The photo has been used for illustrative purposes.
In a landmark decision, the Supreme Court (SC) affirmed an earlier ruling that sentenced to a maximum prison term of eight years a former Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) whose infidelity caused his wife to suffer from "psychological violence."
In addition to the jail term, the SC ordered the husband to pay a fine of $2,000 as well as moral damages totalling $500 and to undergo mandatory psychological counseling or psychiatric treatment.
Legal experts described the SC decision as landmark and unprecedented, explaining this was the first time that the tribunal had ruled on an existing law called the Anti-Violence Against Women and Children Act of 2004.
The experts explained that the SC confirmed the decision of the Court of Appeals and a regional court in suburban Las Pinas City in Metro Manila, which earlier ruled in favour of the wife who sued her husband for abandoning her and living with his mistress in Zamboanga City in Mindanao.
Also significant was that it was Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta himself who wrote the decision that psychological violence constituted an indispensable element in the violation of the law that resulted in emotional anguish and mental suffering of the wife, according to the experts.
"Psychological violence," Peralta stressed, "is the means employed by the perpetrator while emotional anguish or mental suffering are the effects caused to or the damage sustained by the offended party."
He added: "The law does not require proof that the victim became psychologically ill due to the psychological violence done by her abuser. Rather, the law only requires emotional anguish or mental suffering to be proven."
The High Court also found that the wife's testimony to be strong and credible. It noted that the wife succeeded in confirming that her husband, a former OFW, was living with another woman in Zamboanga City.
The tribunal also took note of the wife's testimony that when she discovered and confirmed the affair, she experienced emotional and psychological suffering as well as insomnia and asthma. Worse still, she said she also took antidepressant and sleeping pills.
Court records showed that the couple married in 1989 in Manila and that at the beginning the husband was hardworking, loving and faithful - until he went to Zamboanga City in February 2007 for their networking business, where he met the mistress.
The records also showed that the wife filed a concubinage case against her husband. But before the case would prosper, they reached an amicable settlement when her husband and his lover agreed not to see each other again.
However, in November 2007, the wife said her husband again disappeared and upon further search in which she spent a large amount of her own money, she found him with the lover in Zamboanga.
And to top it all, the wife said she discovered her cheating husband already had three children with his lover, thus leaving her emotionally depressed and anxious which led, among others, to her confinement in a hospital.
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