You are on page 1of 7

EMDI19

Page 1 of 7
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Baguio City
SECOND DIVISION

G.R. No. 182835

April 20, 2010

RUSTAN ANG y PASCUA, Petitioner,


vs.
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS and IRISH SAGUD, Respondents.
DECISION
ABAD, J.:
This case concerns a claim of commission of the crime of violence against women when a former boyfriend
sent to the girl the picture of a naked woman, not her, but with her face on it.
The Indictment
The public prosecutor charged petitioner-accused Rustan Ang (Rustan) before the Regional Trial Court
(RTC) of Baler, Aurora, of violation of the Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children Act or Republic
Act (R.A.) 9262 in an information that reads:
That on or about June 5, 2005, in the Municipality of Maria Aurora, Province of Aurora, Philippines and
within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the said accused willfully, unlawfully and feloniously, in a
purposeful and reckless conduct, sent through the Short Messaging Service (SMS) using his mobile phone,
a pornographic picture to one Irish Sagud, who was his former girlfriend, whereby the face of the latter
was attached to a completely naked body of another woman making it to appear that it was said Irish
Sagud who is depicted in the said obscene and pornographic picture thereby causing substantial emotional
1
anguish, psychological distress and humiliation to the said Irish Sagud.
The Facts and the Case
The evidence for the prosecution shows that complainant Irish Sagud (Irish) and accused Rustan were
classmates at Wesleyan University in Aurora Province. Rustan courted Irish and they became "on-and-off"
sweethearts towards the end of 2004. When Irish learned afterwards that Rustan had taken a live-in
partner (now his wife), whom he had gotten pregnant, Irish broke up with him.

Before Rustan got married, however, he got in touch with Irish and tried to convince her to elope with him,
saying that he did not love the woman he was about to marry. Irish rejected the proposal and told Rustan
to take on his responsibility to the other woman and their child. Irish changed her cellphone number but
Rustan somehow managed to get hold of it and sent her text messages. Rustan used two cellphone
numbers for sending his messages, namely, 0920-4769301 and 0921-8084768. Irish replied to his text
messages but it was to ask him to leave her alone.
In the early morning of June 5, 2005, Irish received through multimedia message service (MMS) a picture of
2
a naked woman with spread legs and with Irishs face superimposed on the figure (Exhibit A). The senders
cellphone number, stated in the message, was 0921-8084768, one of the numbers that Rustan used. Irish
surmised that he copied the picture of her face from a shot he took when they were in Baguio in 2003
3
(Exhibit B).
After she got the obscene picture, Irish got other text messages from Rustan. He boasted that it would be
easy for him to create similarly scandalous pictures of her. And he threatened to spread the picture he sent
through the internet. One of the messages he sent to Irish, written in text messaging shorthand, read:
4
"Madali lang ikalat yun, my chatrum ang tarlac rayt pwede ring send sa lahat ng chatter."
Irish sought the help of the vice mayor of Maria Aurora who referred her to the police. Under police
supervision, Irish contacted Rustan through the cellphone numbers he used in sending the picture and his
text messages. Irish asked Rustan to meet her at the Lorentess Resort in Brgy. Ramada, Maria Aurora, and
he did. He came in a motorcycle. After parking it, he walked towards Irish but the waiting police officers
intercepted and arrested him. They searched him and seized his Sony Ericsson P900 cellphone and several
SIM cards. While Rustan was being questioned at the police station, he shouted at Irish: "Malandi ka kasi!"
Joseph Gonzales, an instructor at the Aurora State College of Technology, testified as an expert in
information technology and computer graphics. He said that it was very much possible for one to lift the
face of a woman from a picture and superimpose it on the body of another woman in another picture.
Pictures can be manipulated and enhanced by computer to make it appear that the face and the body
belonged to just one person.
Gonzales testified that the picture in question (Exhibit A) had two distinct irregularities: the face was not
proportionate to the body and the face had a lighter color. In his opinion, the picture was fake and the face
on it had been copied from the picture of Irish in Exhibit B. Finally, Gonzales explained how this could be
done, transferring a picture from a computer to a cellphone like the Sony Ericsson P900 seized from
Rustan.
For his part, Rustan admitted having courted Irish. He began visiting her in Tarlac in October 2003 and their
relation lasted until December of that year. He claimed that after their relation ended, Irish wanted
reconciliation. They met in December 2004 but, after he told her that his girlfriend at that time (later his
wife) was already pregnant, Irish walked out on him.

EMDI19

Page 2 of 7

Sometime later, Rustan got a text message from Irish, asking him to meet her at Lorentess Resort as she
needed his help in selling her cellphone. When he arrived at the place, two police officers approached him,
seized his cellphone and the contents of his pockets, and brought him to the police station.
Rustan further claims that he also went to Lorentess because Irish asked him to help her identify a
prankster who was sending her malicious text messages. Rustan got the senders number and, pretending
to be Irish, contacted the person. Rustan claims that he got back obscene messages from the prankster,
which he forwarded to Irish from his cellphone. This explained, he said, why the obscene messages
appeared to have originated from his cellphone number. Rustan claims that it was Irish herself who sent
the obscene picture (Exhibit A) to him. He presented six pictures of a woman whom he identified as Irish
5
(Exhibits 2 to 7).
Michelle Ang (Michelle), Rustans wife, testified that she was sure Irish sent the six pictures. Michelle
claims that she received the pictures and hid the memory card (Exhibit 8) that contained them because she
was jealous and angry. She did not want to see anything of Irish. But, while the woman in the pictures
posed in sexy clothing, in none did she appear naked as in Exhibit A. Further, the face of the woman in
Exhibits 2, 4, 5 and 6 could not be seen. Irish denied that she was the woman in those four pictures. As for
Exhibits 3 and 7, the woman in the picture was fully dressed.
After trial, the RTC found Irishs testimony completely credible, given in an honest and spontaneous
manner. The RTC observed that she wept while recounting her experience, prompting the court to
comment: "Her tears were tangible expression of pain and anguish for the acts of violence she suffered in
the hands of her former sweetheart. The crying of the victim during her testimony is evidence of the
6
credibility of her charges with the verity borne out of human nature and experience." Thus, in its Decision
dated August 1, 2001, the RTC found Rustan guilty of the violation of Section 5(h) of R.A. 9262.

2. Whether or not a single act of harassment, like the sending of the nude picture in this case,
already constitutes a violation of Section 5(h) of R.A. 9262;
3. Whether or not the evidence used to convict Rustan was obtained from him in violation of his
constitutional rights; and
4. Whether or not the RTC properly admitted in evidence the obscene picture presented in the
case.
The Courts Rulings
Section 3(a) of R.A. 9262 provides that violence against women includes an act or acts of a person against a
woman with whom he has or had a sexual or dating relationship. Thus:
SEC. 3. Definition of Terms. As used in this Act,
(a) "Violence against women and their children" refers to any act or a series of acts committed by
any person against a woman who is his wife, former wife, or against a woman with whom the
person has or had a sexual or dating relationship, or with whom he has a common child, or
against her child whether legitimate or illegitimate, within or without the family abode, 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.
xxxx

On Rustans appeal to the Court of Appeals (CA), the latter rendered a decision dated January 31,
8
2008, affirming the RTC decision. The CA denied Rustans motion for reconsideration in a resolution dated
April 25, 2008. Thus, Rustan filed the present for review on certiorari.

Section 5 identifies the act or acts that constitute violence against women and these include any
form of harassment that causes substantial emotional or psychological distress to a woman.
Thus:

The Issues Presented


The principal issue in this case is whether or not accused Rustan sent Irish by cellphone message the
picture with her face pasted on the body of a nude woman, inflicting anguish, psychological distress, and
humiliation on her in violation of Section 5(h) of R.A. 9262.
The subordinate issues are:
1. Whether or not a "dating relationship" existed between Rustan and Irish as this term is defined
in R.A. 9262;

SEC. 5. Acts of Violence Against Women and Their Children. The crime of violence against
women and their children is committed through any of the following acts:
xxxx
h. Engaging in purposeful, knowing, or reckless conduct, personally or through another, that
alarms or causes substantial emotional or psychological distress to the woman or her child. This
shall include, but not be limited to, the following acts:
xxxx

EMDI19
5. Engaging in any form of harassment or violence;
The above provisions, taken together, indicate that the elements of the crime of violence against women
through harassment are:
1. The offender has or had a sexual or dating relationship with the offended woman;
2. The offender, by himself or through another, commits an act or series of acts of harassment
against the woman; and
3. The harassment alarms or causes substantial emotional or psychological distress to her.
One. The parties to this case agree that the prosecution needed to prove that accused Rustan had a
"dating relationship" with Irish. Section 3(e) provides that a "dating relationship" includes a situation
where the parties are romantically involved over time and on a continuing basis during the course of the
relationship. Thus:
(e) "Dating relationship" refers to a situation wherein the parties live as husband and wife without the
benefit of marriage or are romantically involved over time and on a continuing basis during the course of
the relationship. A casual acquaintance or ordinary socialization between two individuals in a business or
social context is not a dating relationship. (Underscoring supplied.)
Here, Rustan claims that, being "romantically involved," implies that the offender and the offended woman
have or had sexual relations. According to him, "romance" implies a sexual act. He cites Websters
Comprehensive Dictionary Encyclopedia Edition which provides a colloquial or informal meaning to the
word "romance" used as a verb, i.e., "to make love; to make love to" as in "He romanced her."
But it seems clear that the law did not use in its provisions the colloquial verb "romance" that implies a
sexual act. It did not say that the offender must have "romanced" the offended woman. Rather, it used the
9
noun "romance" to describe a couples relationship, i.e., "a love affair."
R.A. 9262 provides in Section 3 that "violence against women x x x refers to any act or a series of acts
committed by any person against a woman x x x with whom the person has or had a sexual or dating
relationship." Clearly, the law itself distinguishes a sexual relationship from a dating relationship. Indeed,
Section 3(e) above defines "dating relationship" while Section 3(f) defines "sexual relations." The latter
"refers to a single sexual act which may or may not result in the bearing of a common child." The dating
relationship that the law contemplates can, therefore, exist even without a sexual intercourse taking place
between those involved.
Rustan also claims that since the relationship between Irish and him was of the "on-and-off" variety (awaybati), their romance cannot be regarded as having developed "over time and on a continuing basis." But

Page 3 of 7
the two of them were romantically involved, as Rustan himself admits, from October to December of 2003.
That would be time enough for nurturing a relationship of mutual trust and love.
An "away-bati" or a fight-and-kiss thing between two lovers is a common occurrence. Their taking place
does not mean that the romantic relation between the two should be deemed broken up during periods of
misunderstanding. Explaining what "away-bati" meant, Irish explained that at times, when she could not
reply to Rustans messages, he would get angry at her. That was all. Indeed, she characterized their three10
month romantic relation as continuous.
Two. Rustan argues that the one act of sending an offensive picture should not be considered a form of
harassment. He claims that such would unduly ruin him personally and set a very dangerous precedent.
But Section 3(a) of R.A. 9262 punishes "any act or series of acts" that constitutes violence against women.
This means that a single act of harassment, which translates into violence, would be enough. The object of
the law is to protect women and children. Punishing only violence that is repeatedly committed would
license isolated ones.
Rustan alleges that todays women, like Irish, are so used to obscene communications that her getting one
could not possibly have produced alarm in her or caused her substantial emotional or psychological
distress. He claims having previously exchanged obscene pictures with Irish such that she was already
desensitized by them.
But, firstly, the RTC which saw and heard Rustan and his wife give their testimonies was not impressed
with their claim that it was Irish who sent the obscene pictures of herself (Exhibits 2-7). It is doubtful if the
woman in the picture was Irish since her face did not clearly show on them.
Michelle, Rustans wife, claimed that she deleted several other pictures that Irish sent, except Exhibits 2 to
7. But her testimony did not make sense. She said that she did not know that Exhibits 2 to 7 had remained
saved after she deleted the pictures. Later, however, she said that she did not have time to delete
11
them. And, if she thought that she had deleted all the pictures from the memory card, then she had no
reason at all to keep and hide such memory card. There would have been nothing to hide. Finally, if she
knew that some pictures remained in the card, there was no reason for her to keep it for several years,
given that as she said she was too jealous to want to see anything connected to Irish. Thus, the RTC was
correct in not giving credence to her testimony.1avvphi1
Secondly, the Court cannot measure the trauma that Irish experienced based on Rustans low regard for
the alleged moral sensibilities of todays youth. What is obscene and injurious to an offended woman can
of course only be determined based on the circumstances of each case. Here, the naked woman on the
picture, her legs spread open and bearing Irishs head and face, was clearly an obscene picture and, to Irish
a revolting and offensive one. Surely, any woman like Irish, who is not in the pornography trade, would be
scandalized and pained if she sees herself in such a picture. What makes it further terrifying is that, as Irish
testified, Rustan sent the picture with a threat to post it in the internet for all to see. That must have given
her a nightmare.

EMDI19

Page 4 of 7

Three. Rustan argues that, since he was arrested and certain items were seized from him without any
warrant, the evidence presented against him should be deemed inadmissible. But the fact is that the
prosecution did not present in evidence either the cellphone or the SIM cards that the police officers
seized from him at the time of his arrest. The prosecution did not need such items to prove its case. Exhibit
C for the prosecution was but a photograph depicting the Sony Ericsson P900 cellphone that was used,
which cellphone Rustan admitted owning during the pre-trial conference.
Actually, though, the bulk of the evidence against him consisted in Irishs testimony that she received the
obscene picture and malicious text messages that the senders cellphone numbers belonged to Rustan
with whom she had been previously in communication. Indeed, to prove that the cellphone numbers
belonged to Rustan, Irish and the police used such numbers to summon him to come to Lorentess Resort
12
and he did. Consequently, the prosecution did not have to present the confiscated cellphone and SIM
cards to prove that Rustan sent those messages.
13

Moreover, Rustan admitted having sent the malicious text messages to Irish. His defense was that he
himself received those messages from an unidentified person who was harassing Irish and he merely
forwarded the same to her, using his cellphone. But Rustan never presented the cellphone number of the
unidentified person who sent the messages to him to authenticate the same. The RTC did not give
credence to such version and neither will this Court. Besides, it was most unlikely for Irish to pin the things
on Rustan if he had merely tried to help her identify the sender.
Four. Rustan claims that the obscene picture sent to Irish through a text message constitutes an electronic
document. Thus, it should be authenticated by means of an electronic signature, as provided under Section
1, Rule 5 of the Rules on Electronic Evidence (A.M. 01-7-01-SC).
But, firstly, Rustan is raising this objection to the admissibility of the obscene picture, Exhibit A, for the first
time before this Court. The objection is too late since he should have objected to the admission of the
picture on such ground at the time it was offered in evidence. He should be deemed to have already
14
waived such ground for objection.
Besides, the rules he cites do not apply to the present criminal action. The Rules on Electronic Evidence
15
applies only to civil actions, quasi-judicial proceedings, and administrative proceedings.
In conclusion, this Court finds that the prosecution has proved each and every element of the crime
charged beyond reasonable doubt.
WHEREFORE, the Court DENIES the petition and AFFIRMS the decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R.
CR 30567 dated January 31, 2008 and its resolution dated April 25, 2008.
SO ORDERED.

EMDI19

G.R. No. 168852

Page 5 of 7
12

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila

On March 7, 2005, the RTC issued a Resolution dismissing the case as to respondents on the ground that,
being the parents-in-law of the petitioner, they were not included/covered as respondents under R.A. No.
13
9262 under the well-known rule of law "expressio unius est exclusio alterius."

THIRD DIVISION

On March 16, 2005, petitioner filed her Verified Motion for Reconsideration contending that the doctrine
of necessary implication should be applied in the broader interests of substantial justice and due process.

14

September 30, 2008

15

On April 8, 2005, respondents filed their Comment on the Verified Motion for Reconsideration arguing
that petitioner's liberal construction unduly broadened the provisions of R.A. No. 9262 since the
relationship between the offender and the alleged victim was an essential condition for the application of
R.A. No. 9262.

SHARICA MARI L. GO-TAN, Petitioner,


vs.
*
SPOUSES PERFECTO C. TAN and JUANITA L. TAN, Respondents.

16

On July 11, 2005, the RTC issued a Resolution denying petitioner's

DECISION

Verified Motion for Reconsideration. The RTC reasoned that to include respondents under the coverage of
R.A. No. 9262 would be a strained interpretation of the provisions of the law.

AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, J.:
Before the Court is a Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court assailing the
1
Resolution dated March 7, 2005 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 94, Quezon City in Civil Case No.
2
Q-05-54536 and the RTC Resolution dated July 11, 2005 which denied petitioner's Verified Motion for
Reconsideration.
The factual background of the case:

Hence, the present petition on a pure question of law, to wit:


WHETHER OR NOT RESPONDENTS-SPOUSES PERFECTO & JUANITA, PARENTS-IN-LAW OF SHARICA, MAY BE
INCLUDED IN THE PETITION FOR THE ISSUANCE OF A PROTECTIVE ORDER, IN ACCORDANCE WITH
REPUBLIC ACT NO. 9262, OTHERWISE KNOWN AS THE "ANTI-VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND THEIR
17
CHILDREN ACT OF 2004".

On April 18, 1999, Sharica Mari L. Go-Tan (petitioner) and Steven L. Tan (Steven) were married. Out of this
4
5
union, two female children were born, Kyra Danielle and Kristen Denise. On January 12, 2005, barely six
years into the marriage, petitioner filed a Petition with Prayer for the Issuance of a Temporary Protective
6
Order (TPO) against Steven and her parents-in-law, Spouses Perfecto C. Tan and Juanita L. Tan
(respondents) before the RTC. She alleged that Steven, in conspiracy with respondents, were causing
verbal, psychological and economic abuses upon her in violation of Section 5, paragraphs (e)(2)(3)(4),
7
8
(h)(5), and (i) of Republic Act (R.A.) No. 9262, otherwise known as the "Anti-Violence Against Women and
Their Children Act of 2004."
9

On January 25, 2005, the RTC issued an Order/Notice granting petitioner's prayer for a TPO.
On February 7, 2005, respondents filed a Motion to Dismiss with Opposition to the Issuance of Permanent
10
Protection Order Ad Cautelam and Comment on the Petition, contending that the RTC lacked jurisdiction
over their persons since, as parents-in-law of the petitioner, they were not covered by R.A. No. 9262.
11

On February 28, 2005, petitioner filed a Comment on Opposition to respondents' Motion to Dismiss
arguing that respondents were covered by R.A. No. 9262 under a liberal interpretation thereof aimed at
promoting the protection and safety of victims of violence.

Petitioner contends that R.A. No. 9262 must be understood in the light of the provisions of Section 47 of
R.A. No. 9262 which explicitly provides for the suppletory application of the Revised Penal Code (RPC) and,
accordingly, the provision on "conspiracy" under Article 8 of the RPC can be suppletorily applied to R.A. No.
9262; that Steven and respondents had community of design and purpose in tormenting her by giving her
insufficient financial support; harassing and pressuring her to be ejected from the family home; and in
repeatedly abusing her verbally, emotionally, mentally and physically; that respondents should be included
as indispensable or necessary parties for complete resolution of the case.
On the other hand, respondents submit that they are not covered by R.A. No. 9262 since Section 3 thereof
explicitly provides that the offender should be related to the victim only by marriage, a former marriage, or
a dating or sexual relationship; that allegations on the conspiracy of respondents require a factual
determination which cannot be done by this Court in a petition for review; that respondents cannot be
characterized as indispensable or necessary parties, since their presence in the case is not only
unnecessary but altogether illegal, considering the non-inclusion of in-laws as offenders under Section 3 of
R.A. No. 9262.
The Court rules in favor of the petitioner.

EMDI19

Page 6 of 7
21

Section 3 of R.A. No. 9262 defines ''[v]iolence against women and their children'' as "any act or a series of
acts committed by any person against a woman who is his wife, former wife, or against a woman with
whom the person has or had a sexual or dating relationship, or with whom he has a common child, or
against her child whether legitimate or illegitimate, within or without the family abode, 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."

In Yu v. People, the Court applied suppletorily the provisions on subsidiary imprisonment under Article 39
of the RPC to Batas Pambansa (B.P.) Blg. 22, otherwise known as the "Bouncing Checks Law," noting the
absence of an express provision on subsidiary imprisonment in said special law.

While the said provision provides that the offender be related or connected to the victim by marriage,
former marriage, or a sexual or dating relationship, it does not preclude the application of the principle of
conspiracy under the RPC.

With more reason, therefore, the principle of conspiracy under Article 8 of the RPC may be applied
suppletorily to R.A. No. 9262 because of the express provision of Section 47 that the RPC shall be
supplementary to said law. Thus, general provisions of the RPC, which by their nature, are necessarily
applicable, may be applied suppletorily.

22

Most recently, in Ladonga v. People, the Court applied suppletorily the principle of conspiracy under
Article 8 of the RPC to B.P. Blg. 22 in the absence of a contrary provision therein.

Indeed, Section 47 of R.A. No. 9262 expressly provides for the suppletory application of the RPC, thus:
SEC. 47. Suppletory Application. - For purposes of this Act, the Revised Penal Code and other applicable
laws, shall have suppletory application. (Emphasis supplied)

Thus, the principle of conspiracy may be applied to R.A. No. 9262. For once conspiracy or action in concert
to achieve a criminal design is shown, the act of one is the act of all the conspirators, and the precise
extent or modality of participation of each of them becomes secondary, since all the conspirators are
23
principals.

Parenthetically, Article 10 of the RPC provides:


ART. 10. Offenses not subject to the provisions of this Code. Offenses which are or in the future may be
punishable under special laws are not subject to the provisions of this Code. This Code shall be
supplementary to such laws, unless the latter should specially provide the contrary.(Emphasis supplied)
Hence, legal principles developed from the Penal Code may be applied in a supplementary capacity to
crimes punished under special laws, such as R.A. No. 9262, in which the special law is silent on a particular
matter.
18

Thus, in People v. Moreno, the Court applied suppletorily the provision on subsidiary penalty under
Article 39 of the RPC to cases of violations of Act No. 3992, otherwise known as the "Revised Motor Vehicle
Law," noting that the special law did not contain any provision that the defendant could be sentenced with
subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency.
19

In People v. Li Wai Cheung, the Court applied suppletorily the rules on the service of sentences provided
in Article 70 of the RPC in favor of the accused who was found guilty of multiple violations of R.A. No. 6425,
otherwise known as the "Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972," considering the lack of similar rules under the
special law.

It must be further noted that Section 5 of R.A. No. 9262 expressly recognizes that the acts of violence
against women and their children may be committed by an offender through another, thus:
SEC. 5. Acts of Violence Against Women and Their Children. - The crime of violence against women and
their children is committed through any of the following acts:
xxx
(h) Engaging in purposeful, knowing, or reckless conduct, personally or through another,
thatalarms or causes substantial emotional or psychological distress to the woman or her child.
This shall include, but not be limited to, the following acts:
(1) Stalking or following the woman or her child in public or private places;
(2) Peering in the window or lingering outside the residence of the woman or her child;
(3) Entering or remaining in the dwelling or on the property of the woman or her child
against her/his will;

20

In People v. Chowdury, the Court applied suppletorily Articles 17, 18 and 19 of the RPC to define the
words "principal," "accomplices" and "accessories" under R.A. No. 8042, otherwise known as the "Migrant
Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995," because said words were not defined therein, although the
special law referred to the same terms in enumerating the persons liable for the crime of illegal
recruitment.

(4) Destroying the property and personal belongings or inflicting harm to animals or
pets of the woman or her child; and
(5) Engaging in any form of harassment or violence; x x x. (Emphasis supplied)

EMDI19

Page 7 of 7

In addition, the protection order that may be issued for the purpose of preventing further acts of violence
against the woman or her child may include
individuals other than the offending husband, thus:
SEC. 8. Protection Orders. x x x The protection orders that may be issued under this Act shall include any,
some or all of the following reliefs:
(a) Prohibition of the respondent from threatening to commit or committing, personally
orthrough another, any of the acts mentioned in Section 5 of this Act; 1avvphi1.net
(b) Prohibition of the respondent from harassing, annoying, telephoning, contacting or otherwise
communicating with the petitioner, directly or indirectly; x x x (Emphasis supplied)
Finally, Section 4 of R.A. No. 9262 calls for a liberal construction of the law, thus:
SEC. 4. Construction. - This Act shall be liberally construed to promote the protection and safety of victims
of violence against women and their children. (Emphasis supplied)
24

It bears mention that the intent of the statute is the law and that this intent must be effectuated by the
courts. In the present case, the express language of R.A. No. 9262 reflects the intent of the legislature for
liberal construction as will best ensure the attainment of the object of the law according to its true intent,
meaning and spirit - the protection and safety of victims of violence against women and children.
Thus, contrary to the RTC's pronouncement, the maxim "expressio unios est exclusio alterius" finds no
application here. It must be remembered that this maxim is only an "ancillary rule of statutory
construction." It is not of universal application. Neither is it conclusive. It should be applied only as a means
of discovering legislative intent which is not otherwise manifest and should not be permitted to defeat the
25
plainly indicated purpose of the legislature.
The Court notes that petitioner unnecessarily argues at great length on the attendance of circumstances
evidencing the conspiracy or connivance of Steven and respondents to cause verbal, psychological and
economic abuses upon her. However, conspiracy is an evidentiary matter which should be threshed out in
a full-blown trial on the merits and cannot be determined in the present petition since this Court is not a
26
trier of facts. It is thus premature for petitioner to argue evidentiary matters since this controversy is
centered only on the determination of whether respondents may be included in a petition under R.A. No.
9262. The presence or absence of conspiracy can be best passed upon after a trial on the merits.
Considering the Court's ruling that the principle of conspiracy may be applied suppletorily to R.A. No. 9262,
the Court will no longer delve on whether respondents may be considered indispensable or necessary
parties. To do so would be an exercise in superfluity.

WHEREFORE, the instant petition is GRANTED. The assailed Resolutions dated March 7, 2005 and July 11,
2005 of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 94, Quezon City in Civil Case No. Q-05-54536 are
hereby PARTLY REVERSED and SET ASIDE insofar as the dismissal of the petition against respondents is
concerned.
SO ORDERED.