My live-in partner was accused by our neighbor, a woman, before barangay authorities of hitting her. He recalled that there was an altercation in our area a few months ago and he got involved only because he was helping my brother who figured in the dispute. My live-in partner now says he is not sure whether he actually hit our neighbor during the incident. We are confused on what to tell the authorities. Please advise.
We have several laws imposing penalties on persons who inflict harm, violence or abuse against women. One of which is Republic Act (RA) 9262 or the Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children Act of 2004. Different forms of violence and abuse are proscribed under this law, to wit, physical violence, sexual, psychological and economic abuse.
It must be emphasized, however, that provisions of RA 9262 are only applicable to a man and a woman who have or had a sexual or dating relationship, or to a man with whom the woman-victim has a common child. To be more specific, the term “violence against women and their children” is defined under Section 3 (a) of RA 9262 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. x x x” (emphasis supplied)
Accordingly, the complaint for violation of RA 9262 against your live-in partner will not prosper, assuming that the same is pursued after termination of the barangay conciliation, as long as he and your neighbor do not or have not shared any of the aforementioned relationships.
Nevertheless, we wish to stress that the fact that there appears to be no violation of the provisions of RA 9262 does not conclusively mean that there is no violation of any other existing law. Remember that your neighbor is accusing your live-in partner to have hit her. Hence, she may still pursue the proper action for physical injuries if she can establish that your live-in partner has wounded, beaten, assaulted her, or inflicted upon her physical injuries which has incapacitated her or required her to seek medical assistance, or if the act of your live-in partner constitutes ill-treatment that has not caused any injury (Articles 263, 264, 265 and 266, Revised Penal Code).
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 firstname.lastname@example.org