My neighbor repeatedly punched me for no reason. Because of that, I sustained injuries which required medical attendance for 7 days. I want to file a case against him. What shall I do? Does your office provide assistance in filing criminal complaints?
The act of your neighbor in inflicting injuries upon you which required medical attendance for seven days amounts to slight physical injuries which is penalized under Section 266 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC), to wit:
“Article 266. Slight physical injuries and maltreatment. – The crime of slight physical injuries shall be punished:
1. By arresto menor when the offender has inflicted physical injuries which shall incapacitate the offended party for labor from one to nine days, or shall require medical attendance during the same period.
2. By arresto menor or a fine not exceeding 20 pesos and censure when the offender has caused physical injuries which do not prevent the offended party from engaging in his habitual work nor require medical assistance.
3. By arresto menor in its minimum period or a fine not exceeding 50 pesos when the offender shall ill-treat another by deed without causing any injury.”
The penalty for slight physical injuries is arresto menor or imprisonment from one day to thirty days. As such, you shall first need to bring your complaint against your neighbor before your barangay for conciliation. Barangay conciliation is a form of dispute settlement that gives the parties an opportunity to peaceably settle their disputes without going to court. If you and your neighbor failed to reach a settlement, you will be issued a certificate to file action, after which, you may file a complaint before the Office of the Prosecutor of the place where your neighbor punched you. You need to attach in your complaint the medico-legal slip to prove the extent of the injury you sustained and your certificate to file action.
The Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) provides assistance in the filing of criminal complaints before the Office of the Prosecutor. However, to be qualified for assistance, you need to pass the merit and indigency tests provided under Sections 2 and 3, respectively, of the PAO Operations Manual. On this note, we would like to invite you to visit our district office near your place so we can fully assist you on your legal concern.
We hope that we were able to answer your queries. Please be reminded that this advice is based solely on the facts that 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