EDITORIAL - Psychological violence
EDITORIAL - Psychological violence
(The Philippine Star) - October 30, 2020 - 12:00am

With the Supreme Court affirming the conviction of a man for cheating on his wife and keeping a family with another woman, lawmakers may want to take a second look at Republic Act 9262, the Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children Act of 2004. If the SC ruling would be applied equally, many other men, including top government officials, could end up behind bars for violating RA 9262, for committing domestic violence.

The SC affirmed a ruling of the Court of Appeals, which sentenced the husband to six months and one day up to eight years in prison for cheating on his wife and living with another woman, with whom he has three children. The husband was also fined P100,000 and ordered to pay another P25,000 in moral damages, and to undergo psychiatric counseling.

The courts supported the wife’s complaint that she suffered emotional anguish and mental suffering, which the court considered as psychological violence – an offense punishable under RA 9262. The courts accepted as evidence the mere testimony of the wife that she suffered emotional and mental distress over being cheated, prompting her to take anti-depressants and sleeping pills.

Domestic violence is a serious problem in this country, and the law has worthy intentions in protecting the usual victims – women and children – although men can also suffer from various forms of violence at home. In this country, there are also men who even take pride in cheating on their wives and keeping one or more mistresses.

On the other hand, not all men are serial philanderers. Marital relations are rarely smooth, and not all couples are able to live happily ever after. In this country, the only one in the world without divorce, uncoupling from a loveless marriage typically means emotional and mental distress for both parties. Sending the husband to prison can destroy the life not only of the convict but also that of any children, whether from the ruined marriage or with the other woman.

It’s a slippery slope, but the courts merely applied the law. It’s up to lawmakers to review it.

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