WITH the filing by the NBI of the complaint for rape against lawyer-broadcaster-teacher Juril Patiño, mainstream media finally named him.
Thus ending the absurdity of withholding his name while social media had long identified him and he himself had come out on Facebook to deny the accusation.
From what he said on radio yesterday, Atty. Juril’s defense is outright denial that he raped the girl, 13, in his car on the way to taking her home. The girl went on an errand for her mother to the radio station where Patiño worked as a program co-anchor.
He supported his blanket denial with two arguments: He wouldn’t risk his career and reputation, for which, he said, he had worked hard. And if he really molested the girl, he could’ve used a motel, not in a car parked on a busy street.
Argument #1 is as lame as it can get: won’t stand up in court like the reasons that the wealthy, having much money, won’t steal, or a priest, committed to God, won’t fornicate.
Argument #2 can be struck down by the Supreme Court rulings that flaunt its famous quote “Lust is no respecter of time or place.” There’s no rule that rape cannot be committed only in secluded places, the tribunal said. The SC has long taken judicial recognition that some people, especially among the poor, have gotten used to copulating under difficult conditions, such as the presence of people in the same room.
Juril’s arguments won’t do.
If he is telling the truth, his best defense is tearing down the testimony of the victim.
The SC has long recognized that an accusation of rape “can be made with facility,” difficult to prove, and more difficult for the accused, though innocent, to dispute.
Because of the “intrinsic nature” of the crime where only two persons are usually present, the SC said, the testimony of the victim “must be scrutinized with exteme caution.”
But where is the girl? She has disappeared at the hospital where the mother took her and hasn’t been seen or heard from.
While it’s no longer a crime against honor but a crime against persons (since the Anti-Rape Law of 1997 took effect), rape may be effectively prosecuted by a credible and straightforward story-telling by the victim. Only she could testify to the rape; there was no witness. Her mom’s testimony or the doctor’s finding wouldn’t be enough.
And only by cross-examination would the defense be able to show if she was lying. Her absence would affect both sides.
But the prosecutor might find probable cause based only on the pleadings and file the information in court, which would keep Patiño in jail without bail. Hugely unfair, if he’s as innocent as he stoutly declares. But as a lawyer, he knows the rules aren’t always just. Much tougher for him from here on.
Not helping things is that top city officials are moving for him to be held accountable, probably from a jail cell where, if allowed, Atty. Juril may write his motions, update his Facebook, and even continue his broadcast work.
Published in the SunStar Cebu newspaper on July 28, 2017.
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