Atty. Barney, I am an OFW in Dubai but currently here in the Philippines for my annual leave. Last week, I broke up with my boyfriend for two years. Two days after the breakup, he sent me photos with my face attached to a naked body of a woman making it appear that I am the woman in the photo. He threatened me that he will distribute the photos to our family and friends if I will not take back my decision of breaking up with him. His acts have caused me sleepless nights, emotional and psychological distress. I have discussed this with my parents and we are planning to initiate a case against him. Is my case covered by the anti-violence against women and children, even though he was just my boyfriend? – Darlynne
Yes, you are protected by R.A. 9262 or the Anti-violence against women and children act. Violence against women and children is defined as any act or a series of acts committed by any person against a woman with whom the person has or had a dating relationship, 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. Your relationship as boyfriend-girlfriend is considered to be a dating relationship, wherein the parties are romantically involved over time and on a continuing basis during the course of the relationship. In your case, your ex-boyfriend’s action is considered to be a form of harassment which according to the law is one way of committing the crime of violence because it causes substantial emotional or psychological distress to the woman.
The act of your ex-boyfriend is punishable by imprisonment from six years to twelve years. In addition to imprisonment, he shall pay a fine in the amount of not less than One Hundred Thousand Pesos (Php 100,000) but not more than Three Hundred Thousand Pesos (Php 300,000), undergo mandatory psychological counseling or psychiatric treatment and shall report compliance to the court.