27 July 2013
Sen. Pia hails SC decision upholding law protecting women and their children; expresses hope for RH Law
Senator Pia S. Cayetano today welcomed the landmark decision of the Supreme Court which upheld the constitutionality of Republic Act 9262, the ‘Anti-Violence Against Women and their Children (AVAWC) Act of 2004,’ calling the ruling a “significant victory for Filipino women,” especially for those who have been victims of abuse.
“I laud the Supreme Court for recognizing that it is the women, in particular, who become victims of domestic violence and fall prey to gender bias and discrimination when it dismissed the petition questioning the constitutionality of RA 9262 for supposedly violating the equal protection clause,” said Cayetano, a women’s advocate and the chairperson of the Senate Committee on Youth, Women and Family Relations in the 15th Congress.
“The decision is a step forward in advancing women’s rights in our society where violence against women remains widespread and is seldom openly discussed. It is estimated that one in every five women experience some form of violence, whether physical, emotional or even economic. Many of them suffer in silence and are clueless about the courses of action they could take.”
“I am often asked why the need for a law protecting only women against domestic violence. In other words, why not men? The reason is, women are differently situated than men and are exposed to domestic violence in a way men are not. And the High Court’s decision validates this by affirming RA 9262,” she explained.
At the same time, Cayetano expressed hope that the Supreme Court would issue a similar decision soon, this time to uphold Republic Act 10354, or the ‘Reproductive Health Act,’ which is also being questioned in the High Court by religious groups.
“I am hopeful that a similar ruling would be issued by our justices to uphold the RH Law, because the underlying principle for both RA 9262 and RA 10354 are essentially the same, which is to advance the basic rights of those sectors in society who are vulnerable, in this case, women,” added Cayetano, the principal author of the RH Law in the Senate and an intervenor in the RH Law case pending in the Supreme Court.
“This ruling should encourage advocates to continue educating women, especially mothers and their children in the communities, to learn about their rights and the options open to them under RA 9262 in case they become victims of violence. Some LGUs also conduct AVAWC seminars for men to help them understand the condition of women and help clarify their questions and misconceptions about this law.”
“We should continue to ensure that law enforcement officers as well as officials in the barangay level are equipped about the law to ensure the protection of women and its effective implementation through information and education seminars all over the country.” #
File photo: Sen. Pia S. Cayetano calls the High Court’s landmark ruling a ‘significant victory for women.’