the acts of respondent did not amount to rape as they were done with the consent of the 14-year old AAA. Nevertheless, it found the acts constitutive of violations of [Republic] Act No. 7610, hence, its filing of the above-quoted Informations for violation of Section 10(a).

The Informations alleged that respondent, with lewd designs did willfully, unlawfully, and feloniously have sexual intercourse with and commit lewd and lascivious acts upon the person of [AAA], a minor, fourteen (14) years of age.

XXX

Held:

For consensual sexual intercourse or lascivious conduct with a minor, who is not exploited in prostitution, to thus fall within the purview of Section 5(b) of R.A. No. 7610, persuasion, inducement, enticement or coercion of the child must be present.

In the case at bar, even if respondent were charged under Section 5(b), instead of Section 10(a), respondent would just the same have been acquitted as there was no allegation that an element of the offense coercion or influence or intimidation attended its commission.

 

 

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