Petition for protection order may include parents-in-law as respondents

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Persida Acosta

Dear PAO,
I have been married to my husband for five years, and have lived with his parents. Our relationship turned sour when a series of medical consultations and treatments revealed that I could not bear a child. When my husband came to know about it, his demeanor drastically changed. He would constantly yell at and berate me, and so would his parents. I intend to file a petition for issuance of a protection order under Republic Act 9262, or the “Anti-Violence Against Women and Children Act,” against him and I want to know if I can include his parents as respondents as well.
Sincerely yours,
Cara

Dear Cara,
As a rule, the protection under Republic Act (RA) 9262, or the Anti-Violence Against Women and Children Act, is afforded to a woman who suffers from the act or acts of a person with whom she has or had a sexual or dating relationship (Rustan Ang v. Court of Appeals, et al. G.R. No. 182835, April 20, 2010; ponente: former Associate Justice Roberto Abad).

Section 3 of RA 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 results 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.

The apparent strict application of RA 9262 to offenders with whom the victim has or had a dating or sexual relationship with does not, however, preclude the application of the Revised Penal Code (RPC) on conspiracy. This was enunciated by the Supreme Court, through the ponencia of the former Associate Justice Ma. Alicia Austria-Martinez in the case entitled “Sharica Mari L. Go-Tan v. Spouses Perfecto C. Tan and Juanita L. Tan” (G.R. No. 168852, September 30, 2008), wherein it was held:


“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 RA 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 RA 9262, in which the special law is silent on a particular matter.”

The Supreme Court noted that Section 5 of RA 9262 expressly recognizes that the acts of violence against women may be committed by an offender through another.

Applying the foregoing, you may include your parents-in-law as respondents in your petition for the issuance of a protection order to prevent them from further committing acts of violence against you.

Again, we find it necessary to mention that this opinion is solely based on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. The opinion may vary when the facts are changed or elaborated.

We hope that we were able to enlighten you on the matter.

Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to dearpao@manilatimes.net

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