The elements of the crime of acts lasciviousness are: (1) that the offender commits any act of lasciviousness or lewdness; (2) that it is done: (a) by using force and intimidation or (b) when the offended party is deprived of reason or otherwise unconscious, or (c) when the offended party is under 12 years of age; and (3) that the offended party is another person of either sex.
Section 32, Article XIII, of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of RA 7610 or the Child Abuse Law defines lascivious conduct, as follows:
“[T]he intentional touching, either directly or through clothing, of the genitalia, anus, groin, breast, inner thigh, or buttocks, or the introduction of any object into the genitalia, anus or mouth, of any person, whether of the same or opposite sex, with an intent to abuse, humiliate, harass, degrade, or arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person, bestiality, masturbation, lascivious exhibition of the genitals or pubic area of a person.”
In the case at bar, all the elements of the offense were established, making accused-appellant liable for the crime of acts of lasciviousness, as defined and penalized under Article 366 of the Revised Penal Code in relation to R.A. No. 7610 or the Child Abuse Law. As evidenced by her birth certificate, the victim was 6 years of age at the time of the commission of the offense on August 19, 1997, having been born on November 3, 1991. Accused-appellant’s acts of removing the victim’s underwear, inserting his finger into and licking her vagina, and lying on top of her, constitute lascivious conduct intended to arouse or gratify his sexual desire. Indeed, the victim’s testimony that accused-appellant performed the said lecherous acts should be given full faith and credence. In cases of acts of lasciviousness, the lone testimony of the offended party, if credible, is sufficient to establish the guilt of the accused. Such is the testimony of victims who are young, immature, and have no motive to falsely testify against the accused, as in the instant case.
Article III, Section 5, of Republic Act No. 7610, provides:
Child Prostitution and other Sexual Abuse. – Children, whether male or female, who for money or profit, or any other consideration or due to the coercion or influence of any adult, syndicate or group, indulge in sexual intercourse or lascivious conduct are deemed to be children exploited in prostitution and other sexual abuse.
The penalty of reclusion temporal in its medium period to reclusion perpetua shall be imposed upon the following:
x x x x x x x x x
(b) Those who commit the act of sexual intercourse or lascivious conduct with a child exploited in prostitution or subjected to other sexual abuse; Provided, That when the victim is under twelve (12) years of age, the perpetrators shall be prosecuted under Article 335, paragraphs 3, for rape and Article 336 of Act No. 3815, as amended, the Revised Penal Code, for rape or lascivious conduct, as the case may be: Provided, That the penalty for lascivious conduct when the victim is under twelve (12) years of age shall be reclusion temporal in its medium period; x x x . (Emphasis supplied)
Considering that the victim in the instant case was only 6 years old at the time the crime was committed, accused-appellant should be meted the penalty of reclusion temporal in its medium period. In the absence of any mitigating or aggravating circumstance, the penalty shall be imposed in its medium period, which has a range of fifteen (15) years, six (6) months and twenty (20) days to sixteen (16) years, five (5) months and nine (9) days. Notwithstanding that R.A. No. 7610 is a special law, accused-appellant may enjoy the benefits of the Indeterminate Sentence Law. Thus, he shall be entitled to a minimum term to be taken within the range of the penalty next lower to that prescribed by the Code. The penalty next lower in degree is prision mayor, the range of which is from six (6) years and one (1) day to twelve (12) years. Hence, for the crime of acts of lasciviousness, accused-appellant shall suffer the indeterminate sentence of eight (8) years and one (1) day of prision mayor, as minimum, to fifteen (15) years, six (6) months and twenty (20) days of reclusion temporal as maximum.
In line with current jurisprudence, accused-appellant is liable to pay the victim the amount of P30,000.00 as moral damages.