Go-Tan Vs Tan

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Carpio-Morales, Tinga, Velasco, Jr. and Brion, JJ., concur. Petition dismissed. Notes.— Notes. —In the absence of any administrative action taken against him by the Supreme Court with regard to a judge’s certificates of service, an investigation conducted by the Ombudsman encroaches into the Court’s power of administrative supervision over all courts and its personnel, in violation of the doctrine of separation of powers. (Maceda vs. Vasquez, 221 SCRA S CRA 464 [1993]) The Supreme Court has consistently refrained from interfering with the exercise by the Ombudsman of  his constitutionally mandated investigatory and prosecutory powers, a rule based not only upon constitutional considerations but also upon practical ones. (Montebon vs. Tanglao-Dacanay, 455 SCRA 110 [2005]) ——o0o —— o0o—— ——  

G.R. No. 168852.

September 30, 2008.*

SHARICA MARI L. GO-TAN, petitioner, vs. SPOUSES PERFECTO C. TAN and JUANITA L. TAN, respondents.** Anti-Violence against Women and Their Children Act of 2004 (R.A. No. 9262); Conspiracy; Words and Phrases; “Violence against Women and Their Children,” Defined; While Section 3 of R.A. No. 9262 provides that the offender be related or connected to the victim by marriage, former marriage, or a sexual or dating relationship, it  _______________  __________ _____

* THIRD DIVISION. ** The present petition impleaded the Court of Appeals as respondent. Pursuant to Section 4, Rule 45 of  the Rules of Court, the name of the Court of Appeals is deleted from the title. 232

232 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED Go-Tan vs. Tan

 

does not preclude the application of the principle of conspiracy under the Revised Penal Code (RPC).— (RPC).— Section 3 of R.A. No. 9262 defines ‘‘*v+iolence against women and their children’’ as “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, harassment or arbitrary deprivation of liberty.” While the said provision provides that the offender be related or connected to the victim by marriage, former marriage, or a sexual or dating relationship, it does not preclude the application of the principle of  conspiracy under the RPC. Same; Same; If the principle of conspiracy under Article 8 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC) is applied to B.P. 22 in the absence of a contrary provision therein, with more reason could the same principle be applied suppletorily to R.A. No. 9262 because of the express provision of Section 47 that the Revised Penal Code (RPC) shall be supplementary to said law.— law.—Most recently, in Ladonga v. People, 451 SCRA 673 (2005), the Court applied suppletorily the principle of conspiracy under Article 8 of the RPC to B.P. Blg. 22 in the absence of a contrary provision therein. With more reason, therefore, the principle of  conspiracy under Article 8 of the RPC may be applied suppletorily to R.A. No. 9262 because of the express provision of Section 47 that t hat the RPC shall be supplementary to said law. Thus, general provisions of the RPC, which by their nature, are necessarily applicable, may be applied suppletorily. Thus, the principle of conspiracy may be applied to R.A. No. 9262. For once conspiracy or action in concert to achieve a criminal design is shown, the act of one is the act of all the conspirators, and the precise extent or modality of participation of each of them becomes secondary, since all the conspirators are principals. Same; Same; Section 5 of R.A. No. 9262 expressly recognizes that the acts of violence against women and their children may be committed by an offender through another.— another.—It must be further noted that Section 5 of R.A. No. 9262 expressly recognizes that the acts of violence against women and their children may be committed by an offender through another, thus: SEC. 5. Acts of Violence against 233

VOL. 567, SEPTEMBER 30, 2008 233 Go-Tan vs. Tan Women and Their Children.— Children.—The crime of violence against women and their children is committed through any of the following acts: x x x (h) Engaging in purposeful, knowing, or reckless conduct, personally or through another, that alarms or causes substantial emotional or psychological distress to the woman or her child. This shall include, but not be limited to, the following acts: x x x

 

Same; Same; Statutory Construction; The intent of the statute is the law.— law.—It bears mention that the intent of the statute is the law and that this intent must be effectuated by the courts. In the present case, 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— spirit —the protection and safety of victims of violence against women wome n and children. Same; Same; Same; Words and Phrases; The maxim “expressio unios est exclusio alterius” is only an ancillary rule of statutory construction which should be applied only as a means of discovering legislative intent which is not otherwise manifest and should not be permitted to defeat the plainly indicated purpose of the legislature.—Contrary legislature.—Contrary to the RTC’s pronouncement, the maxim “expressio unios est exclusio alterius” finds no application here. It must be remembered that this maxim is only an “ancillary rule of statutory construction.” It is not of universal application. Neither Neit her is it conclusive. It should be applied only as a means of discovering legislative intent which is not otherwise manifest and should not be permitted to defeat the plainly indicated purpose of the legislature. PETITION for review on certiorari of the resolutions of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, Br. 94. The facts are stated in the opinion of the Court. Alfred Joseph T. Jamora for petitioner. Jeanie S. Pulido for respondents. 234

234 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED Go-Tan vs. Tan AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, J.: Before the Court is a Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court assailing the Resolution1 dated March 7, 2005 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 94, Quezon City in Civil Case No. Q-05-54536 and the RTC Resolution2 Reso lution2 dated July 11, 2005 which denied petitioner’s Verified Motion for Reconsideration. The factual background of the case: On April 18, 1999, Sharica Mari L. Go-Tan (petitioner) and Steven L. Tan (Steven) were married.3 Out of  this union, two female children were born, Kyra Danielle4 and Kristen Denise.5 On January 12, 2005, barely six years into the marriage, petitioner filed a Petition with Prayer for the Issuance of a Temporary Protective Order (TPO)6 against Steven and her parents-in-law, Spouses Perfecto C. Tan and Juanita L. Tan (respondents) before the RTC. She alleged that Steven, in conspiracy with respondents, were

 

causing verbal, psychological and economic abuses upon her in violation of Section 5, paragraphs (e)(2)(3)(4), (h)(5), and (i)7 of Republic Act (R.A.)  _______________  __________ _____

1 Penned by Judge Romeo F. Zamora, Records, p. 209. 2 Id., at p. 501. 3 Records, p. 21. 4 Id., at p. 22. 5 Id., at p. 23. 6 Id., at p. 1. 7 SEC. 5.

Acts of Violence against Women and Their Children.— Children.—The crime of violence against women

and their children is committed through any of the following acts: xxxx (e)

Attempting to comp compel el or compellin compelling g the woman or her child to engage in conduct which the the

woman or her child has the right to desist from or to desist from conduct which the woman or her child has the right to engage in, or attempting to restrict or restricting the woman’s or her child’s freedom of  movement or conduct by force or threat of force, physical or other harm or threat of physical or other harm, or intimidation directed against the woman 235

VOL. 567, SEPTEMBER 30, 2008 235 Go-Tan vs. Tan No. 9262,8 otherwise known as the “Anti“Anti -Violence against Women and Their Children Act of 2004.” 20 04.”   On January 25, 2005, the RTC issued an Order/Notice9 granting petitioner’s prayer for a TPO.  TPO.  On February 7, 2005, respondents filed a Motion to Dismiss with Opposition to the Issuance of  Permanent Protection  _______________  __________ _____

 

  or her child. This shall include, but not limited to, the following acts committed with the purpose or effect of controlling or restricting the t he woman’s or child’s movement or conduct: conduct:  

xxxx (2)

Depriving or threatening to deprive the wo woman man or her children children of financial financial support legally legally due her

or her family, or deliberately providing the woman’s children insufficient financial support; (3)

Depriving or threatening to deprive deprive the woman or her child of a legal legal right;

(4)

Preventing the wo woman man in engaging in any legitimate profession, occupation, occupation, business or activity, or

controlling the victim’s own money money or properties, or solely controlling the conjugal or common money, or properties; xxxx (h) Engaging in purposeful, knowing, or reckless con conduct, duct, personally or through another, another, that alarms or causes substantial emotional or psychological distress to the woman or her child. This shall include, but not be limited to, the following acts: xxxx (5) (i)

Engaging in any form of harassment or violence; violence; Causing mental or emotional anguish, anguish, public ridicule or humiliation to the the woman or her child child,,

including, but not limited to, repeated verbal and emotional abuse, and denial of financial support or custody of minor children or denial of access to the woman’s child/children. child/children.   8 Entitled “AN ACT DEFINING VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND THEIR CHILDREN PROVIDING FOR PROTECTIVE MEASURES FOR VICTIMS, PRESCRIBING PENALTIES THEREFOR, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES.”   PURPOSES.” 9 Records, p. 26. 236

236 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED Go-Tan vs. Tan

 

Order Ad Cautelam and Comment on the Petition,10 contending that the RTC lacked jurisdiction over their persons since, as parents-in-law of the petitioner, they were not covered by R.A. No. 9262. On February 28, 2005, petitioner filed a Comment on Opposition11 to respondents’ Motion to Dismiss arguing that respondents were covered by R.A. No. 9262 under a liberal interpretation thereof aimed at promoting the protection and safety of victims of violence. On March 7, 2005, the RTC issued a Resolution12 dismissing the case as to respondents on the ground that, being the parents-in-law of the petitioner, they were not included/covered as respondents under R.A. No. 9262 under the well-known well-known rule of law “expressio unius est exclusio alterius.”13  alterius.”13  On March 16, 2005, petitioner filed her Verified Motion for Reconsideration14 contending that the doctrine of necessary implication should be applied in the broader interests of substantial justice and due process. On April 8, 2005, respondents filed their Comment on the Verified Motion for Reconsideration15 arguing that petitioner’s liberal construction unduly unduly broadened the provisions of R.A. No. 9262 since the relationship between the offender and the alleged victim was an essential condition for the application of R.A. No. 9262.  _______________  __________ _____

10 Records, p. 36. 11 Id., at p. 147. 12 Id., at p. 209. 13 Latin maxim meaning “The expression of one thing is the exclusion of another.” (San Miguel Corporation Employees Union-Phil. Transport and General Workers Org. v. San Miguel Packaging Products Employees Union-Pambansang Diwa ng Manggagawang Pilipino, G.R. No. 171153, September 12, 2007, 533 SCRA 125, 152). 14 Records, p. 316. 15 Id., at p. 376. 237

VOL. 567, SEPTEMBER 30, 2008 237 Go-Tan vs. Tan

 

On July 11, 2005, the RTC issued a Resolution16 denying petitioner’s Verified Motion for Reconsideration. The RTC reasoned that to include respondents under the coverage of R.A. No. 9262 would be a strained interpretation of the provisions of the law. Hence, the present petition on a pure question of law, to wit: WHETHER OR NOT RESPONDENTS-SPOUSES PERFECTO & JUANITA, PARENTS-IN-LAW OF SHARICA, MAY BE INCLUDED IN THE PETITION FOR THE ISSUANCE OF A PROTECTIVE ORDER, IN ACCORDANCE WITH REPUBLIC ACT NO. 9262, OTHERWISE KNOWN AS THE “ANTI-VIOLENCE “ANTI -VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND THEIR CHILDREN ACT OF 2004.”17  2004.”17  Petitioner contends that R.A. No. 9262 must be understood in the light of the provisions of Section 47 of  R.A. No. 9262 which explicitly provides for the suppletory application of the Revised Penal Code (RPC) and, accordingly, the provision on “conspiracy” under Article 8 of the RPC R PC can be suppletorily applied to R.A. No. 9262; that Steven and respondents had community of design and purpose in tormenting her by giving her insufficient financial support; harassing and pressuring her to be ejected from the family home; and in repeatedly abusing her verbally, emotionally, mentally and physically; that respondents should be included as indispensable or necessary parties for complete resolution re solution of the case. On the other hand, respondents submit that they are not covered by R.A. No. 9262 since Section 3 thereof explicitly provides that the offender should be related to the victim only by marriage, a former marriage, or a dating or sexual relationship; that allegations on the conspiracy of respondents require a factual determination which cannot be  _______________  __________ _____

16 Id., at p. 510. 17 Rollo, p. 8. 238

238 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED Go-Tan vs. Tan done by this Court in a petition for review; that respondents cannot be characterized as indispensable or necessary parties, since their presence in the case is not only unnecessary but altogether illegal, considering the non-inclusion of in-laws as offenders under Section 3 of R.A. No. 9262. 9262 . The Court rules in favor of the petitioner.

 

Section 3 of R.A. No. 9262 defines ‘‘*v+iolence against  against women and their children’’ as “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, coercion, harassment or arbitrary deprivation of liberty.”  liberty.”  While the said provision provides that the offender be related or connected to the victim by marriage, former marriage, or a sexual or dating relationship, it does not preclude the application of the principle of conspiracy under the RPC. Indeed, Section 47 of R.A. No. 9262 expressly provides for the suppletory application of the RPC, thus: “SEC. 47.

Suppletory Application.— Application.—For purposes of this Act, the Revised Penal Code and other

applicable laws, shall have have suppletory application.” (Emphasis supplied)  supplied)  Parenthetically, Article 10 of the RPC provides: “ART. 10.

Offenses n not ot subject to the provisions of this Code. Code.— —Offenses which are or in the future

may be punishable under special laws are not subject to the provisions of this Code. This Code shall be supplementary to such laws, unless the latter should specially provide the contrary.” (Emphasis supplied) Hence, legal principles developed from the Penal Code may be applied in a supplementary capacity to crimes punished 239

VOL. 567, SEPTEMBER 30, 2008 239 Go-Tan vs. Tan under special laws, such as R.A. No. 9262, in which the special law is silent on a particular matter. Thus, in People v. Moreno,18 the Court applied suppletorily the provision on subsidiary penalty under Article 39 of the RPC to cases of violations of Act No. 3992, otherwise known as the “Revised Motor Vehicle Law,” noting that the special law did not contain any provision that the defendant could be sentenced with subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency. In People v. Li Wai Cheung,19 the Court applied suppletorily the rules on the service of sentences provided in Article 70 of the RPC in favor of the accused who was found guilty of multiple violations of  R.A. No. 6425, otherwise known as the t he “Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972,” considering the lack of similar rules under the special law.

 

In People v. Chowdury,20 the Court applied suppletorily Articles 17, 18 and 19 of the RPC to define the words “principal,” “accomplices” and “accessories” under R.A. No. 8042, otherwise known as the “Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995,” because said words were not defined therein, although the special law referred to the same terms in enumerating the persons liable for the crime of  illegal recruitment. In Yu v. People,21 the Court applied suppletorily the provisions on subsidiary imprisonment under Article 39 of the RPC to Batas Pambansa (B.P.) Blg. 22, otherwise known as the “Bouncing Checks Law,” noting the absence of an express expre ss provision on subsidiary imprisonment in said special law. Most recently, in Ladonga v. People,22 the Court applied suppletorily the principle of conspiracy under Article 8 of the  _______________  __________ _____

18 60 Phil. 712 (1934). 19 G.R. Nos. 90440-42, October 13, 1992, 214 SCRA 504. 20 G.R. Nos. 129577-80, February 15, 2000, 325 SCRA 572. 21 G.R. No. 134172, September 20, 2004, 438 SCRA 431. 22 G.R. No. 141066, February 17, 2005, 451 SCRA 673. 240

240 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED Go-Tan vs. Tan RPC to B.P. Blg. 22 in the absence of a contrary provision therein. With more reason, therefore, the principle of conspiracy under Article 8 of the RPC may be applied suppletorily to R.A. No. 9262 because of the express provision of Section 47 that the RPC shall be supplementary to said law. Thus, general provisions of the RPC, which by their nature, are necessarily applicable, may be applied suppletorily. Thus, the principle of conspiracy may be applied to R.A. No. 9262. For once conspiracy or action in concert to achieve a criminal design is shown, the act of one is the act of all the conspirators, and the precise extent or modality of participation of each of them becomes secondary, since all the conspirators are principals.23

 

It must be further noted that Section 5 of R.A. No. 9262 expressly recognizes that the acts of violence against women and their children may be committed by an offender through another, thus: “SEC. 5.

Acts of Violence Against Against Women Women and Their Children.— Children.—The crime of violence against women

and their children is committed through any of the following acts: xxx (h)

Engaging in purposeful, knowing, or reckless con conduct, duct, personally or through another, another, that alarms or

causes substantial emotional or psychological distress to the woman or her child. This shall include, but not be limited to, the following acts: (1)

Stalking or following the woman or her child child in public or private places; places;

(2)

Peering in the window or lingering outside the residence of the woman or her child;

 _______________  __________ _____

23 Ladonga v. People, supra note 22; People v. Felipe, G.R. No. 142505, December 11, 2003, 418 SCRA 146, 176; People v. Julianda, Jr., G.R. No. 128886, November 23, 2001, 370 SCRA 448, 469; People v. Quinicio, G.R. No. 142430, September 13, 2001, 365 SCRA 252, 266. 241

VOL. 567, SEPTEMBER 30, 2008 241 Go-Tan vs. Tan (3)

Entering or remaini remaining ng in the dwelling or on the property of the woman or h her er child against her/his

will; (4)

Destroying the property and p personal ersonal belongings or inflicting harm to animals animals or pets of the

woman or her child; and (5)

Engaging in any form of harassment or violence; x x x.” (Emphasis supplied)  supplied) 

In addition, the protection order that may be issued for the purpose of preventing further acts of  violence against the woman or her child c hild may include individuals other than the offending husband, thus:

 

“SEC. 8.

Protection Orders.— Orders.—x x x The protection orders that may be issued under this Act shall

include any, some or all of the following fo llowing reliefs: (a)

Prohibition of the respondent from from threatening to commit or com committing, mitting, personally or through

another, any of the acts mentioned in Section 5 of this Act; (b)

Prohibition of the respondent from harassing, annoying, telephoning, telephoning, contacting or otherwise

communicating with the petitioner, directly or indirectly; x x x” (Emphasis supplied) Finally, Section 4 of R.A. No. 9262 calls for a liberal construction of the law, thus: “SEC. 4. Construction.— Construction.—This Act shall be liberally construed to promote the protection and safety of  victims of violence against women and their children.” (Emphasis (Emphasis supplied) It bears mention that the intent of the statute is the law24 and that this intent must be effectuated by the courts. In the present case, the express language of R.A. No. 9262 reflects  _______________  __________ _____

24 Commissioner of Internal Revenue v. Philippine Airlines, Inc., G.R. No. 160528, October 9, 2006, 504 SCRA 90, 101; Eugenio v. Drilon, 322 Phil. 112; 252 SCRA 106 (1996); Philippine National Bank v. Office of  the President, 322 Phil. 6, 14; 252 SCRA 5, 11 (1996); Ongsiako v. Gamboa, 86 Phil. 50, 57 (1950); Torres v. Limjap, 56 Phil. 141, 145-146 (1931). 242

242 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED Go-Tan vs. Tan 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 - the protection and safety of victims of violence against women and children. Thus, contrary to the RTC’s pronouncement, the maxim “expressio unios est exclusio alterius” finds no application here. It must be remembered that this this maxim is only an “ancillary rule of statutory construction.” It is not of universal application. Neither is it conclusive. It should be applied only as a means of discovering legislative intent which is not otherwise manifest and should not be permitted to defeat the plainly indicated purpose of the legislature.25

 

The Court notes that petitioner unnecessarily argues at great length on the attendance of circumstances evidencing the conspiracy or connivance of Steven and respondents to cause verbal, psychological and economic abuses upon her. However, conspiracy is an evidentiary matter which should be threshed out in a full-blown trial on the merits and cannot be determined in the present petition since this Court is not a trier of facts.26 It is thus premature for petitioner to argue evidentiary matters since this controversy is centered only on the determination of whether respondents may be included in a petition under R.A. No. 9262. The presence or absence of conspiracy can be best passed upon after a trial on the merits. Considering the Court’s ruling that the principle of conspiracy may be applied suppletorily to R.A. No. 9262, the Court will no longer delve on whether respondents may be  _______________  __________ _____

25 Coconut Oil Refiners Association, Inc. v. Torres, G.R. No. 132527, July 29, 2005, 465 SCRA 47, 78; Dimaporo v. Mitra, Jr., G.R. No. 96859, October 15, 1991, 202 SCRA 779, 792; Primero v. Court of  Appeals, G.R. Nos. 48468-69, November 22, 1989, 179 SCRA 542, 548-549. 26 Superlines Transportation Company, Inc. I nc. v. Philippine National Construction Company, G.R. No. 169596, March 28, 2007, 519 SCRA 432, 441; Insular Life Assurance Company, Ltd. v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 126850, April 28, 2004, 428 SCRA 79, 85. 243

VOL. 567, SEPTEMBER 30, 2008 243 Go-Tan vs. Tan considered indispensable or necessary parties. To do so would be an exercise e xercise in superfluity. WHEREFORE, the instant petition is GRANTED. The assailed Resolutions dated March 7, 2005 and July 11, 2005 of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 94, Quezon City in Civil Case No. Q-05-54536 are hereby PARTLY REVERSED and SET ASIDE insofar as the dismissal of the petition against respondents is concerned. SO ORDERED. Ynares-Santiago (Chairperson), Chico-Nazario, Nachura and Reyes, JJ., concur. Petition granted, assailed resolutions partly reversed and set aside.

 

Notes.—A Notes. —A battered woman has been defined as a woman “who is repeatedly subjected to any forceful physical or psychological behavior by a man in order to coerce her to do something he wants her to do without concern for her rights. Battered women include wives or women in any form of intimate relationship with men. Furthermore, in order to be classified as a battered woman, the couple must go through the battering cycle at least twice. Any woman may find herself in an abusive relationship with a man once. If it occurs a second time, and she remains in the situation, she is defined as a battered woman.” (People vs. Genosa, 419 SCRA 537 *2004+)  *2004+)  There is no conspiracy in just being married to an erring spouse— spouse —for a spouse or any person to be a party to a conspiracy as to be liable for the acts of the others, it is essential that there be intentional participation in the transaction with a view to the furtherance of the common design. (Teves vs. Sandiganbayan, 447 SCRA 309 [2004]) [Go-Tan vs. Tan, 567 SCRA 231(2008)]

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