SC: Despite illicit intimate relationships women still protected under VAWC law

Published July 7, 2022, 4:00 PM

by Rey Panaligan 

Supreme Court

An illicit intimate relationship between a man and a woman does not deprive the latter of protection under the Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children Act (VAWC law).

She will be protected just the same by the law that values her and her children’s dignity and guarantees full respect for their human rights, the SC said in a decision written by Senior Associate Justice Marvic M.V.F. Leonen.

The SC’s public information office (PIO) provided the summary of the decision since a copy has not been uploaded in the court’s website.

The PIO said the petitioner in the case was a man against whom the permanent protection order (PPO) had been issued to prevent further acts of violence against the respondents—his longtime live-in partner, a woman, and their children. He was 47 and admittedly married when he met the respondent woman, then 20, in 1979.

It said “the man argued that Republic Act No. 9262 cannot provide relief for the respondent woman, as she was only his paramour. For him, although the law’s protection extends to a woman with whom one has or had a sexual or dating relationship, this should be interpreted to mean as a relationship without any legal impediment to marry each other. Otherwise, he says, the law would effectively tolerate adulterous relationships.”

Quoting from the decision, the PIO said that “applying the rule on statutory construction that when the law does not make any distinction, neither should the courts, the Court corrected the petitioner’s mistaken notion.”

It said the SC pointed out that the law “protects women and their children from various forms of violence and abuse committed within a setting of an intimate relationship — including the respondent woman and their children.”

It also said the court “applied the same rule in rejecting the petitioner’s other contention: that since their children have attained the age of majority by the time the PPO was issued, this precludes the application of RA 9262, which defines ‘children’ as those below 18 years old, or older but incapable of taking care of themselves.”

“Citing Estacio v. Estacio, a similar case of violence against women and their children, the Court explained that neither Republic Act No. 9262 nor the Rule on Violence Against Women and Their Children distinguishes the age at which children are included in protection orders,” the PIO said.

“On both issues, the Court upheld the State policy of protecting women and children from violence and threats to their security and safety, declaring that it ‘will not interpret a provision of Republic Act No. 9262 as to make it powerless and futile,’” it said.

The PIO said it will upload the decision, under GR No. 187175, to the SC website (sc.judiciary.gov.ph) once it receives an official copy from the Office of the Clerk Court Second Division.

 
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