University of Pangasinan professor gets 11 years for sexually abusing minor-aged student
The Court of Appeals (CA) has affirmed the conviction of a University of Pangasinan professor for the sexual abuse of his 17-year old student in February 2011.
In a recent 13-page decision, the CA sustained the prison term of 11 to 17 years handed out by the Dagupan City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 43 in its June 11, 2013 verdict.
The appellate court even increased the damages awarded to the victim. Del Prado was now ordered to pay P75,000 each in civil indemnity, moral damages and exemplary damages, or a total of P225,000; this was more than twice the P100,000 (P50,000 in moral damages and civil indemnity) damages awarded by the RTC.
The victim accused Del Prado of luring her into an inn after she hesitantly accepted her invitation to have snacks; the logic professor then allegedly forced himself on her and shoved his penis despite her attempts to flee.
Del Prado, meanwhile, claimed they were flirting with each other and calling each other “baby.” He admitted to having sex at the inn, but claimed it was consensual. However, he accused her of filing a case because he failed to meet her demand for P500,000.
The CA, however, said the mere fact that the student was a minor already made Del Prado guilty of sexual abuse.
“It is undisputed that [the victim] was still 17 years old when the crime happened and is hence, considered a child under the law,” read the decision penned by Associate Justice Myra Garcia-Fernandez.
This circumstance made the court inclined to believe the victim’s account as “Influence and moral ascendancy are easily inferred on [Del Prado’s] relationship with [his student].”
The CA stressed that “consent is immaterial” if the case involves a minor.