Criminal Law

BBB vs AAA (February 2015)

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G.R. No. 193225 – 753 Phil. 382 – Criminal Law – Special Penal Laws – R.A. 9262 – Violations not subject to compromise agreement – Permanent Protection Order; Only the court may revoke the same

In 2007, a Permanent Protection Order (PPO) was issued against BBB upon a petition filed by his wife, AAA. The PPO basically ordered BBB to stay away from AAA in order to avoid any acts of violence being committed by BBB against AAA and their children. BBB appealed the order but the Court of Appeals denied his appeal. BBB elevated the appeal to the Supreme Court. Pending appeal however, AAA and BBB entered into a Memorandum of Agreement whereby they settled the issues on custody, exercise of parental authority over, and support of their minor children. BBB then filed a manifestation before the Supreme Court for the latter to render judgment based on the compromise agreement.

AAA’s counsel questioned the validity of the MOA as it turned out that AAA signed the same without her counsel’s guidance and advice and at the time of the signing, AAA was emotionally distressed.

ISSUE: Whether or not VAWC cases are subject to compromise agreement.

HELD: No. The rules on VAWC cases (A.M. No. 04-10-11-SC) intend that cases filed under the provisions of R.A. No. 9262 be not subjects of compromise agreements. As stated in the earlier case of Garcia vs. Judge Drilon: Violence, however, is not a subject for compromise. A process which involves parties mediating the issue of violence implies that the victim is somehow at fault.

SIDE ISSUE: But in this case, what were subjected to compromise were custody, exercise of parental authority over, and support of their minor children which are proper subjects of compromise. In fact, even AM No. 10-4-16-SC directs the referral to mediation of all issues under the Family Code and other laws in relation to support, custody, visitation, property relations and guardianship of minor children.

It is true that AAA filed her application for a protection order as an independent action and not as an incidental relief prayed for in a criminal suit, however, her petition cannot be taken outside the ambit of cases falling under the provisions of R.A. No. 9262. Perforce, the prohibition against subjecting the instant petition to compromise applies.

In short, any compromise agreement, regardless of the nature thereof, may not be the basis of resolving any case filed under R.A. 9262.

A PPO may only be revoked by the court. A PPO stands until the applicant, categorically and without any equivocation, files an application for its revocation.

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NOTE: The real names of the parties in this case were redacted as AAA and BBB, respectively, in accordance with Section 44 of Republic Act No. 9262.

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