Prologue:

Fast talk. Lights on or lights off?  For those who answered “lights off”, you better think it over again.

Beach.

Beer.

Bed.

Sex with her boyfriend in the wee hours.

It was dark.

The girl enjoyed it.

Right after the bombardment of the drawbridge, the invader whispered:”Zareen, it’s not Ricky (your boyfriend); it’s Jun. I love you.”. A rape case was born.

The victim
Zareen, British, 30, single, a television and stage actress.

Sometime in 1994 she came to the Philippines and chose Boracay in Aklan and Port Barton in Palawan for her vacation retreats. In Port Barton she met Enrico, Filipino, 26, caretaker of Elsa’s Place, a resort owned by his parents. Soon enough a mutual attraction developed between them which ripened into an intense love affair that they would have sex almost every night.

Zareen’s version:
On 30 April 1994 Enrico brought Zareen to Mary’s Cottage in Sitio Sabang, Bgy. Cabayugan, and introduced her to his granduncle Rogelio and grandaunts Nenita and Maria who collectively owned and managed the resort. Enrico and Zareen occupied Cottage No. 1. They spent the day at the beach where they drank and swam. They were later joined in by Enrico’s friend Silvino, a tourist guide, a press relations officer and a fisherman.

In the evening, Enrico and Zareen went to Sabang Centro together with Silvino, and two others to attend a dance. The dance however was canceled so they proceeded to Coco Grove Restaurant and drank a bottle of rhum.

Zareen did not drink as she preferred red wine which was not available. At eleven o’clock, the group returned to Mary’s Cottage where Enrico awakened his grandaunt Nenita and asked her for two (2) more bottles of rhum, after which, they went back to the beach and continued drinking. This time Zareen opted for a bottle of beer. After a while Zareen said she felt tired and sleepy so she excused herself and retired to the cottage. She was accompanied by Enrico who left her there to sleep. Back at the beach Enrico asked his friends to go spearfishing. Although Silvino went with them he later returned to the beach because he could not stand the cold and was feeling dizzy.

“Zareen, it’s not Ricky; it’s Jun. I love you.”
At two o’clock in the morning of 1 May 1994 Zareen woke up when she felt somebody take off her underwear. The room was dark as the resort management switched off the lights at ten o’clock. Zareen did not stop the man from removing her panties as she thought it was Enrico, her boyfriend, and she was half-asleep. The man in turn removed his briefs and placed himself on top of her, spread her legs, penetrated her and executed push-and-pull movements. Later, the man softly whispered:

“Zareen, it’s not Ricky; it’s Jun. I love you.”

Zareen, when she heard those words, she pushed him aside. She cried and became hysterical. She went to the bathroom and washed herself.

“Why? Why did you do that to me? You have ruined everything. You know that Ricky and I are trying to have a baby of our own, what will happen now? I might get impregnated by what you did to me.”, Zareen told Silvino.

 Silvino however assured her that pregnancy was out of the question as he did not ejaculate.

Maria heard Zareen cry so she awakened Nenita. Thinking that Enrico was forcing himself on Zareen, Nenita went near Cottage No. 1 and pleaded, “Rico, please naman, kung ayaw huwag mong pilitin.” But she did not enter the cottage.

Maria later on noticed a lighted petromax approaching. It was Enrico coming from the beach.

Enrico hurriedly walked to the cottage. He saw Silvino coming out. At once he assumed that Silvino must have molested Zareen. Upon nearing Silvino, Enrico punched him even before Zareen could narrate what happened to her.

SILVINO’S VERSION:

Zareen is a flirt
On the other hand, Silvino claims that it was Zareen who was flirting with him.

While at Coco Grove Restaurant, whenever Enrico was not looking, Zareen would whisper to him and place her arm on his shoulder. She would talk to him about her stay in Boracay with her sister Lucila and the men she met there. In turn, he spoke to her about his former girlfriends.

When Enrico invited him to go spearfishing he went with the group but after a while he returned to the beach saying he was feeling cold and dizzy having imbibed one too many. He even stumbled and fell on the sand. As a result, he got sand all over his body so he proceeded to the public restroom for a shower.

On the way to get his t-shirt, he saw Zareen lying on the hammock. She asked him for a cigarette and insisted that he take his shower inside her cottage instead of the public restroom which was about hundred meters away. He hesitated for a while but finally acceded.

After emerging from his shower he was surprised to see Zareen on the bed. She pulled him towards her and asked him to make love to her. She embraced him tightly and kissed him lustfully. He was surprised with the turn of events and felt uncomfortable because of Enrico whom he did not wish to offend, much less betray, so he pushed her away. In her exasperation she shouted, “Sh—t you, you are stupid!” Then she rushed to the bathroom and washed herself.

He heard the voice of Nenita coming from outside Cottage No. 1 calling for Enrico and inquiring what was happening, thinking it was her grandnephew with Zareen having a lover’s quarrel. So Silvino answered, “This is not Ricky, Tiyay, this is me, Jun.” He informed her that he had just taken his shower inside. While Silvino and Nenita were talking, Zareen was simply keeping quiet. As he went out of the cottage he met Enrico, and two others, on the way. Nenita shouted, “Jun, Ricky is coming; you’re dead!”

True enough Enrico boxed Silvino. They ganged up on him, beat him, poured pepper on his body and pulled him towards the river. Fearful that they would eventually kill him, Silvino crawled towards the coconut grove and upon reaching the road leading to Sabang Centro he walked to the police station to lodge his complaint.

The Trial
The trial court did not believe Silvino. It pronounced him guilty of rape.

The trial court threw out Silvino’s declaration that Zareen had been flirting with him earlier and was the one who even proposed that they engage in sex that night.

Why it said so?

Because it found incredible that Zareen would fall for Silvino and substitute him for Enrico, rationalizing that Zareen was 30 years old, Enrico 26, and Silvino already 35, and that Enrico was 5’8″ tall, handsome, with a well-shaped face and nose, while Silvino was not generously endowed and standing only at 5’2.” (This is not always the case. Most brit would prefer size and performance over looks.)

THE SUPREME COURT

The Supreme Court acquitted Silvino. (At the end, Silvino, arguably, is the luckiest defiler in the history of Philippine jurisprudence)   

The Court noted that the Information alleges that Silvino had carnal communication with Zareen while she was asleep, with the use of force, against her will and without her consent.


“We do not find the facts substantiating the Information. We must acquit.”

The Information avers use of force, however, the Court finds no evidence of any use of force in the commission of the offense charged. In fact, the Court said that it was a CONSENTED sexual advances.

What? But the “consent” to the sexual act was given by Zareen only because of the belief that the man on top of her was Enrico. Had she known it was someone else she would have resisted.

“The explanation is not persuasive. The evidence shows that this mistake was purely a subjective configuration of Zareen’s mind — an assumption entirely contrived by her. Our impression is that Silvino had nothing to do with the formulation of this belief; he did nothing to mislead or deceive Zareen into thinking that he was Enrico.”

Still, the Court said it was Zareen’s fault, NOT SALVINO’s.

The Court said:


“In fact, Silvino precisely, and confidently, told her, “Zareen, it’s not Ricky, it’s Jun. I love you.” It is thus obvious that whatever mistake there was could only be attributable to Zareen — and her inexcusable imprudence — and to nobody else. Clearly, the fault was hers. She had the opportunity to ascertain the identity of the man but she preferred to remain passive and allow things to happen as they did. Silvino never used force on her and was even most possibly encouraged by the fact that when he pulled down her panties she never objected; when her legs were being parted she never objected; and, when he finally mounted her she never objected. Where then was force?”


Her urge could not wait for the more appropriate time.
Isn’t that Zareen was half-sleep? She was tired? Having consumed rhum and a bottle of beer?

The Court explained:

“Her lame excuse was that she was half-asleep. However she admitted that in the early morning of 1 May 1994 she woke up to find someone removing her underwear. Thuswise it cannot be said that she was deprived of reason or unconscious. She knew, hence was conscious, when her panties were being pulled down; she knew, hence was conscious, when her legs were being parted to prepare for the sexual act; she knew, hence was conscious, when the man was pulling down his briefs to prepare himself likewise for the copulation; she knew, hence was conscious, when the man mounted her and lusted after her virtue. Her justification was that she never objected to the sexual act from the start because she thought that the man was her boyfriend with whom she was having sex almost every night for the past three (3) weeks as they were getting married and wanted already to have a baby. In other words, her urge could not wait for the more appropriate time.

Having consumed a little amount of rhum and a bottle of beer in the evening on a normal pace, Zareen could not have been so drunk as to be deprived of reason or otherwise rendered unconscious. When she returned to her cottage she immediately fell asleep as she was tired and remained so for some time. When she was supposedly molested at around two-thirty the following morning she must have already been, as we believe she was, in full possession of her mental and physical faculties. Whatever intoxicating effect the rhum and beer might have had on her would have already worn off.
Zareen herself claimed that she woke up when she felt someone removing her panties. This means she was fully conscious when somebody approached her bed, removed her panties, spread her legs “although not far apart but just enough to get her underwear off,” and then proceeded to perform coital movements with her. Her testimony that she knew that the “intruder” removed his own briefs; that his penis was already erect; that no effort at foreplay was made before penetrating her in his first attempt; that the man did not kiss her nor touch her breasts; that she did not even guide his penis into the trough of her femininity; and, that he “pushed-and-pulled” on top of her for approximately less than a minute, all validate our conviction that she was fully conscious — not asleep nor even half-asleep — of what was being done to her from the beginning. She was also aware that there was no light as the gas lamp inside the cottage was not lighted and the electricity was already shut off.”

Fornicating peculiarities

But it was dark. There was no light, so it was impossible for her to know who was on top of her.


“Zareen had known Enrico for three (3) weeks and since then had been making love with him almost every night. It strains credulity and understanding that she could have mistaken Silvino for Enrico. Their constant lovemaking and togetherness would have already made her familiar with the physical attributes of Enrico and accustomed to his “fornicating peculiarities”. Zareen even asserted that Enrico was not inclined to sexual intercourse when drunk and would usually indulge in foreplay before actual copulation. These oddities are cues which reasonably engender suspicion that the man she was having carnal communication with was not her lover but someone else.”

She had the moral responsibility not only to herself but to society itself to ascertain first the identity of her “ravisher” before yielding completely to him.


“It can hardly be said that she was not imprudent, reckless and irresponsible in giving in to her own sexual impulses. Moreover, being almost a stranger in the place, Zareen should have been leery of her surroundings especially at night. In this regard, she should not have left her cottage door unlocked as much as she did leave pregnable and unshielded the portals of her womanhood.”

Now, answer the question – Lights on or lights off? Either way, do not forget the most important lesson the highest court of the land has thought us – get accustomed to your partner’s “fornicating peculiarities”.

‘Stand by things decided’ ~ Stare Decisis


Read Full Text >> People vs. Silvino Salarza Jr.

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