SC: Anti-VAWC Law Protects Even Women in Illicit Relationships

The illicitness of a relationship a woman engages in does not diminish her dignity in any way. 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.

In a Decision penned by Associate Justice Marvic M.V.F. Leonen, the Court’s Second Division upheld a Permanent Protection Order (PPO) issued under Republic Act No. 9262, or the Anti-Violence Against Women  and Their Children Act, over contentions that sought to straitjacket the text and spirit of the law.

The petitioner was a man against whom the 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.

Before the Court, the petitioner primarily argues 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.

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 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.

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 Republic Act No. 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.

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.”

The Supreme Court Public Information Office will upload the decision to the SC website once it receives an official copy from the Office of the Clerk Court Second Division. (G.R. No. 187175, CabaƱez v. AAA) [Supreme Court of the Philippines. Posted July 07, 2022. Retrieved on July 07, 2022 at 4:40PM. SC: Anti-VAWC Law Protects Even Women in Illicit Relationships | Supreme Court of the Philippines (]