I had a bad experience with my ex-boyfriend who regularly stalked me in my office and even often stayed on our street to stalk me at night. I’ve seriously wanted to file a case against him under Republic Act 9262, and I have already prepared a case against him. He stopped pestering me when he found out about my intention to file a case against him, and he even went out of the country because of this. He, however, returned after a year, and I was informed by a mutual friend that he plans on stalking me again to ward off my current suitors. Because of this, I decided to continue the case that I had planned to file against him.
But a friend of mine advised me that I may not be able to file a case anymore since a year had already passed since the last stalking incident, and therefore my claim against him might have already prescribed. I am now unsure if I can still file a complaint against him since it might have already prescribed. Please advise me if my complaint against my stalker ex-boyfriend have already prescribed. Thank you. God bless!
Based on your narration, the actions of your ex-boyfriend fall squarely among those acts considered as a form of violence against women punishable under Republic Act (RA) 9262, known as the Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children Act of 2004. According to this law:
“SECTION 5. Acts of Violence Against Women and Their Children.- The crime of violence against women and their children is committed through any of the following acts:
(h) Engaging in purposeful, knowing or reckless conduct, personally or through another, that alarms or causes substantial emotional or psychological distress to the woman or her child. This shall include, but not be limited to, the following acts:
(1) Stalking or following the woman or her child in public or private places;
(2) Peering in the window or lingering outside the residence of the woman or her child;
Xxx” (Emphasis supplied)
As such it is only proper that you exercise your legal right to file a criminal complaint against him for his actions against you.
Considering your concern as to whether your complaint against him for violation of RA 9262 has already prescribed, the law expressly states:
“Section 24. Prescriptive Period. – Acts falling under Sections 5(a) to 5(f) shall prescribe in twenty (20) years. Acts falling under Sections 5(g) to 5(I) shall prescribe in ten (10) years.” (Emphasis supplied)
Following the above-cited provision, since your ex-boyfriend’s act of stalking you falls under Section 5 (h) of RA 9262, then the prescriptive period for this criminal act is ten (10) years. As such, your friend is mistaken in claiming that your complaint against your ex-boyfriend has already prescribed since it is clear that you have ten (10) years from the date of the commission of the criminal act to file a case against him. Thus, you may still file a criminal complaint for violation of RA 9262 against your boyfriend even if he committed the crime one (1) year ago.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org