CASE BRIEF 2007-0002

CASE: In the Matter of the Application for the Writ of Habeas Corpus Reclassifying Sentence to R.A. NO. 8353 in Behalf of Rogelio Ormilla  vs. The  Director, Bureau of Corrections, and the People of the Philippines (G.R. No. 170497 January 22, 2007)

PONENTE: Ynares-Santiago, J.:

SUBJECT: Rape; Writ of Habeas Corpus

FACTS:

For having carnal knowledge of a woman through using force, Ormilla, together with Rivera and Navarro, was convicted of two counts of rape under Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code which states:

“Art. 335. When and how rape is committed. – Rape is committed by having carnal knowledge of a woman under any of the following circumstances.

1. By using force or intimidation;

2. When the woman is deprived of reason or otherwise unconscious; and

3. When the woman is under twelve years of age or is demented.

The crime of rape shall be punished by reclusion perpetua.

Whenever the crime of rape is committed with the use of a deadly weapon or by two or more persons, the penalty shall be reclusion perpetua to death.”

During his confinement, Art. 335 of the RPC was amended by R.A. No. 8353, otherwise known as “The Anti-Rape Law of 1997. The provision now reads as follows:

“Article 266-A. Rape: When And How Committed. – Rape is committed:

1) By a man who shall have carnal knowledge of a woman xxx

2) By any person who, under any of the circumstances mentioned in paragraph 1 hereof, shall commit an act of  sexual assault by inserting his penis into another person’s mouth or anal orifice, or any instrument or object, into the genital or anal orifice of another person.

Article 266-B. Penalty. – Rape under paragraph 1 of the next preceding article shall be punished by reclusion perpetua. xxx

Rape under paragraph 2 of the next preceding article shall be punished by prision mayor.

Whenever the rape is committed with the use of a deadly weapon or by two or more persons, the penalty shall be prision mayor to reclusion temporal. Xxx”

An application for the writ of habeas corpus was filed in behalf of Ormilla alleging that he should be released from confinement by virtue of R.A. No. 8353. He claimed that under the new rape law, the penalty for rape committed by two or more persons was downgraded to prision mayor to reclusion temporal. Thus, the penalty of reclusion perpetua imposed on him is excessive and should be modified in accordance with R.A. No. 8353. He prayed that he be released so he could apply for pardon or parole.

ISSUE:

Whether the writ may be granted in favor of Ormilla.

RULING:

The application for the writ should be denied.

Ormilla’s reliance of Article 266-B is misplaced. Note that the penalty of prision mayor is imposed for rape committed under paragraph 2 of Article 266-A which is committed by any person who inserts his penis into another person’s mouth or anal orifice; or any instrument or object, into the genital or anal orifice of another person.

It bears stressing that Ormilla, together with two others, was charged with and convicted of rape by having carnal knowledge of a woman by using force and intimidation under Article 335, which is now embodied in paragraph 1 of Article 266-A. Under the new law, rape by having carnal knowledge of a woman using force and intimidation is still penalized by reclusion perpetua.

It is clear therefore that R.A. No. 8353 did not downgrade the applicable penalties to Ormilla’s case.

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THINGS DECIDED:

A)       The penalty of prision mayor is imposed for rape committed under paragraph 2 of Article 266-A which is committed by any person who inserts his penis into another person’s mouth or anal orifice; or any instrument or object, into the genital or anal orifice of another person.

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