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Consent out of fear.

Aside from alibi or denial, another common defense in rape cases is the sweetheart theory. Here the accused does not deny having sexual intercourse with the victim but he claims that it is done with the victim's consent and without force or intimidation on his part.

And like the defense of alibi, this defense is difficult to prove and hard to believe as shown by our case today. The case involves Abi who is only 18 years old at the time the incident happened.

She is a third year consistent honor student taking up nursing in a reputable university down south. Even only 18 years old she is already engaged to be married to Hans her sweetheart of two years living in a nearby province.

They plan to tie the knot, as soon as she finishes her course. Abi also helps her mother Lupe in managing a pub house where she and Lupe sometimes sleep.

While supervising the pub house, she met Mark, a high school student in another school in a far away village. He works there as a singer and guitarist during nighttime.

Eventually Abi and Mark sang together in the pub house until Mark became enamored to her. A month later, Mark already got the chance to satisfy his lust for Abi when Lupe asked Abi to sleep in the pub house while she slept in the nearby turo-turo restaurant which they likewise own and operate.

As Abi entered the room she saw Mark drinking with Dodoy, Boy and Aries. The following morning at about 4 a.

m., Abi went out of her room to urinate.

Then Mark suddenly appeared and covered her mouth with his left hand while his right hand was holding a bladed weapon pointed at her neck threatening to kill her and her family if she attempted to shout. Scared, she remained silent while Mark dragged her to the main door then pushed her and succeeded in placing his body on top of Abi threatening Abi with the bladed weapon as he removed her panty.

Despite Abi's initial resistance Mark succeeded in ravishing her because of his threats to kill her with the bladed weapon pointed at her neck. Thereafter Mark went away while Abi went straight to her room crying.

The following day Abi told Hans that Mark raped her. Thus the two decided to file a complaint against Mark after reporting to Abi's mother what happened to her.

So four days later, Mark was charged with the crime of rape and was arrested. Aside from Abi, her mother Lupe and sweetheart Hans as well as the policeman who investigated the case testified to prove and corroborate Abi's narration of the events leading to her rape.

For his defense, Mark admitted that he had sexual intercourse with Abi. However, he claimed that it was mutual and with the consent of Abi.

In fact he said that they already had sexual intercourse one month earlier. Furthermore he claimed that he also courted Abi when he first met her and they became sweethearts.

He thus claimed that the recent sexual intercourse with Abi that gave rise to the filing of the charge of rape and his arrest was mutually and voluntarily agreed upon by them since they were already sweethearts and that no force was used to intimidate her. His claim was supported by his drinking buddies and by his mother.

After an exhaustive study of the evidence presented the trial court rendered a decision finding Mark guilty beyond the shadow of reasonable doubt of the crime of rape with imprisonment of 30 years or reclusion perpetua plus moral damages of P20,000 and subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency. This decision was affirmed by the Supreme Court with the modification that the portion about the subsidiary imprisonment is deleted.

The SC said that undoubtedly, Abi was an unwilling victim. She was intimidated by fear to submit to the lustful desires of Mark with the sharp weapon pointed at her neck.

Mark knew beforehand that Abi would be sleeping inside the pub house. He was aware of her habits in the morning and he saw the chance he was waiting for.

He purposely gave drinks to the other male employees to make sure that they were all sound asleep and too dead drunk at the early morning even to notice what was happening. He waited for Abi that fateful morning to ravish her as an effective way to inflict humiliation and degradation on her person because of the shabby treatment he received from her because she did not like him and she was already engaged to be married to someone else.

Furthermore, the SC said that Abi was only 18 years old and a third year nursing student, engaged to be married to Hans. There is no evidence to show that she is a woman of ill-repute or of a flirtatious and wanton nature as to invite or provoke Mark, a mere employee in her mother's pub house, to have an intercourse with her.

Young, innocent and decent as she is, she is cowed by fear and shock because of the outrageous act of Mark on her person and honor. Consent, obtained by fear of personal violence, is no consent at all.

Even if a man puts no hand on a woman, yet if, by the use of mental and moral coercion, he overpowers her mind out of fear that as a result she dare not resist the dastardly act inflicted on her person. Mark was also confident that Abi would not denounce him without risk of being humiliated publicly, being a woman of good reputation.

So Mark is guilty of the crime imputed on him (Pp. vs Pena, Jr.

, GR 72354, June 30, 1987) Email:
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Publication:Philippines Star (Manila, Philippines)
Date:Apr 9, 2019
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