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XI-2. Malto vs People

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  GR NO. 164733 MALTO VS PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES CASE: VIOLATION OF RA 7610 Michael John Z. Malto vs People of the Philippines FACTS: At the time of incident, AAA, the complainant, was 17 yrs old. She was a college student at Assumption College in San Lorenzo Village, Makati City. On the other hand, the petitioner, Michael John Z. Malto, was a 28-yr old professor of AAA in philosophy in the first semester of school yr 1997-1998. The petitioner pursued AAA and they became sweethearts. In November 26, 1997, after threatening AAA of ending their relationship, AAA gave in to the petitioner to engage in sexual intercourse with him inside the motel. In July 1999, AAA ended their relationship and she learned that he was either intimately involved with or was sexually harassing his students in Assumption College and in other colleges where he taught and that the accused was terminated from De La Salle University  –   Aguinaldo and Assumption College. It was then that AAA realized that she was actually abused by the petitioner. AAA confided all that happened between her and petitioner to her mother, BBB. BBB filed an administrative complaint to the school and a criminal case in the City Prosecutor of Pasay City. The petitioner, in his defense, alleged that they only became sweethearts when AAA was already 19 while he was already out of Assumption College. The trial court convicted Malto for violation of Article III, Section 5 (a) paragraph 3 of RA 7610 that was modified by the Court of Appeals as violation of paragraph (b) and not of paragraph (a) of Section 5. ISSUE: Whether or not Malto is guilty of violation of RA 7610? RULING: Yes, Malto is guilty of violation of paragraph b of section 5 of RA 7610. Paragraphs (a) and (b) of Section 5, Article III of RA 7610 provide: Section 5. Child Prostitution and Other Sexual Abuse . - Children, whether male or female, who, for money, 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:  (a) Those who engage in or promote, facilitate or induce child prostitution which include, but are not limited to, the following: 1. Acting as a procurer of a child prostitute; 2. Inducing a person to be a client of a child prostitute by means of written or oral advertisements or other similar means; 3. Taking advantage of influence or relationship to procure a child as a prostitute; 4. Threatening or using violence towards a child to engage him as a prostitute; or 5. Giving monetary consideration, goods or other pecuniary benefit to a child with intent to engage such child in prostitution. (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, paragraph 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; and The elements of paragraph (a) are: 1. the accused engages in, promotes, facilitates or induces child prostitution; 2. the act is done through, but not limited to, the following means: a. acting as a procurer of a child prostitute; b. inducing a person to be a client of a child prostitute by means of written or oral advertisements or other similar means; c. taking advantage of influence or relationship to procure a child as a prostitute; d. threatening or using violence towards a child to engage him as a prostitute or e. giving monetary consideration, goods or other pecuniary benefit to a child with intent to engage such child in prostitution; 3. the child is exploited or intended to be exploited in prostitution and 4. the child, whether male or female, is below 18 years of age. On the other hand, the elements of paragraph (b) are: 1. the accused commits the act of sexual intercourse or lascivious conduct; 2. the act is performed with a child exploited in prostitution or subjected to other sexual abuse and 3. the child, whether male or female, is below 18 years of age. Paragraph (a) essentially punishes acts pertaining to or connected with child prostitution. It contemplates sexual abuse of a child exploited in prostitution. In other words, under paragraph (a), the child is abused primarily for profit. On the other hand, paragraph (b) punishes sexual intercourse or lascivious conduct not only with a child exploited in prostitution but also with a child  subjected to other sexual abuse. It covers not only a situation where a child is abused for profit but also one in which a child, through coercion, intimidation or influence, engages in sexual intercourse or lascivious conduct. The petitioner invoked the “sweetheart theory” however the Court ruled that unlike rape, consent is immaterial in cases involving violation of Section 5, Article III of RA 7610 . The mere act of having sexual intercourse or committing lascivious conduct with a child who is exploited in prostitution or subjected to sexual abuse constitutes the offense. It is a malum prohibitum , an evil that is proscribed. A child cannot give consent to a contract under the civil law.
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