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G.R. No. 169533 Bongalon v.

People March 20, 2013

George Bongalon, People of the Philippines,


petitioner respondent
Bersamin, J.

FACTS:
Jayson Dela Cruz (Jayson) and Roldan, his older brother, both minors, joined the evening procession for
the Santo Nio at Oro Site in Legazpi City; that when the procession passed in front of the petitioners
house, the latters daughter Mary Ann Rose, also a minor, threw stones at Jayson and called him sissy;
that the petitioner confronted Jayson and Roldan and called them names like strangers and animals;
that the petitioner struck Jayson at the back with his hand, and slapped Jayson on the face; that the
petitioner then went to the brothers house and challenged Rolando dela Cruz, their father, to a fight, but
Rolando did not come out of the house to take on the petitioner; that Rolando later brought Jayson to the
Legazpi City Police Station and reported the incident; that Jayson also underwent medical treatment at the
Bicol Regional Training and Teaching Hospital; that the doctors who examined Jayson issued two medical
certificates attesting that Jayson suffered the following contusions, to wit: (1) contusion .5 x 2.5 scapular
area, left; and (2) +11 cm. contusion left zygomatic area and contusion .5 x 2.33 cm. scapular area, left.
The petitioner denied having physically abused or maltreated Jayson. He explained that he only talked with
Jayson and Roldan after Mary Ann Rose and Cherrylyn, his minor daughters, had told him about Jayson
and Roldans throwing stones at them and about Jaysons burning Cherrylyns hair. He denied shouting
invectives at and challenging Rolando to a fight, insisting that he only told Rolando to restrain his sons
from harming his daughters.
RTC: guilty of child abuse, Violation of Republic Act No. 7610
CA: affirmed the conviction, but modified the penalty
Petitioner asserts that he was not guilty of the crime charged; and that even assuming that he was guilty,
his liability should be mitigated because he had merely acted to protect her two minor daughters.

ISSUE:
Is the accused guilty of Child Abuse under R.A. No. 7610 or Physical Injuries under the Revised Penal Code?

HELD:
THE ACCUSED IS GUILTY OF PHYSICAL INJURIES UNDER THE REVISED PENAL CODE.
Sec 10 (a), Art. VI of RA 7610 under which Bongalon was charged states:
o Sec. 10. Other Acts of Neglect, Abuse, Cruelty or Exploitation and other Conditions Prejducial to the
Childs Development (a) Any person who shall commit any other acts of child abuse, cruelty or
exploitation or be responsible for other conditions prejudicial to the childs development including
those covered by Art. 59 of PD 603, as amended, but not covered by the RPC, as amended, shall suffer
the penalty of prision mayor in its minimum period.
Child abuse, on the other hand, is defined by Sec. 3 (b) as maltreatment, whether habitual or not, of the
child which includes:
x x x
(2.) Any acts by deeds or words which debases, degrades, or demeans the intrinsic worth and dignity of a
child as a human being;
xxx
Not every instance of the laying of hands on a child constitutes child abuse. Only when the laying of hands
is shown beyond reasonable doubt to be intended by the accused to debase, degrade, or demean the
intrinsic worth and dignity of the child as a human being should it be punished as child abuse. Otherwise,
it is punished under RPC.
G.R. No. 169533 Bongalon v. People March 20, 2013

In this case, the records showed that the laying of hands on Jayson have been done at the spur of the
moment and in anger, indicative of his being overwhelmed by his fatherly concern for the personal safety
of his own minor daughters who had just suffered harm at the hands of Jayson and his companion. With
the loss of his self-control, he lacked the specific intent to debase, degrade, or demean the intrinsic worth
and dignity of the child as a human being that was so essential in the crime of child abuse. However,
considering that Jayson suffered physical injury requiring five to seven days of medical attention, Bongalon
is liable for slight physical injuries under Art. 266 (1) of the RPC.
Although we affirm the factual findings of fact by the RTC and the CA to the effect that the petitioner
struck Jayson at the back with his hand and slapped Jayson on the face, we disagree with their holding that
his acts constituted child abuse within the purview of the above-quoted provisions. The records did not
establish beyond reasonable doubt that his laying of hands on Jayson had been intended to debase the
intrinsic worth and dignity of Jayson as a human being, or that he had thereby intended to humiliate or
embarrass Jayson. The records showed the laying of hands on Jayson to have been done at the spur of the
moment and in anger, indicative of his being then overwhelmed by his fatherly concern for the personal
safety of his own minor daughters who had just suffered harm at the hands of Jayson and Roldan. With
the loss of his self-control, he lacked that specific intent to debase, degrade or demean the intrinsic worth
and dignity of a child as a human being that was so essential in the crime of child abuse.