Naga judge grants GCTA to student convicted of rape by sexual assault

Lian Buan
Naga judge grants GCTA to student convicted of rape by sexual assault
(UPDATED) Naga City Regional Trial Court Branch 61 Judge Soliman Santos, who had approved a plea bargain agreement between the convict and the victim, rules that rape by sexual assault is not a heinous crime

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – A lower court in Naga has granted good conduct time allowance (GCTA) to a student convicted of rape by sexual assault. 

Ina decision issued on March 11, Naga City Regional Trial Court Branch 61 Judge Soliman Santos rule that rape by sexual assault is not a heinous crime.

“The new and lesser offense of rape by sexual assault under Article 266-a(2), convict is entitled to GCTA,” the judge said.

The convict pleaded guilty to rape by sexual assault and was sentenced to 6 months to 3 years on August 27, 2019.

The case falls under Republic Act No. 8353 or the Anti-Rape Law of 1997, which defined rape by sexual assault under paragraph 2 of Article 266-A as “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.”

The convict, a student, had been detained at the Naga City Jail since April 6, 2018.

By July 30, 2019, the convict had already served 9 months and 7 days, computing his credit of preventive imprisonment (CPI). By the same date, the convict had earned GCTA of up to 9 months and 7 days.

As of March 11, 2020, the convict had served a total sentence of 1 year and 11 months. Plus his GCTA, he can be freed in around 3 months, but this still was dependent on the Department of Justice’s GCTA review prompted last year by the foiled early release of murderer and rapist Antonio Sanchez. (READ: TIMELINE: The GCTA law and the controversy it has stirred)

Rape as a henious crime

Sanchez’s case led to a Senate hearing into Republic No. Act 10592 or the GCTA Law that exposed bribery in the Bureau of Corrections, the revision of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of the law, and the rearrest of freed prisoners even if they qualified under the law.

In DOJ’s revised IRR, heinous crimes are the same heinous crimes under Republic Act 7659 or the now-repealed death penalty law. It is DOJ’s view that RA 7659 was repealed only insofar as imposing the death penalty, but not the definition of heinous crimes.

Under RA 7659, certain cases of rape were punished with death, such as if the victim is below 18 years old and the offender is related to the victim, when the victim is under custody of state agents, when the rape was done by state agents, and when the victim suffered permanent physical mutilation.

Judge Santos said in his decision, “His case is understandably cause for some caution because of the charge of rape.”

He added: “Rape by sexual assault is of a much lesser nature, including penalty wise, than standard of rape by carnal knowledge. The latter would ordinarily be considered heinous, the former should not, under certain rules of statutory construction, especially long established strict construction of criminal statutes against the State and liberal construction in favor of the accused.”

The decision noted that the convict “is not yet being released due to a higher office suspension of implementation and grant of GCTA since late August 2019.”

“He would then be ordinarily released from his imprisonment already served, in time for his re-enrollment in school this coming school year which is seen as a rehabilitation and being given as second chance in life for his future as a young man,” the judge said. 

The case

The case involves a young man and a woman who had a drinking spree with their friends. 

The victim admitted she was very drunk during the incident. She said she “felt very weak, thereby unable to resist,” according to court records. 

The convict claimed that the victim “was not really drunk or not so drunk, having drunk only a little or small amount of liquor.”

In March 2019, Judge Santos denied the convict’s bail plea, finding the victim’s version to be “more credible or believable than the testimony and evidence” of the convict. 

In July 2019, the victim and the convict struck a plea bargain agreement where the convict would plead guilty rape by sexual assault, and pay the victim P200,000 by installment. 

In August 2019, Santos approved the plea bargain agreement, saying that it would “serve the ends of speedier justice and healing to the herein young woman victim” and “serve the ends of speedier justice to, and reform of, the herein young man.” Rappler.com

Add a comment

Sort by

There are no comments yet. Add your comment to start the conversation.

Lian Buan

Lian Buan covers justice and corruption for Rappler. She is interested in decisions, pleadings, audits, contracts, and other documents that establish a trail. If you have leads, email lian.buan@rappler.com or tweet @lianbuan.