Salient Points of the Anti-Rape Law of 1997

The Subic Rape Case again puts the spotlight on the crime of rape. As comments on the merits of the case are not allowed, let us discuss the crime of rape. The salient points of the Anti-Rape Law of 1997 (Republic Act No. 8353) are discussed below.

Primer on the Anti-Rape Law in the Philippines

Rape is governed by Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC), which was amended on 22 October 1997 by Republic Act No. 8353, also known as the “Anti-Rape Law of 1997“. Among the innovations under R.A. 8353 are the following:

1. Marital rape is impliedly recognized. Rape committed against the wife, also known as “marital rape”, is impliedly acknowledged under the new law, which provides that the subsequent forgiveness by the wife as the offended party, in case it’s the husband who is the offender, shall extinguish the criminal action or the penalty. (Article 266-C) [See also: Marital Rape in the Philippines]

2. Reclassification of rape as a crime against persons. – The new law reclassified rape from crime against chastity to a crime against persons, which means that prosecution is commenced in court by the filing of an information by the public prosecutor, and no longer by a mere complaint filed by the offended party, parents, godparents or guardian.

3. Fourth mode of committing rape. – Prior to 1997, rape is considered committed by having carnal knowledge of a woman: (1) by using force or intimidation; (2) when the woman is deprived of reason or otherwise unconscious; or (3) when the woman is under twelve years of age or is demented. The new law added a fourth mode of committing rape on a woman by fraudulent machination or grave abuse of authority.

4. Rape may now be committed against men, not only against women. Rape is committed by “any person who xxx 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.”

5. Rape now includes acts other than penile penetration of the vaginal orifice. The provision quoted above means that, among other things, a woman may now be charged of raping another woman.

6. On statutory rape. – The new law provides that statutory rape may be committed even though none of the three other modes are present. RA 8353 provides that rape is committed by “a man who shall have carnal knowledge of a woman under any of the following circumstances:

  • a) Through force, threat, or intimidation;
  • b) When the offended party is deprived of reason or otherwise unconscious;
  • c) By means of fraudulent machination or grave abuse of authority; and
  • d) When the offended party is under twelve (12) years of age or is demented, even though none of the circumstances mentioned above be present.

7. Kind of resistance and proof. Any physical overt act manifesting resistance against the rape in any degree from the victim is admissible as evidence of lack of consent. Tenacious resistance, however, is not required. Neither is a determined and persistent physical struggle on the part of the victim necessary. In drafting the new law, the legislators agreed that Article 266-D is intended to “soften the jurisprudence of the 1970” when resistance to rape was required to be tenacious. The lawmakers took note of the fact that rape victims cannot mount a physical struggle in cases where they were gripped by overpowering fear or subjugated by moral authority. Article 266-D tempered the case law requirement of physical struggle by the victim with the victim’s fear of the rapist or incapacity to give valid consent. Thus, the law now provides that resistance may be proved by any physical overt act in any degree from the offended party (People vs. Dulay).

8. Marriage extinguishes criminal liability. The new law also expressly provides (Article 266-C) that the subsequent valid marriage between the offender and the offended party shall extinguish the criminal action or the penalty imposed. However, this does not apply if the marriage is void ab initio or from the beginning.

Incidentally, the Anti-Rape Law of 1997 should be considered with R.A. 8505 (the “Rape Victim Assistance and Protection Act of 1998“), which provides for a rape shield. It simply means that in rape, evidence of complainant’s past sexual conduct, opinion thereof or of his/her reputation shall not be admitted unless, and only to the extent that the court finds, that such evidence is material and relevant to the case. (Sec. 6)


17 thoughts on “Salient Points of the Anti-Rape Law of 1997

  1. AvatarJen

    hi. I just want to ask is how long is the statute limitations for statutory rape?? I was 16 at the time of event (currently 20 now) and unconscious. The guys was 24 years old at that time. I was advised the it was certainly a statutory rape even if I consented or not the event. Could you help me out if I can still file a complaint?

  2. Avatarnregenn

    hi good day,
    I would like to ask an advice regarding the case of my sister,she is 6 years old when she was rape,actually just last year,we, the family filed a case against the suspect.He is now in jail,but the last hearing we attended,really shakes our head, because the public prosecutor told us that the suspect,could earn his freedom back outside the jail because he is a 16 YEARS OLD MINOR! and according to the prosecutor,the custody of the of the suspect will be turn over to the DSWD and definetely to the parents.We really can’t understand why he is gaining his freedom back?The prosecutor told us, that if the suspect reaches 21 that’s the time that he will be going back to my questions are? is this really in the law,that a minor – suspect could have a parent’s custody in this kind of case?Is it possible that the parents of the suspect could file an ORAL DEFORMATION to us if we will not win in this case? what are we going to do now? I really need your help because me personally, I don’t have that wide knowledge to understand all the aspects of legality, so i am hoping your help, we really wanted to fight despite the adversities and trials,we encounter .NOT A POVERTY WILL STOP OUR HUNGER IN AIMING JUSTICE ..

  3. AvatarRoland

    My wife was date raped. She is worried the rapist can take the child from us. I wish to know if he has any claim to my wife’s child. We were legally married then and now. She is worried and I support the child. In all aspects. Medical, dental, financial and private school.

  4. AvatarJun

    Good day,
    I just want to ask regarding the rape long are we alowed to file a rape case/complain? After several years, are we still accuse the person and bring the case to the court?

  5. Avatarshen

    Hi. Ask Ko LNG po panu po kya Kong ungvoffender e na frame-up LNG po? At kung panahon na un e mag girlfriend boyfriend cla.?

  6. Avatarrey

    How long we can fill a case/complaint for rape.
    If the girl was raped when she was 5-7 year old and the rapist is 11-13 year old. Now the girl is 35 year old.

    Thank you for your answer it will be of great help.

  7. AvatarConcerned friend

    Is it considered rape if the guy just go to the bed where a girl is sleeping and he just sex but the girl did not do nothing,they both sex and the next day the girl thinks of filing a rape case….???


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