I have been married to my husband for 15 years now. I know that for the past three years he had used drugs, and that every time he asked money from me then, he used it to buy “shabu.” I am working in one of the call centers in Ortigas, and my salary is not sufficient to pay for our household bills. I am already fed up, and I intend to live separately from my husband.
When I told him of my plan, he beat me up, and forcibly took my cell phone, money in my ATM card, and jewelry. He even threatened to evict me from our house. I am now contemplating of suing him for the abuse that I have suffered, but I do not have the financial ability to obtain the services of a lawyer. I was also informed that I cannot get assistance from the PAO, because my income is P15, 000 a month. Please help me.
Causing physical harm to the woman or her child and controlling the victim’s own money or properties or solely controlling the conjugal or common money or properties are abuses that fall under Section 5 (a) and (e (4)) of Republic Act No. 9262.
You have to apply for protection in order to prevent your husband from inflicting further harm on you. Pursuant to Section 8 of the above-mentioned law, the protection orders that may be issued are the barangay protection order, temporary protection order, and permanent protection order.
If the woman or her child requests in the application for a protection order for the appointment of counsel because of lack of economic means to hire a counsel de parte, the court shall immediately direct the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) to represent the petitioner in the hearing on the application. If the PAO determines that the applicant can afford to hire the services of a counsel de parte, it shall facilitate the legal representation of the petitioner by a counsel de parte. The lack of access to family or conjugal resources by the applicant, such as when the same are controlled by the perpetrator, shall qualify the petitioner to legal representation by the PAO. However, a private counsel offering free legal service is not barred from representing the petitioner (Section 13, Ibid.). The Public Attorney’s Office, pursuant to its mandate, extends free legal assistance to victims of violence against women and their children regardless of the indigency requirement (Section 1, Article V, PAO Office Order No. 137, Series of 2010).
We hope that we were able to answer your concern. Please be reminded that this advice is based solely on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. Our opinion may vary when other facts are changed or elaborated.
Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org