MANILA, Philippines — A Philippine court has sentenced a father to 14,400 years in prison after he was convicted of the near-daily rape of his teenage daughter over the course of a year.
A trial court originally condemned the man, a motorcycle taxi driver, to die in March 2006 after he was convicted of 360 counts of rape allegedly carried out during the year his wife worked in Hong Kong.
The Philippines repealed the death penalty in June 2006 and the Court of Appeals in Manila affirmed the conviction on Sept. 8 but lowered the sentence to 40 years' imprisonment – the maximum now allowed by law – for each count of rape, according to a copy of the decision obtained Friday.
The then-13-year-old victim, now 22, said her ordeal began in January 2001, when her mother left for work in Hong Kong as a domestic helper and left her three children with their father in Los Banos, a township just south of Manila.
She said he forced her to have intercourse with him almost every day, except when she had her period or on holidays, when he would make her perform oral sex.
The ordeal only ended after she and her siblings spent a vacation with their mother's relatives. Reluctant to return to her father at the end of the vacation, she broke down and told her family about the abuse. Her mother returned home from Hong Kong and helped her file the case.
The appeals court affirmed the lower court's dismissal of the defense's contention that the man's wife made up the allegations to get custody of the children and marry a foreigner.
Courts do not routinely announce their decision to reporters, and the little-known case escaped media attention until journalists checked the appellate court's recent decisions.
The defendant can still appeal to the Supreme Court. It was not clear if he would and calls to his lawyer's phone were unanswered.