A 34-year-old pedicab driver was sentenced yesterday to 80 years imprisonment for two counts of statutory rape committed against his 7-year-old niece in Don Salvador Benedicto town, Negros Occidental.
Judge Raymond Joseph Javier of the Regional Trial Court Branch 52 sentenced the driver, whose name is being withheld by the DAILY STAR to protect the identity of the victim, to two counts of reclusion perpetua with all the accessory penalties.
The rapist was also ordered to pay his victim P75,000 as civil indemnity, P75,000 as moral damages and P30,000 as exemplary damages for each count of rape.
The victim, who is now 18 years old, told the court her uncle, who is the younger brother of her father, raped her when she was 7 years old at her house on February 8 and 9, 2001 while the rest of her family were asleep.
The victim told the court her house, made of bamboo floor and walls, and cogon roof, consisted of only one room.
She said her uncle warned her not to tell her parents what happened, or he would kill her.
However, the victim told the court, her mother discovered that there were bloodstains on her shorts, asked her what happened, and she told her that she had been raped by her uncle.
The accused vehemently denied the allegations, saying he was not at the house of the victim when the incidents happened and only learned that his niece had been raped when he was incarcerated in 2002.
The judge, however, said the candid and straightforward testimony of the victim relating her ordeal deserves full faith and credit.
The testimony of the victim was corroborated on its material points by medical evidence and the defense of alibi by the accused must fail in the light of the victim’s positive identification, he added.
After the promulgation yesterday, the convicted man continued to maintain that he is innocent of the crime.*CPG