Infidelity equals ‘violence’—SC
In a 19-page decision written by Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta, the SC’s First Division denied the appeal of Jaime Araza seeking to reverse the December 17, 2018 decision of the Court of Appeals that affirmed the judgment rendered by the Las Pinas City Regional Trial Court, Branch 199 on October 30, 2017, finding him guilty of violating Republic Act 9262 or the Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children Act of 2014. The high court upheld the conviction of Araza for having an affair and fathering three children with his mistress in violation of Section 5(i) of the Anti-Violence Against Women and Children Act, and sentenced him to suffer a minimum of six months to a maximum of eight-year imprisonment. Section 5 of RA 9262 enumerated what are constituted acts of violence against women and children. Specifically, Section 5 (i) refers to acts "causing mental or emotional anguish, public ridicule or humiliation to the woman or her child, including, but not limited to, repeated verbal and emotional abuse, and denial of financial support or custody of minor children of access to the woman’s child/children." "The prosecution has established beyond reasonable doubt that Araza committed the crime of psychological violence, through his acts of marital infidelity, which caused mental or emotional suffering on the part of AAA [the wife]," the Supreme Court's first division said. The husband is also ordered to pay a P100,000 fine and P25,000 as moral damages. He is also required to undergo mandatory psychological counseling or psychiatric treatment to address his abusive behavior. Court records showed that the couple got married in 1989. In September 2007, the wife learned that her husband was having an extramarital affair and that he fathered three children with his mistress. This prompted her to file a complaint against her husband and the mistress. The complaint was settled with the husband agreeing never to see the mistress again.