SC affirms woman's conviction for child abuse due to 'damaging' remarks

Ian Laqui - Philstar.com
SC affirms woman's conviction for child abuse due to 'damaging' remarks
This photo shows the facade of the Supreme Court.
Philstar.com / Erwin Cagadas

MANILA, Philippines — The Supreme Court has upheld a conviction of a woman guilty of child abuse due to remarks that attacked the character, reputation and dignity of a minor.

In a 12-page decision by Associate Justice Jhosep Lopez, the high court denied the petition of Rowena B. Plasan assailing her conviction for violation of the Republic Act No. 7610, or the Anti-Child Abuse Law.

“ACCORDINGLY, the instant Petition is DENIED. The Amended Decision dated June 21, 2022 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR No. 01784-MIN is AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION. Petitioner Rowena B. Plasan is GUILTY of violation of Section 1 0(a), in relation to Section 3(b) (1)of Republic Act No. 7610,” the decision read. 

Following her conviction, the SC said that she would face imprisonment of  four years, nine months and 11 days, minimum, up to six years and nine months, maximum. 

Plasan was also ordered to pay the victim an amount of P20,000 as moral damages.

The case stemmed when Plasan inflicted emotional and psychological maltreatment on a 16-year-old with remarks concerning her body which she said to the minor’s friend.

The minor, whom the SC named, AAA262122, overheard their conversation and rushed home to her mother saying that she felt ashamed and angry.  

Following the incident, AAA262122 refused to leave the house.

The minor then filed charges against Plasan. The Regional Trial Court (RTC) later found her guilty, as AAA262122 “positively identified” her as someone “who willfully, unlawfully and feloniously committed emotional abuse upon her.” This led the minor to refuse to leave her house due to shame.

Countering the charges, Plasan then filed a petition assailing the decision of the RTC before the Court of Appeals. However, the appellate court affirmed the RTC’s conviction. 

This prompted Plasan to file a petition for review before the SC.

The SC also affirmed the decision of the lower courts saying that Plasan attacked the minor’s “character, reputation and dignity” in her presence which are considered psychological abuse, citing the Anti-Child Abuse law. 

“This naturally gave rise to psychological abuse within the context of Section 3(b )( 1) of Republic Act No. 7610 and this abuse became apparent as she felt ashamed and did not want to go out of their house anymore,” SC said.

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