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’s just discuss the crime of rape.

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)

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’s” 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)

10 Responses to “The Anti-Rape Law of 1997”


  1. 1 josa Oct 13th, 2006 at 5:31 am

    I am greatly disappointed that to this date, date rape which may fall under fraudulent machinations still isn’t recognized such that more often than not, the complaint for rape is downgraded to seduction.

    Is there any philippine jurisprudence on date rape that you may be aware of?

  2. 2 Atty.Fred Oct 13th, 2006 at 2:50 pm

    Hello Josa, I haven’t heard of one, although will still check. Anyway, may I request that you write something on that issue (your status is now a “contributor”, please see last post in this site).

  3. 3 concerned uncle Nov 2nd, 2010 at 3:13 am

    Dear Atty. Fred,

    My family just discovered that rape was continuously committed by my brother in law against my niece, who is 17 yrs. old. My niece is actually not his own child, but the child of my sister from her first partner. The first time rape was committed was when my niece was just 6 years old and has continued until last month, October 2010 when we discovered it. We found this out through my other niece, who admitted that she saw her father raping her step-sister (older sister) and complained last week that her father has started touching her as well. When confronted, my brother-in-law admitted to the offences. We then evicted him from their house through the help of his relatives and baranggay officials.

    I want to file criminal charges against him and at the same time, apply for TPO and eventually PPO. However, we are concerned that once found guilty (which in my humble opinion is more likely), he will lose his job and will not be able to provide for the family. As a seafarer, he is also bound to leave the country next month. Criminal/ police records will surely prevent him from leaving which will then result to inability to support the family. My sister is jobless. They have a toddler and 2 grade-schoolers plus the oldest daughter, the rape-victim who is now in college.

    May we just apply for TPO or PPO without filing criminal charges? Will the government, (e.g. DSWD)not force us to take legal steps which will result to my brother-in-law’s incarceration or worse, meddle in the child-custody matter?

    I will appreciate your response. I want to apply for TPO today as he is continuously sending my sister alarming text messages. I am withholding my plans because of the aforementioned concerns.

    Thank you very much.

  4. 4 captain16 Nov 7th, 2010 at 11:31 am

    Good Day,

    I would like ask for advice regarding to my sister rape case.

    My father discovered that my 16 years old sister was pregnant, and the worst scenario, she was raped. But the problem, the was done last May 2010 after the election and my parents only know about it this last week of October 2010. And they try to ask for help in the police station but the police said they can only file warrant of arrest if it was only few days was past, but it’s been 5 months after the crime and they can only give subpoena. But until now, no subpoena was come for hearing and we want to punish this criminal after he done to my sister.

    I want to ask if it’s right and we need to wait for this subpoena or the police can arrest this guy at once. Because we are worrying maybe this criminal guy will hide and it will so hard for us the justice that we deserve.

    And please give us advice what much better need to do.

    Thank you very much..

  5. 5 Shango Nov 8th, 2010 at 6:21 am

    What if a gay who forced a guy to have sex with him. He managed to do so, by using force, and then he sucked the guy’s private part. Is that considered rape?

  6. 6 namanpotoh Mar 19th, 2012 at 6:41 pm

    hican somebody answer me i live in bohol. i have a daughter and married. iwas raped by my father he intimidate me with a knife and i got pregnant she’s 2 years old now. can i charge my father a rape even 2 years have been pass?thx for the answer send me yoour answer namanpotoh@yahoo.com

  7. 7 vlad Nov 27th, 2012 at 12:50 pm

    can anyone help me please?

    My Uncle was accused of rape and he is now in Jail .. the said Victim was a 13 yrs. old girl .. and the girl admits to the investigators that she was the one who ask my uncle to do it with her, and she said that my uncle didn’t force her and didn’t even put his Penis in her Vagina, according to her what my uncle did was insert his finger in her .. the investigation took only 2 days but based on what I’ve read in R.A. 8353 Section 5 it says “This Act shall take effect fifteen (15) days after completion of its publication in two (2) newspapers of general circulation.”

    is there a way to make my uncle not guilty of the crime? and is what he and the girl did was considered rape ?

    thank you for the help
    dionelavom@gmail.com

  8. 8 uriel_2007 Aug 6th, 2013 at 5:13 pm

    good day,

    27 yrs ago i was born unwed…
    My mother 17 yrs old and my father was 22 yrs old. Can I still file a case for that?. Since my mother is not of legal age and my father is of legal age?. even 27 yrs have past? is there a prescribe years for the case to be file?

    I’m hoping an answers.. thank you.
    It will great help.

    you can reach me trough my email address uriel_2007@yahoo.com

  9. 9 karensantos Aug 29th, 2013 at 4:28 pm

    Good day,

    I want to ask regarding the case of my father who has been accused of rape by an 18 year old. The said complainant lived in my grandmother’s house. She worked as a housekeeper and in return my grandmother finance her education and basic needs. My grand mother sent her home last June 2013 to her family because the complainant had been going home late for how may times and my grandmother also complained of losing amount of cash in which she suspects the complainant is guilty for this matter. After 1 month that she was sent home, a subpoena was recieved by my father allegeding 7 counts of rapes in which my father denied all of it. We have strong wtnesses and proof for the 3 counts but the remaining 4 dates, we cannot defend because my father and family could no longer remember their iterinaries or my father was at home with my mother. i just want to ask help and expert advise because rape case is unusual in our locality. and is it possible that the fiscal will move up the case eventhough the complainant has only sworn statement of rape and no other supporting evidence against my father?because it seems the complainant has other intentions.

  10. 10 karensantos Aug 29th, 2013 at 4:39 pm

    Good day,

    I want to ask regarding the case of my father who has been accused of rape by an 18 year old. The said complainant lived in my grandmother’s house. She worked as a housekeeper and in return my grandmother finance her education and basic needs. My grand mother sent her home last June 2013 to her family because the complainant had been going home late for how may times and my grandmother also complained of losing amount of cash in which she suspects the complainant is guilty for this matter. After 1 month that she was sent home, a subpoena was recieved by my father allegeding 7 counts of rapes in which my father denied all of it. We have strong wtnesses and proof for the 3 counts but the remaining 4 dates, we cannot defend because my father and family could no longer remember their iterinaries or my father was at home with my mother. i just want to ask help and expert advise because rape case is unusual in our locality. and is it possible that the fiscal will move up the case eventhough the complainant has only sworn statement of rape and no other supporting evidence against my father?because it seems the complainant has other intentions. you can reach me through my email adddress karensantos405@gmail.com

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