SC: Previous ruling on violence vs women applies to lesbian ties

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THE Supreme Court (SC) has stressed that its previous ruling that Republic Act 9262, or the Anti-Violence against Women and their Children (VAWC) Act, applies to lesbian relationships is not a mere obiter dictum or opinion.

Thus, the Court’s Third Division junked the petition filed by Sandra Jane Gagui Jacinto assailing the orders issued by the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Antipolo City Branch 73, which denied her motion to quash the information for violation of Section 5 (a) of the Anti-VAWC Act filed by her live-partner, Maria Eloisa Sarmiento Fouts.

Fouts accused Jacinto, her live-in partner of 16 years, of causing her physical injuries by crushing her hands with the door of the car during an altercation, which required medical attention for at least 30 days.

Jacinto then moved to quash the information on the ground that the charges do not constitute an offense because the Anti-VAWC Act does not apply to lesbian relationships.

However, this was denied by the lower court, prompting Jacinto to seek redress before the Supreme Court a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court.

The Court, in denying Jacinto’s motion, reiterated its previous ruling in Garcia v. Drilon, where the Court held: “VAWC may likewise be committed against a woman with whom the use of the gender-neutral word ‘person’ who has or had a sexual or dating relationship with the woman encompasses even lesbian relationships.”

“Contrary to petitioner’s submission that the foregoing disquisition in Garcia was a mere obiter dictum, the Court notes that one of the issues raised in Garcia is the supposed discriminatory and unjust provisions of RA 9262, which are likewise violative of the equal protection clause,” the SC said in a ruling penned by Associate Justice Henri Jean Paul Inting.

“The foregoing discussion of the Court as to the applicability of the law to lesbian relationships is clearly a resolution of the particular issue raised in Garcia and not a mere obiter dictum or an opinion of the Court,” it added.

Thus, the SC said the ruling in Garcia v. Drilon could be applied to Jacinto’s case.    

“Applying the case of Garcia, the motion to quash information filed by the petitioner on the ground that the facts charged therein do not constitute an offense utterly lacks basis,” the SC explained.

The proper remedy for Jacinto, according to the Court, is to go to trial and appeal from the adverse judgment against her, should one be rendered by the trial court.

Image credits: Mike Gonzalez via Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 3.0