The Supreme Court (SC) affirmed a decision by the Court of Appeals (CA) stating that marital infidelity is considered a form of psychological violence punishable by imprisonment under Republic Act (RA) 9262, or the Anti-Violence Against Women and Children Act of 2004.
In an 18-page decision, Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta wrote that the SC’s First Division sided with rulings issued by the CA and the Las Piñas Regional Trial Court, which found petitioner Jaime Araza guilty of violating RA 9262.
The court also affirmed the imposition of a maximum eight-year imprisonment against Araza.
“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 decision read.
Araza was directed by the High Court to pay a fine of P100,000 and moral damages in the amount of P25,000.
The SC explained psychological violence is an indispensable element of violation of Section 5(i) of RA 9262.
Equally important is the element of emotional anguish and mental suffering, which are personal to the complainant, according to the SC.
The SC noted the law does not require proof that the victim became psychologically ill due to the psychological violence done by her abuser. However, the law only requires emotional anguish and mental suffering to be proven.
The decision explained that in order to establish emotional anguish or mental suffering, jurisprudence only requires the testimony of the victim to be presented in court, as such experiences are personal to this party.
Araza’s guilt was established by the prosecution beyond reasonable doubt by proving that he committed psychological violence upon his wife by committing marital infidelity. AAA’s testimony was strong and credible, and she was able to confirm that Araza was living with another woman.
Records showed Araza’s wife learned in 2007 that her husband was having an extramarital affair, but initially did not believe it.
This prompted her to go to Zamboanga, where her husband was doing their networking business, to check for herself whether the information was true, and she was able to confirm that he was living with another woman.
The couple, after the complaint was filed, decided to settle their differences amicably on the condition that Araza and his mistress would never see each other again.
However, after two months, Araza left their conjugal home to return to his mistress and was later on discovered by the complainant that they were again together and have three children.
The complainant said the matter caused her psychological problems, and she got sick and was hospitalized, while looking for her husband.