Reyes v. People


Reyes v. People

G.R. No. 232678

July 3, 2019


                The RTC and CA convicted Esteban Donato Reyes for the crime of violating Sec 5 (i) of RA 9262. Evidence for the prosecution tends to show that AAA and Reyes were married on May 15, 1969. Four children were born out of this union, or whom only three are living, and who are all now of legal ages. Reyes was seldom at home since he used to render military service as a Philippine Air Force pilot, and later he worked as a commercial pilot for the Philippine Airlines. At the time the complaint for violation of the VAWC was filed against him, Reyes was employed as a pilot based in Angola, Africa tasked to deliver relief goods by air. Sometime in 2005, AAA learned that Reyes got married to a certain Marilou Osias Ramboanga who had borne him four children and with whom he is living with up to the present. AAA claimed that Reyes used to give her and their children monthly financial support, ranging from Ten Thousand Pesos (₱10,000.00) to Twenty Thousand Pesos (₱20,000.00), but he suddenly ceased giving the same in July 2005. On top of this unpleasant situation, AAA got sick of various illness such as hypertension, cardio-vascular disease, diabetes and osteoarthritis. Due to her advancing age, AAA's health condition further deteriorated requiring her to take maintenance medicines and to undergo regular consultation, monitoring and treatment to prevent organ damage, stroke, renal failure and heart attack. According to AAA, what impelled her to file the complaint for violation of R.A. No. 9262 against Reyes was due to the latter's failure to provide her with monthly financial support.


                Whether or not the CA erred in affirming the RTC


                No. Psychological violence is certainly an indispensable element of violation of Section 5(i) of R.A. No. 9262. Equally essential is the element of the mental or emotional anguish which is personal to the complainant. Psychological violence is the means employed by the perpetrator, while mental or emotional suffering is the effect caused to or the damage sustained by the offended party.21 To establish psychological violence, it is necessary to adduce proof of the commission of any of the acts enumerated in Section 5(i) or similar of such acts. We concur with the similar findings of the courts a quo that the prosecution had duly proved, through the clear and convincing testimonies of AAA and her daughter, that Reyes committed psychological violence against AAA when he deprived her of financial support beginning July 2005 and onwards which caused her to experience mental and emotional suffering to the point that even her health condition was adversely affected. Reyes argues that he cannot be held liable for violation of R.A No. 9262 because he has no obligation to financially support AAA since he never contracted marriage with her. Petitioner is mistaken. There is nothing in the definition nor in the enumeration of the acts constituting psychological violence and economic abuse that is vague and ambiguous that will confuse Reyes as what conducts are penalized under the VAWC. They are worded with sufficient definiteness and clarity that persons of ordinary intelligence can understand what act is prohibited, and need not guess as to its meaning nor differ in its application. The express language of R.A. No. 9262 reflects the intent of the legislature for liberal construction as will best ensure the attainment of the object of the law according to its true intent, meaning and spirit - to promote the protection and safety of victims of violence against women and children. Lastly, the Court finds that Reyes should be compelled to comply with the directive under the TPO pertaining to the resumption of providing monthly financial support to AAA. It bears stressing that not an iota of evidence was adduced by him to show that he is no longer employed and/or he failed to obtain another gainful employment and/or that he has no resources or means to provide the same.


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