Republic Act #9262 is a tricky and often mis-guided law. Not only is it used in numerous cases against foreigners, it is also used against those who have money, or who can be leveraged out of something – whether that be homes, cars, cash etc.
But in reality there are good sides to the law as well – one being the fact that anyone, and yes I mean “anyone” can file the charges of #9262 against you, not just the person that you or someone else may have offended, beaten or harmed.
(Read the full act here)
Section #25 of Republic Act No. 9262 states – “violence against women and their children shall be considered a public offense which may be prosecuted upon the filing of a complaint by any citizen having personal knowledge of the circumstances involving the commission of the crime.” This simple section gives anyone the right to file charges – even if in a child abuse case, the mother will not file charges against her husband, anyone who has knowledge of that case can file the charges against the abuser.
No consent or authorization from a family member, mother or father, is noted in filing charges of #9262 – in a recent case, a grandmother filed charges against her son-in-law for abuse of a child that the mother refused to file, believing her husband to be innocent.
R.A. #9262 also gives another lead-way to assist in helping those being abused by allowing the same person to file a protection order which can be initiated by another person other than the abused – this reference is true in child abuse and spousal cases. The protection order applies to woman giving her time to collect herself and regain control of her life (Section #8 of R.A. #9262).
Aside from the offended party and his parents/guardian, the following persons may file a protection order:
1) – Ascendants – descendants or collateral relatives within the ‘fourth civil degree’ of consanguinity or affinity
2) – Officers or social workers of the Department of Social Welfare and Development or social workers of local government units
3) – Police officers – preferably those in charge of women and children’s desks
4) – Punong Barangay or Barangay Kagawad
5) – Lawyer, counselor, therapist or healthcare provider of the petitioner
6) – At least two concerned citizens of the city or municipality where the violence against women and their children occurred and who has personal knowledge of the offense committed.
Sorry to say, but often the charges of #9262 are taken against a person who did not offend but are easily arrested under the laws of this and numerous other Republic Acts where you are basically ‘guilty’ until proven ‘innocent.’
Under this, and any law within the Philippines, know your rights regardless if you are a foreigner or not – the laws of the Philippines are based to protect Foreign Nationals as well as Filipinos and though the justice system in this country is a slow grinding wheel of deceit, laws and their unjust ways often prove foreigners innocent of the criminal charges brought against them.