Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Does RA 9262 apply to the EB Babes?

Two nights ago, GMA 7 (24 Oras) and ABS-CBN (TV Patrol) both reported an incident in a San Juan donut shop involving members of the EB Babes, a noontime show dance group, on one side and a man and his family on the other side. Allegedly, one EB Babe got hurt when the man threw a cup of hot water at her. The EB Babes (without any make-up and in plain T-shirts) looked like they were just minors but what really got my attention was the Channel 2 reporter's comments that the police investigators were filing against the man charges for “violence against women.”

Excuse me, come again? Violence against women? RA 9262?

RA 9262 “Anti-Violence Against Women and their Children Act of 2004” is our country’s landmark law on domestic violence. Take note of the term “domestic violence.” Violations of RA 9262 can only be committed against a woman and/or her children by a husband, former husband, live-in partner, former live-in partner, boyfriend, former boyfriend, dating or sexual partner, or a former dating or sexual partner. Thus, RA 9262 cannot be filed against the man who allegedly threw that cup of hot water against the EB Babe concerned.

It is sad (unforgivable may be the better term) that four years after RA 9262 became effective, police officers, barangay officials, social workers, and news reporters still do not know what the law is all about. I have been told of numerous instances when social workers or barangay officials have mediated conflicts between parties covered by RA 9262 (for example, settling disputes on custody of children, financial support). RA 9262 expressly prohibits government officials and employees from mediating such cases. Please read my post entitled “Mediation not allowed in domestic violence cases (with apologies to Pia Guanio)” which discusses why the law does not allow the mediation of this kind of cases.

Please review my other posts on RA 9262:

Hope and help for the battered woman (1): Statistics on domestic violence
Hope and help for the battered woman (2): RA 9262 essential provisions
Hope and help for the battered woman (3): RA 9262 Protection Orders
Hope and help for the battered woman (4): Emotional abuse / psychological violence
Hope and help for the battered woman (5): Biblical response to abuse; evangelical Christians are best husbands – University of Virginia study
Hold Departure Orders for OFWs under RA 9262
The "Battered Woman Syndrome" as defense
The "Battered Woman Syndrome" explained

If RA 9262 cannot be filed against that man who allegedly hurt one of the EB Babes, what case can be filed? If it is true that the EB Babes are below 18 (they look like they’re only 15 or 16), then Republic Act No. 7610 "Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act" will apply. Please take note that under RA 7610 the "child abuse" does not need to be habitual. If the EB Babes involved in the incident are beyond 18, then the Revised Penal Code provision on physical injuries will apply, not RA 7610.