What are some important things we need to know about violence against women in the Philippines? One prevailing social issue in the Philippines is violence against women (VAW). In 2017, 1 in 4 Filipino women aged 15 to 49 who took part in the Philippine Statistics Authority’s National Demographic and Health Survey reported being victims of physical, emotional, or sexual abuse by their husbands or partner. 

It’s troubling that VAW still exists despite efforts to address the problem. Some laws in the Philippines deal with the issues of abuse and violence against women. The “Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children Act of 2004,” Republic Act No. 9262, establishes the consequences of such actions, which we’ll talk about in this article. We’ll also delve into the different kinds of abuse, punishment for violence against women in the Philippines, and how and where you can file a protection order as well as the penalties involved.

1. What is the Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children Act (RA 9262)? 

Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children Act (RA 9262) is a law in the Philippines that has the objective to stop violence against women and their children (VAWC) by their partners, such as their husband or ex-husband, live-in partner or previous live-in partner, boyfriend/girlfriend or ex-boyfriend/ex-girlfriend, dating partner or past dating partner.

2. Acts Covered Under RA 9262 

Many types of violence against women the Philippines include physical assault, sexual assault, psychological abuse, and financial exploitation.

Physical Violence Against Women in the Philippines

Acts that cause physical injury are referred to as physical violence.

  • harming the woman, and her child, physically or threatening to do so;
  • putting the mother or her child in danger of getting hurt soon.

A prominent case of violence against women involving two celebrities in the Philippines—actress Ana Jalandoni and actor Kit Thompson—illustrates this kind of assault.

On March 18, 2022, police in Tagaytay City announced that they had freed Jalandoni, who had posted a picture of herself on social media with cuts and bruises while pleading with her friends for assistance after claiming that she had been assaulted and held by actor Kit Thompson. 

On the same day, Thompson was escorted to a police station to be questioned while Jalandoni was rushed to the emergency department. Police reported Thompson for breaking Republic Act No. 9262, often known as the Anti-Violence Against Women and Children Act, on May 19.

Sexual Violence Against Women in the Philippines

Sexual violence, on the other hand, describes an act that’s sexual and is done to a woman or her child. It consists of, but is not restricted to:

  • rape
  • sexual misconduct,
  • lewd behavior,
  • utilizing a woman or her child for sex
  • making offensive and provocative comments about women,
  • physically assaulting the victim’s genital organs,
  • pushing them to view inappropriate media and entertainment, or
  • forcing the mother or her child to engage in immoral behavior and/or produce pornographic media,
  • forcing the wife, mistress, or lover to share a room with the abuser or to reside in the marital house;
  • acts that attempt or use force, threats of force, physical harm, or threats of physical or other harm to coerce the victim into engaging in any sexual activity;
  • the woman or the child being prostituted.

Keep in mind that insulting women is regarded to constitute aggression towards them!

Psychological Violence

Psychological violence is a novel term in Philippine law and relates to actions or inactions that cause or are likely to cause the victim’s mental or emotional pain, including but not limited to:

  • intimidation
  • harassment
  • stalking
  • destruction of property
  • public shame or mockery
  • verbal abuse that is repeated
  • persistent adultery in marriage

It also includes causing or permitting the victim to witness pornography in any form, the abusive treatment of pets, the illegal or unwanted deprivation of the right to custody and/or visitation of common children, as well as the physical, sexual, or psychological abuse of a member of the victim’s own family.

It must be underlined that regular yelling matches between men and women that end in insults, humiliation, and similar behaviors are seen as violence against women! More importantly, having extramarital affairs or committing repeated acts of infidelity with your spouse are both illegal.

Economic Abuse

The VAWC’s addition of economic abuse is another triumph for women. Economic abuse encompasses, but isn’t limited to, the following behaviors that make or seek to make a woman financially dependent:

  • cancellation of financial assistance
  • limiting the victim’s ability to pursue any legal profession, occupation, company, or activity;
  • deprivation of funds and the right to use and enjoy marital, communal, or property owned in common, or the danger of such deprivation;
  • damaging home furnishings;
  • either in control of the victims’ assets or just in control of the marital assets.

3. Who are Those Protected by RA 9262? 

The law recognizes the inequality between a man and a woman in an abusive relationship when the woman is typically at a disadvantage. The Anti-Violence covers the following individuals Against Women and Their Children Act (R.A. 9262):

  • wife
  • former spouse
  • a female victim of the offender’s sexual misconduct
  • a female partner with whom the perpetrator shares a child
  • The woman’s child, whether genuine or not, whether it is raised in the family home or not

4. Protection Orders Under RA 9262 

What is A Protection Order?

A Petition for Protection Order may be submitted under the Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children Act (R.A. 9262). The goal of a protection order is to stop further acts of violence against a woman or her child while also providing other required remedies. 

The protections provided by a protection order are meant to shield the victim from more violence, lessen disruptions to her daily routine, and give her the chance and freedom to take back control of her life on her own. 

Types of Protection Orders

The several types of protective orders include:

  • Barangay protection orders (BPOs): These are protection orders issued by the Punong Barangay directing the offender to stop acting in violation of Sections 5(a) and (b) of the R.A. 9262. The BPO will last for 15 days.
  • Temporary Protection Orders (TPO): These are protection orders that the court issues on the date the application is filed after making an ex parte decision that such an order should be issued. The reliefs listed in R.A. may be granted in a TPO in whole, in part, or none at all. 9262 and is going to be in effect for 30 days.

Who May File for a Protection Order?

Any of the following parties may submit a petition for a protection order:

  • The aggrieved party
  • The offended party’s parents or legal representatives
  • The fourth civil degree of consanguinity or affinity ascendants, descendants, or collateral relatives
  • Social workers employed by local governments or the DSWD may also be social workers (LGUs)
  • Police officers; ideally those in charge of the desks for women and children
  • Barangay Kagawad or Punong Barangay
  • Attorney, advisor, therapist, or medical professional representing the petitioner
  • At least two (2) concerned, law-abiding persons with firsthand knowledge of the crime perpetrated in the city or municipality where the violence against women and their children happened must be present.

How to File for a Protection Order in the Philippines?

In a Temporary Protection Order (TPO) or Permanent Protection Order (PPO), the petitioner may apply for protection at the proper Regional Trial Court/Family Court or Municipal Court where they reside. A Barangay Protection Order may be requested under Section 409 of the Local Government Code of 1991 or in the barangay where the applicant resides.

The request for a protection order must be made in writing, signed by the applicant, and validated under oath. The following details must be included on a standard protection order application form that is easily accessible and written in English with translations into the major languages:

  • The petitioner’s and respondent’s names and addresses
  • Relationships between the petitioner and respondent 
  • An explanation of the circumstances of the abuse
  • Description of the reliefs the petitioner is requesting
  • Request for legal advice and the reasons why
  • Request for a cost waiver up until a hearing
  • An affirmation that there isn’t a protective order application pending in another court

5. Where to File the Case and Penalties Imposed 

Where to File the Case 

Violence against women and their children is regarded as a PUBLIC crime, and any member of the public who has firsthand knowledge of the events leading up to the crime’s conduct is eligible to register a complaint. Cases may be filed in the Regional Trial Court of the crime scene designated as the family court. Original and exclusive jurisdiction over certain cases belongs to these courts.

Penalties Imposed 

If found guilty in court, offenders will face the following penalties:

  • imprisonment for one month and one day to twenty years
  • a monetary fine ranging from P100,000 to P300,000
  • a requirement that they get either psychiatric care or psychological counseling.

6. Where to Seek Help 

Final Words for Violence Against Women in the Philippines

Millions of individuals worldwide are impacted by violence against women (VAW) and violence against children (VAC). Research on adolescent difficulties and the linkages between VAW and VAC may benefit from advancements in national prevalence and administrative data collection and management. 

To fully and successfully address VAC and VAW in the Philippines, continuing policies such as the Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children Act, programming, and service activity could be informed by the availability of trustworthy and high-quality data. Integrating some components of VAC and VAW prevention and response may also be beneficial across services, programs, and policies.

References:

Baclig, C. E. (2022, March 31). A case study of Battered wife syndrome: The beating of Ana Jalandoni. INQUIRER.net. Retrieved January 12, 2023, from https://newsinfo.inquirer.net/1575901/for-posting-edited-a-case-study-of-battered-wife-syndrome-the-beating-of-ana-jalandoni 

Republic act no. 9262. Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines. (2004, March 8). Retrieved January 12, 2023, from https://www.officialgazette.gov.ph/2004/03/08/republic-act-no-9262-s-2004/ 

Nicolas & De Vega Law Offices. (2020, August 14). Punishing violence against women in the Philippines – law firm in Metro Manila, Philippines: Corporate, family, IP Law, and Litigation Lawyers. Law Firm in Metro Manila, Philippines | Corporate, Family, IP law, and Litigation Lawyers. Retrieved January 12, 2023, from https://ndvlaw.com/punishing-violence-against-women-in-the-philippines/ 

Philippine Commission on Women. (n.d.). RA 9262: The anti-violence against women and their children. Philippine Commission on Women. Retrieved January 12, 2023, from https://pcw.gov.ph/faq-republic-act-9262/ 

United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. (2020, November 30). Ending violence against women and children in the Philippines: Opportunities and challenges for collaborative and integrative approaches – Philippines. ReliefWeb. Retrieved January 12, 2023, from https://reliefweb.int/report/philippines/ending-violence-against-women-and-children-philippines-opportunities-and 


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By Cam Adajar

Cam is a Registered Microbiologist, having graduated Bachelor of Science in Biology major in Microbiology, cum laude, from the University of the Philippines Los Baños. Despite her love of science evident in her educational background, she found solace and purpose with writing, and is now working as a freelance writer for multiple clients and as a content manager for a start-up company. Cam is also a women’s empowerment advocate, believing that taking care of women’s health is the same as taking care of women’s rights. She's currently taking up her Juris Doctorate degree at San Sebastian College-Recoletos.