Republic of the Philippines
Congress of the Philippines
Third Regular Session
Begun and held in Metro Manila, on Monday, the twenty-eighth day of July, two thousand and three.
[ REPUBLIC ACT NO. 9262 ]
AN ACT DEFINING VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND THEIR CHILDREN, PROVIDING FOR PROTECTIVE MEASURES FOR VICTIMS, PRESCRIBING PENALTIES THEREFORE, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the Philippines in Congress assembled:
SEC. 1. Short Title.- This Act shall be known as the "Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children Act of 2004".
SEC. 2. Declaration of Policy.- It is hereby declared that the State values the dignity of women and children and guarantees full respect for human rights. The State also recognizes the need to protect the family and its members particularly women and children, from violence and threats to their personal safety and security.
Towards this end, the State shall exert efforts to address violence committed against women and children in keeping with the fundamental freedoms guaranteed under the Constitution and the Provisions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the convention on the Elimination of all forms of discrimination Against Women, Convention on the Rights of the Child and other international human rights instruments of which the Philippines is a party.
SEC. 3. Definition of Terms.- As used in this Act, (a) "Violence against women and their children" refers to any act or a series of acts committed by any person against a woman who is his wife, former wife, or against a woman with whom the person has or had a sexual or dating relationship, or with whom he has a common child, or against her child whether legitimate or illegitimate, within or without the family abode, which result in or is likely to result in physical, sexual, psychological harm or suffering, or economic abuse including threats of such acts, battery, assault, coercion, harrasment or arbitrary deprivation of liberty. It includes, but is not limited to, the following acts:
SEC. 4. Construction.- This Act shall be liberally construed to promote the protection and safety of victims of violence against women and their children.
SEC. 5. Acts of Violence Against Women and Their Children.- The crime of violence against women and their children is committed through any of the following acts:
SEC. 6. Penalties.- The crime of violence against women and their children, under Section 5 hereof shall be punished according to the following rules:
If these acts resulted in mutilation, it shall be punishable in accordance with the Revised Penal Code; those constituting serious physical injuries shall have the penalty of prison mayor; those constituting less serious physical injuries shall be punished by prision correccional; and those constituting slight physical injuries shall be punished by arresto mayor.
Acts falling under Section 5(b) shall be punished by imprisonment of two degrees lower than the prescribed penalty for the consummated crime as specified in the preceding paragraph but shall in no case be lower than arresto mayor.
SEC. 7. Venue.- The Regional Trial Court designated as a Family Court shall have original and exclusive jurisdiction over cases of violence against women and their children under this law. In the absence of such court in the place where the offense was committed, the case shall be filed in the Regional Trial Court where the crime or any of its elements was committed at the option of the compliant.
SEC. 8. Protection Orders.- A protection order is an order issued under this act for the purpose of preventing further acts of violence against a woman or her child specified in Section 5 of this Act and granting other necessary relief. The relief granted under a protection order serve the purpose of safeguarding the victim from further harm, minimizing any disruption in the victim’s daily life, and facilitating the opportunity and ability of the victim to independently regain control over her life. The provisions of the protection order shall be enforced by law enforcement agencies. The protection orders that may be issued under this Act are the barangay protection order (BPO), temporary protection order (TPO) and permanent protection order (PPO). The protection orders that may be issued under this Act shall include any, some or all of the following reliefs:
Directing the respondent to provide support to the woman and/or her child if entitled to legal support. Notwithstanding other laws to the contrary, the court shall order an appropriate percentage of the income or salary of the respondent to be withheld regularly by the respondent’s employer for the same to be automatically remitted directly to the woman. Failure to remit and/or withhold or any delay in the remittance of support to the woman and/or her child without justifiable cause shall render the respondent or his employer liable for indirect contempt of court;
Any of the reliefs provided under this section shall be granted even in the absence of a decree of legal separation or annulment or declaration of absolute nullity of marriage.
The issuance of a BPO or the pendency of an application for BPO shall not preclude a petitioner from applying for, or the court from granting a TPO or PPO.
SEC. 9. Who may file Petition for Protection Orders. – A petition for protection order may be filed by any of the following:
SEC. 10. Where to Apply for a Protection Order. – Applications for BPOs shall follow the rules on venue under Section 409 of the Local Government Code of 1991 and its implementing rules and regulations. An application for a TPO or PPO may be filed in the regional trial court, metropolitan trial court, municipal trial court, municipal circuit trial court with territorial jurisdiction over the place of residence of the petitioner: Provided, however, That if a family court exists in the place of residence of the petitioner, the application shall be filed with that court.
SEC. 11. How to Apply for a Protection Order. – The application for a protection order must be in writing, signed and verified under oath by the applicant. It may be filed as an independent action or as incidental relief in any civil or criminal case the subject matter or issues thereof partakes of a violence as described in this Act. A standard protection order application form, written in English with translation to the major local languages, shall be made available to facilitate applications for protections order, and shall contain, among other, the following information:
If the applicants is not the victim, the application must be accompanied by an affidavit of the applicant attesting to (a) the circumstances of the abuse suffered by the victim and (b) the circumstances of consent given by the victim for the filling of the application. When disclosure of the address of the victim will pose danger to her life, it shall be so stated in the application. In such a case, the applicant shall attest that the victim is residing in the municipality or city over which court has territorial jurisdiction, and shall provide a mailing address for purpose of service processing.
An application for protection order filed with a court shall be considered an application for both a TPO and PPO.
Barangay officials and court personnel shall assist applicants in the preparation of the application. Law enforcement agents shall also extend assistance in the application for protection orders in cases brought to their attention.
SEC. 12. Enforceability of Protection Orders. – All TPOs and PPOs issued under this Act shall be enforceable anywhere in the Philippines and a violation thereof shall be punishable with a fine ranging from Five Thousand Pesos (P5,000.00) to Fifty Thousand Pesos (P50,000.00) and/or imprisonment of six (6) months.
SEC. 13. Legal Representation of Petitioners for Protection Order. – If the woman or her child requests in the applications for a protection order for the appointment of counsel because of lack of economic means to hire a counsel de parte, the court shall immediately direct the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) to represent the petitioner in the hearing on the application. If the PAO determines that the applicant can afford to hire the services of a counsel de parte, it shall facilitate the legal representation of the petitioner by a counsel de parte. The lack of access to family or conjugal resources by the applicant, such as when the same are controlled by the perpetrator, shall qualify the petitioner to legal representation by the PAO.
However, a private counsel offering free legal service is not barred from representing the petitioner.
SEC. 14. Barangay Protection Orders (BPOs); Who May Issue and How. - Barangay Protection Orders (BPOs) refer to the protection order issued by the Punong Barangay ordering the perpetrator to desist from committing acts under Section 5 (a) and (b) of this Act. A Punong Barangay who receives applications for a BPO shall issue the protection order to the applicant on the date of filing after ex parte determination of the basis of the application. If the Punong Barangay is unavailable to act on the application for a BPO, the application shall be acted upon by any available Barangay Kagawad. If the BPO is issued by a Barangay Kagawad the order must be accompanied by an attestation by the Barangay Kagawad that the Punong Barangay was unavailable at the time for the issuance of the BPO. BPOs shall be effective for fifteen (15) days. Immediately after the issuance of an ex parte BPO, the Punong Barangay or Barangay Kagawad shall personally serve a copy of the same on the respondent, or direct any barangay official to effect is personal service.
The parties may be accompanied by a non-lawyer advocate in any proceeding before the Punong Barangay.
SEC. 15. Temporary Protection Orders. – Temporary Protection Orders (TPOs) refers to the protection order issued by the court on the date of filing of the application after ex parte determination that such order should be issued. A court may grant in a TPO any, some or all of the reliefs mentioned in this Act and shall be effective for thirty (30) days. The court shall schedule a hearing on the issuance of a PPO prior to or on the date of the expiration of the TPO. The court shall order the immediate personal service of the TPO on the respondent by the court sheriff who may obtain the assistance of law enforcement agents for the service. The TPO shall include notice of the date of the hearing on the merits of the issuance of a PPO.
SEC. 16. Permanent Protection Orders. – Permanent Protection Order (PPO) refers to protection order issued by the court after notice and hearing.
Respondents non-appearance despite proper notice, or his lack of a lawyer, or the non-availability of his lawyer shall not be a ground for rescheduling or postponing the hearing on the merits of the issuance of a PPO. If the respondents appears without counsel on the date of the hearing on the PPO, the court shall appoint a lawyer for the respondent and immediately proceed with the hearing. In case the respondent fails to appear despite proper notice, the court shall allow ex parte presentation of the evidence by the applicant and render judgment on the basis of the evidence presented. The court shall allow the introduction of any history of abusive conduct of a respondent even if the same was not directed against the applicant or the person for whom the applicant is made.
The court shall, to the extent possible, conduct the hearing on the merits of the issuance of a PPO in one (1) day. Where the court is unable to conduct the hearing within one (1) day and the TPO issued is due to expire, the court shall continuously extend or renew the TPO for a period of thirty (30) days at each particular time until final judgment is issued. The extended or renewed TPO may be modified by the court as may be necessary or applicable to address the needs of the applicant.
The court may grant any, some or all of the reliefs specified in Section 8 hereof in a PPO. A PPO shall be effective until revoked by a court upon application of the person in whose favor the order was issued. The court shall ensure immediate personal service of the PPO on respondent.
The court shall not deny the issuance of protection order on the basis of the lapse of time between the act of violence and the filing of the application.
Regardless of the conviction or acquittal of the respondent, the Court must determine whether or not the PPO shall become final. Even in a dismissal, a PPO shall be granted as long as there is no clear showing that the act from which the order might arise did not exist.
Sec. 17. Notice of Sanction in Protection Orders. – The following statement must be printed in bold-faced type or in capital letters on the protection order issued by the Punong Barangay or court:
"Violation of this order is punishable by law."
Sec. 18. Mandatory Period For Acting on Applications For Protection Orders – Failure to act on an application for a protection order within the reglementary period specified in the previous section without justifiable cause shall render the official or judge administratively liable.
Sec 19. Legal Separation Cases. – In cases of legal separation, where violence as specified in this Act is alleged, Article 58 of the Family Code shall not apply. The court shall proceed on the main case and other incidents of the case as soon as possible. The hearing on any application for a protection order filed by the petitioner must be conducted within the mandatory period specified in this Act.
Sec. 20. Priority of Application for a Protection Order. – Ex parte and adversarial hearings to determine the basis of applications for a protection order under this Act shall have priority over all other proceedings. Barangay officials and the courts shall schedule and conduct hearings on applications for a protection order under this Act above all other business and, if necessary, suspend other proceedings in order to hear applications for a protection order.
Sec. 21. Violation of Protection Orders. – A complaint for a violation of a BPO issued under this Act must be filed directly with any municipal trial court, metropolitan trial court, or municipal circuit trial court that has territorial jurisdiction over the barangay that issued the BPO. Violation of a BPO shall be punishable by imprisonment of thirty (30) days without prejudice to any other criminal or civil action that the offended party may file for any of the acts committed.
A judgement of violation of a BPO ma be appealed according to the Rules of Court. During trial and upon judgment, the trial court may motu proprio issue a protection order as it deems necessary without need of an application.
Violation of any provision of a TPO or PPO issued under this Act shall constitute contempt of court punishable under Rule 71 of the Rules of Court, without prejudice to any other criminal or civil action that the offended party may file for any of the acts committed.
Sec. 22. Applicability of Protection Orders to Criminal Cases. – The foregoing provisions on protection orders shall be applicable in impliedly instituted with the criminal actions involving violence against women and their children.
Sec. 23. Bond to Keep the Peace. – The Court may order any person against whom a protection order is issued to give a bond to keep the peace, to present two sufficient sureties who shall undertake that such person will not commit the violence sought to be prevented.
Should the respondent fail to give the bond as required, he shall be detained for a period which shall in no case exceed six (6) months, if he shall have been prosecuted for acts punishable under Section 5(a) to 5(f) and not exceeding thirty (30) days, if for acts punishable under Section 5(g) to 5(I).
The protection orders referred to in this section are the TPOs and the PPOs issued only by the courts.
Sect. 24. Prescription Period. – Acts falling under Sections 5(a) to 5(f) shall prescribe in twenty (20) years. Acts falling under Sections 5(g) to 5(I) shall prescribe in ten (10) years.
Sec. 25. Public Crime. – 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.
Sec. 26. Battered Woman Syndrome as a Defense. – Victim-survivors who are found by the courts to be suffering from battered woman syndrome do not incure any criminal and civil liability notwithstanding the absence of any of the elements for justifying circumstances of self-defense under the Revised Penal Code.
In the determination of the state of mind of the woman who was suffering from battered woman syndrome at the time of the commission of the crime, the courts shall be assisted by expert psychiatrists/ psychologists.
Sec. 27. Prohibited Defense. – Being under the influence of alcohol, any illicit drug, or any other mind-altering substance shall not be a defense under this Act.
Sec. 28. Custody of children. – The woman victim of violence shall be entitled to the custody and support of her child/children. Children below seven (7) years old older but with mental or physical disabilities shall automatically be given to the mother, with right to support, unless the court finds compelling reasons to order otherwise.
A victim who is suffering from battered woman syndrome shall not be disqualified from having custody of her children. In no case shall custody of minor children be given to the perpetrator of a woman who is suffering from Battered woman syndrome.
Sec. 29. Duties of Prosecutors/Court Personnel. – Prosecutors and court personnel should observe the following duties when dealing with victims under this Act:
Sec. 30. Duties of Barangay Officials and Law Enforcers. – Barangay officials and law enforcers shall have the following duties:
Any barangay official or law enforcer who fails to report the incident shall be liable for a fine not exceeding Ten Thousand Pesos (P10,000.00) or whenever applicable criminal, civil or administrative liability.
Sec. 31. Healthcare Provider Response to Abuse – Any healthcare provider, including, but not limited to, an attending physician, nurse, clinician, barangay health worker, therapist or counselor who suspects abuse or has been informed by the victim of violence shall:
Sec. 32. Duties of Other Government Agencies and LGUs – Other government agencies and LGUs shall establish programs such as, but not limited to, education and information campaign and seminars or symposia on the nature, causes, incidence and consequences of such violence particularly towards educating the public on its social impacts.
It shall be the duty of the concerned government agencies and LGU’s to ensure the sustained education and training of their officers and personnel on the prevention of violence against women and their children under the Act.
SEC. 33. Prohibited Acts. – A Punong Barangay, Barangay Kagawad or the court hearing an application for a protection order shall not order, direct, force or in any way unduly influence he applicant for a protection order to compromise or abandon any of the reliefs sought in the application for protection under this Act. Section 7 of the Family Courts Act of 1997 and Sections 410, 411, 412 and 413 of the Local Government Code of 1991 shall not apply in proceedings where relief is sought under this Act.
Failure to comply with this Section shall render the official or judge administratively liable.
SEC 34. Persons Intervening Exempt from Liability. – In every case of violence against women and their children as herein defined, any person, private individual or police authority or barangay official who, acting in accordance with law, responds or intervenes without using violence or restraint greater than necessary to ensure the safety of the victim, shall not be liable for any criminal, civil or administrative liability resulting therefrom.
SEC. 35. Rights of Victims. – In addition to their rights under existing laws, victims of violence against women and their children shall have the following rights:
SEC. 36. Damages. – Any victim of violence under this Act shall be entitled to actual, compensatory, moral and exemplary damages.
SEC. 37. Hold Departure Order. – The court shall expedite the process of issuance of a hold departure order in cases prosecuted under this Act.
SEC. 38. Exemption from Payment of Docket Fee and Other Expenses. – If the victim is an indigent or there is an immediate necessity due to imminent danger or threat of danger to act on an application for a protection order, the court shall accept the application without payment of the filing fee and other fees and of transcript of stenographic notes.
SEC. 39. Inter-Agency Council on Violence Against Women and Their Children (IAC-VAWC). In pursuance of the abovementioned policy, there is hereby established an Inter-Agency Council on Violence Against Women and their children, hereinafter known as the Council, which shall be composed of the following agencies:
These agencies are tasked to formulate programs and projects to eliminate VAW based on their mandates as well as develop capability programs for their employees to become more sensitive to the needs of their clients. The Council will also serve as the monitoring body as regards to VAW initiatives.
The Council members may designate their duly authorized representative who shall have a rank not lower than an assistant secretary or its equivalent. These representatives shall attend Council meetings in their behalf, and shall receive emoluments as may be determined by the Council in accordance with existing budget and accounting rules and regulations.
SEC. 40. Mandatory Programs and Services for Victims. – The DSWD, and LGU’s shall provide the victims temporary shelters, provide counseling, psycho-social services and /or, recovery, rehabilitation programs and livelihood assistance.
The DOH shall provide medical assistance to victims.
SEC. 41. Counseling and Treatment of Offenders. – The DSWD shall provide rehabilitative counseling and treatment to perpetrators towards learning constructive ways of coping with anger and emotional outbursts and reforming their ways. When necessary, the offender shall be ordered by the Court to submit to psychiatric treatment or confinement.
SEC. 42. Training of Persons Involved in Responding to Violence Against Women and their Children Cases. – All agencies involved in responding to violence against women and their children cases shall be required to undergo education and training to acquaint them with:
The PNP, in coordination with LGU’s shall establish an education and training program for police officers and barangay officials to enable them to properly handle cases of violence against women and their children.
SEC. 43. Entitled to Leave. – Victims under this Act shall be entitled to take a paid leave of absence up to ten (10) days in addition to other paid leaves under the Labor Code and Civil Service Rules and Regulations, extendible when the necessity arises as specified in the protection order.
Any employer who shall prejudice the right of the person under this section shall be penalized in accordance with the provisions of the Labor Code and Civil Service Rules and Regulations. Likewise, an employer who shall prejudice any person for assisting a co-employee who is a victim under this Act shall likewise be liable for discrimination.
SEC. 44. Confidentiality. – All records pertaining to cases of violence against women and their children including those in the barangay shall be confidential and all public officers and employees and public or private clinics to hospitals shall respect the right to privacy of the victim. Whoever publishes or causes to be published, in any format, the name, address, telephone number, school, business address, employer, or other identifying information of a victim or an immediate family member, without the latter’s consent, shall be liable to the contempt power of the court.
Any person who violates this provision shall suffer the penalty of one (1) year imprisonment and a fine of not more than Five Hundred Thousand pesos (P500,000.00).
SEC. 45. –Funding – The amount necessary to implement the provisions of this Act shall be included in the annual General Appropriations Act (GAA).
The Gender and Development (GAD) Budget of the mandated agencies and LGU’s shall be used to implement services for victim of violence against women and their children.
SEC. 46. Implementing Rules and Regulations. – Within six (6) months from the approval of this Act, the DOJ, the NCRFW, the DSWD, the DILG, the DOH, and the PNP, and three (3) representatives from NGOs to be identified by the NCRFW, shall promulgate the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of this Act.
SEC. 47. Suppletory Application – For purposes of this Act, the Revised Penal Code and other applicable laws, shall have suppletory application.
SEC. 48. Separability Clause. – If any section or provision of this Act is held unconstitutional or invalid, the other sections or provisions shall not be affected.
SEC. 49. Repealing Clause – All laws, Presidential decrees, executive orders and rules and regulations, or parts thereof, inconsistent with the provisions of this Act are hereby repealed or modified accordingly.
SEC. 50. Effectivity – This Act shall take effect fifteen (15) days from the date of its complete publication in at least two (2) newspapers of general circulation.
(Sgd.)JOSE DE VENECIA, JR. (Sgd.)FRANKLIN DRILON
Speaker of the House Of the Representatives President of the Senate
This Act, which is a consolidation of Senate Bill No. 2723 and House Bill Nos. 5516 and 6054, was finally passed by the Senate and the House of Representatives on January 29, 2004 and February 2, 2004, respectively.
(Sgd.)ROBERTO P. NAZARENO (Sgd.)OSCAR YABES
Secretary General of the House of Representatives Secretary of the Senate
Approved: MARCH 08, 2004