I had a rough married life. My husband maltreated me, which often led to physical battery. I finally decided to leave him, but he threatened to hurt me if I do. A friend advised me to file a case and get a barangay (village) protection order. May I know what a barangay protection order is? How can I get it?
In general, a protection order is an order or directive issued for the purpose of preventing further acts of violence against a woman or her child and granting other forms of necessary relief, with the purpose of safeguarding the victim from further harm, minimizing any disruption in the victim’s daily life and facilitating the opportunity and ability of the victim to independently regain control over her life (Sec. 8, Republic Act [RA] 9262). It is available in cases involving violation of RA 9262 or the Anti-Violence Against Women and their Children Act of 2004, which is our principal law aimed at addressing violence committed against women and their children by any person who has or had an intimate relationship with the victim.
A protection order can be secured from the court or from the barangay where the victim is located. The latter type of protection order is called a barangay protection order (BPO). As defined by law, it is an order issued by the Punong Barangay (village chairman) ordering the perpetrator to desist from causing physical harm or threatening to cause harm to the woman or her child. (Sec. 14, Id.) In addition, a BPO can also prohibit the respondent from harassing, annoying, telephoning, contacting or otherwise communicating with the victim, directly or indirectly (Sec. 13, Rule IV, Implementing Rules and Regulations of RA 9262).
A BPO can be secured from the Punong Barangay where the victim is located or residing. The place of residence or location of the victim includes the place where she temporarily resides or where she sought refuge or sanctuary to escape from and avoid continuing violence from the respondent. (Sec. 15, Id.) To secure one, the applicant must file a verified and sworn written application stating, among others, the names and addresses of both petitioner and respondent, a description of their relationship, a statement of the circumstances of the abuse and the reliefs requested by the petitioner. If the applicant is not the victim herself, the application must be accompanied by an affidavit of the applicant attesting to the circumstances of the abuse suffered by the victim and the circumstances of the consent given by such victim for the filing of the application. (Sec. 11, Id.)
Given the urgency to stop and prevent further abuse suffered by the victim, the hearing on applications for BPO takes priority over all other barangay proceedings. Further, the law made it clear that the BPO must be issued on the same day it is applied for and is immediately served personally to the respondent, and is effective for a period of fifteen (15) days. (Sec. 14, Id.)
The threats made by your husband arguably amount to the very abuse proscribed by RA 9262. In order to stop him from further threatening you, you may avail of a barangay protection order, which you can secure from your Punong Barangay following the procedures laid down above. If you require further assistance concerning this matter, we invite you to visit our district office nearest to your residence for a consultation with our public attorneys. Our office is always ready and willing to assist victims of violence against women and their children.
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 email@example.com