Thursday 13 December, 2018
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SC veers away from Maria Clara Doctrine in rape cases

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The Supreme Court on Tuesday effectively veered away from the decades-old “Maria Clara Doctrine” in resolving rape cases.

This as the SC acquitted Juvy Amarela and Junard Racho of the crime of rape that transpired in 2009.

During trial on the merits of the case, the Davao regional trial court convicted and sentenced them to reclusion perpetua or up to 40 years imprisonment.

This was upheld by the Court of Appeals.

But the SC reversed the lower court and CA rulings, and acquitted in the process Amarela and Racho, saying the public “should stay away” from the ‘Maria Clara’ stereotype or the demure and reserved type of Filipina.

“Today, we simply cannot be stuck to the Maria Clara stereotype of a demure and reserves Filipino woman. We, should stay away from such mindset and accept the realities of a woman’s dynamic role in society today; shw who has over the years transformed into a strong and confidently intelligent and beautiful person, willing to fight for her rights,” the decision penned by Associate Justice Samuel Martires, read.

Records showed the victim was watching a beauty pageant when she went to the restroom to relieve herself. However, Amarela dragged her under a makeshift stage where she was raped.

The victim managed to escape and hid in another house where she was raped by Racho.

In acquitting the two, the SC however noted the discrepancies in the testimony of the victim in court and in her affidavit, like how she was raped by Amarela when she admitted that the place was dark and surrounded by trees.

“We have hinged on the impression that no young Filipina of decent repute would publicly admit that she has been sexually abused, unless that is the truth, for it is her natural instinct to protect her honor (Woman’s Honor Doctrine),” the high court said.

“But in this day and age, such misconception would not only put the accused at an unfair disadvantage, but creates a travesty of justice.”

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