My friend, Jen is married to a seafarer. Her husband is earning more than enough, but he refuses to send any support to his children who are in Jen’s custody. Jen confronted her husband about their financial support; however, her husband claimed that he is not earning that much. Jen discovered later on that her husband was sending P15,000 to his parents with the instruction to the latter to give the allowance of his family. However, his parents failed to give any amount to Jen and her children. Jen intends to file a complaint for violation of RA No. 9262 against her husband and her parents-in-law. Is this possible?
Economic abuse under Section 3(d) of Republic Act (R.A.) No. 9262 refers to acts that make or attempt to make a woman financially dependent which includes, but is not limited to the following:
1. Withdrawal of financial support or preventing the victim from engaging in any legitimate profession, occupation, business or activity, except in cases wherein the other spouse/partner objects on valid, serious and moral grounds as defined in Article 73 of the Family Code;
2. Deprivation or threat of deprivation of financial resources and the right to the use and enjoyment of the conjugal, community or property owned in common;
3. Destroying household property;
4. Controlling the victims’ own money or properties or solely controlling the conjugal money or properties.
In AAA vs Spouses CCC, G.R. No 168852,September 30, 2008, the Supreme Court said that:
“Section 3 of R.A. No. 9262 defines violence against women and their children as “any act or a series of acts committed by any person against a woman who is his wife, former wife, or against a woman with whom the person has or had a sexual or dating relationship, or with whom he has a common child, or against her child whether legitimate or illegitimate, within or without the family abode, which result in or is likely to result in physical, sexual, psychological harm or suffering, or economic abuse including threats of such acts, battery, assault, coercion, harassment or arbitrary deprivation of liberty”.
While the said provision provides that the offender be related or connected to the victim by marriage, former marriage, or a sexual or dating relationship, it does not preclude the application of the principle of conspiracy under the RPC.
Indeed, Section 47 of R.A. No. 9262 expressly provides for the suppletory application of the RPC, thus:
SEC. 47. Suppletory Application. – For purposes of this Act, the Revised Penal Code and other applicable laws, shall have suppletory application. (Emphasis supplied)
Parenthetically, Article 10 of the RPC provides:
ART. 10. Offenses not subject to the provisions of this Code. Offenses which are or in the future may be punishable under special laws are not subject to the provisions of this Code. This Code shall be supplementary to such laws, unless the latter should specially provide the contrary. (Emphasis supplied)
Hence, legal principles developed from the Penal Code may be applied in a supplementary capacity to crimes punished under special laws, such as R.A. No. 9262, in which the special law is silent on a particular matter.
In your friend’s case, her parents-in-law can be included in the complaint for Violation of RA No. 9262 provided she can establish conspiracy to commit economic abuse against her.
We hope that we were able to answer your queries. 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 email@example.com