Oct 13, 2021 @ 8:45
SC affirms psychological abuse conviction of man who evicted wife, brought mistress home
The Supreme Court (SC) has affirmed a Zambales man’s conviction of committing psychological violence against his wife who, after being kicked out of their house, was told by their children that he brought home his mistress.
In a 14-page decision on G.R. No. 241390, the SC 3rd Division denied the man’s petition assailing the March 19, 2018 decision of the Court of Appeals (CA) to uphold his October 27, 2016 conviction by the Iba Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 71 for violation of Section 3(c) of the Anti-Violence Against Women and Children Act of 2004.
The man, whose name was not disclosed following guidelines on sensitive family cases, was sentenced by the RTC to suffer imprisonment of a minimum of 4 years, 2 months and 1 day to a maximum of 8 years and 1 day.
The SC modified the penalty by prolonging the minimum term to 6 months and 1 day and imposing a fine of ₱100,000. It also directed the man to undergo mandatory psychological counseling or psychiatric treatment.
Records showed that his wife claimed that he was a habitual drunkard and womanizer. She accused her of evicting her and their five children after they had a fight in 2010.
The children, except for the youngest one, returned home to compel their father to support them. However, he kept being drunk and eventually brought home a woman that he introduced to them as their aunt. The woman went on to live in the house.
The SC held that the man “committed psychological violence through marital infidelity and public ridicule or humiliation, which caused mental anguish and emotional suffering upon his wife.”
The man argued that his wife could not have suffered psychological violence because she did not have personal knowledge of his infidelity, having learned of it only from their daughter’s text messages.
However, the SC said the daughter’s text messages fell under the exception to the rule against hearsay, because it was considered an “independently relevant statement.” The daughter also confirmed having sent the text messages when she testified in court.
The SC also rejected the man’s claim that his wife’s mental or psychological pain was “merely imaginary.”
“Just because the wife was not bodily present to witness the unfaithfulness of her husband, it does not negate the emotional pain and anguish his infidelity caused her,” read the decision penned by Associate Justice Edgardo delos Santos.
“All the more when the hot issue is about a husband bringing his mistress into the family home to live with his children. In this case, the mental anguish suffered by the wife is compounded by public ridicule and humiliation,” it added.