More susceptible to violence

A LAW EACH DAY (KEEPS TROUBLE AWAY) - Jose C. Sison - The Philippine Star

Republic Act (RA) 9262 or the Violence Against Women and Children (VAWC) Act is founded on the substantial distinctions between men and women, particularly the unequal power relationship between them, where women are more likely to be victims of violence. It is meant to address the historical and societal norms that people think men are the leaders, pursuers, providers and take on dominant roles in society, while women are nurturers, men’s companions and supporters and take on subordinate roles in society. This case involves Eddie and Minda.

Eddie and Minda have been married for 33 years with three adult children. During their marriage, Eddie has been directly or indirectly harassing, annoying, contacting or otherwise communicating with Minda and the children that includes sending of degrading, demeaning and/or threatening text messages, even to their relatives, friends and acquaintances that degrade, demean and threaten them.

So Minda filed before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) a petition seeking a permanent protection order under RA 9262 with urgent prayer for a Temporary Protection Order (TPO). Finding her petition sufficient in form and substance, the RTC granted the TPO and ordered Eddie to cease and desist from committing the acts complained of by Minda.

Despite Eddie’s answer denying the allegations of the petition and after trial on the merits, the RTC rendered its decision making the TPO permanent (PPO), wherein Eddie was (1) prohibited from threatening or committing any acts of violence or communicating with Minda in any form by landline telephone, mobile phone, fax machine, e-mail and other means; (2) to immediately leave the place where Minda resides; (3) to stay away from Minda and her children, including all their household members, within 500 meters radius from their gate; (4) to cease and desist from using or going near any firearm or other deadly weapon and (5) to immediately turn over and surrender to the Court any firearm which he may have for appropriate disposition.

Despite Eddie’s appeal, the Court of Appeals (CA) still affirmed the RTC decision. The CA ruled that Section 4 of the VAWC law does not limit what “children” means, and thus may include the spouses’ adult children. So, Eddie went to the Supreme Court (SC) questioning, among others, this particular ruling of the CA contending that when he committed the alleged acts against their children, they were already past 18 years old and thus the acts could not have fallen under the definition of “violence” because Section 3(h) of the Law defines children as those under 18 years old, or older if they are incapable of protecting themselves.

But the Supreme Court still upheld the CA ruling. The SC ruled that neither RA 9262 nor the Rule on Violence against Women and Children (Rule) distinguishes children as to their age when they are referred to as being covered by protection orders. Section 8 (d) of said law simply provides “designated family or household members” as the possible beneficiaries of the protection order. Section 4 (c) of the Rule, on the other hand, provides that “members of the family shall include husband and wife, parents and children, the ascendants or descendants, brothers and sisters, whether of full or half-blood, whether living together or not.”

Thus, when the law speaks of family members in the context of protection orders, it also covers descendants as a whole class, even those who are no longer “children” under Section 3(h) of the law.

Eddie’s insistence on the conflict between Section 3(h) and Section 8(d) is more imaginary than real. The law is clear. Courts have the discretion to designate family members who will be included in the protection orders, as long as it is within the remedy’s purpose: to safeguard the victim from further harm, minimize disruptions in their daily life and let them independently regain control over their life.

RA 9262 itself mandates a liberal construction of the law to advance its objectives of preserving and harmonizing the family by protecting its members from violence and threats to their safety.

So, the decision of the CA is affirmed with the amendment that Eddie should likewise receive professional counseling from an agency or a professional who is an expert and experienced in anger management. (This is the ruling in the case of Estacio vs. Estacio, G.R. 211851, Sept. 16, 2020.)

vuukle comment


  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

Get Updated:

Signup for the News Round now

or sign in with