Anti-Violence Against Women and their Children: An Overview

The National Commission on the Role of Filipino Women (NCRFW) reported that, for the years 2000-2003, “female violence comprised more than 90% of all forms of abuse and violence and more than 90% of these reported cases were committed by the women’s intimate partners such as their husbands and live-in partners.” 

After nine (9) years of spirited advocacy by women’s groups, Republic Act (R.A.) No. 9262 was enacted, entitled “An Act Defining Violence Against Women and Their Children, Providing for Protective Measures for Victims, Prescribing Penalties Therefor, and for Other Purposes.” The law took effect on March 27, 2004.1

In 2008 it was reported that 20.1% of women aged 15-49 years old reported having experienced physical violence at the age of 15, in 2013 the figure was lowered to only 19.6%. When asked if they have experienced violence in the past year, the figure in 2008 is at 7.3%, there has been a slight decrease in this figure to 5.6% in 2013. 2

While the Philippines had progressed with the passing of the law, we still have a long road ahead to end cases of violence against women and their children. Information dissemination is an important part of this fight. Hence, this article will provide an overview of what R.A. 9262 is about. 

What are considered acts of violence against women and children?

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;
  • against a woman with whom the person has or had a sexual or dating relationship,
  • with whom he has a common child;
  • 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.3

It is important to highlight that the common denominator for those who would be considered victims under this law is that the victim has some sort of relationship with the perpetrator. This is a unique and essential requisite in determining whether the case will be considered as a violation of R.A. 9262. 

Take note that the definition provided above is just a general definition of what are considered as acts of violence against women and their children. A discussion of the specific acts of violence under the law will be released in a separate article. 

An interesting question would be, is violence against women and their children committed by men alone? A perusal of the definition shows that the act may be committed by “any person“. There is no distinction as to whether this person is a male or female. It is therefore submitted that even a female may commit acts of violence against women and their children as long as the perpetrator had a dating or sexual relationship with the victim.

Who may file a complaint for violation of R.A. 9262?

Section 7 of R.A. 9262 provides that the Regional Trial Court designated as a Family Court shall have original and exclusive jurisdiction over cases of violence against women and their children under this law. In the absence of such court in the place where the offense was committed, the case shall be filed in the Regional Trial Court where the crime or any of its elements was committed at the option of the compliant.

What are the rights of the victims?

Aside from availing of the legal remedies provided under R.A. 9262 such as, but not limited to, Permanent Protection Order (PPO) and Temporary Protection Order (TPO) which shall be discussed in detail in a subsequent article, the law vested victims of violence with certain rights. 

Section 35 of R.A. 9262 provides that in addition to their rights under existing laws, victims of violence against women and their children shall have the following rights:

  1. To be treated with respect and dignity;
  2. To avail of legal assistance from the PAO of the Department of Justice (DOJ) or any public legal assistance office;
  3. To be entitled to support services from the DSWD and LGUs’
  4. To be entitled to all legal remedies and support as provided for under the Family Code; and
  5. To be informed of their rights and the services available to them including their right to apply for a protection order.

Employed victims are also entitled to additional leaves. Section 43 of R.A. 9262 provides that victims under this Act shall be entitled to take a paid leave of absence up to ten (10) days in addition to other paid leaves under the Labor Code and Civil Service Rules and Regulations, extendible when the necessity arises as specified in the protection order.

In addition to this, the DSWD, LGUs, and DOH are mandated by law to provide certain services to the victims. Particularly, Section 40 of R.A. 9262 provides that the DSWD, and LGUs shall provide the victims temporary shelters, provide counseling, psycho-social services and/or, recovery, rehabilitation programs, and livelihood assistance. The DOH shall provide medical assistance to victims.

Cases of Violence against Women and their Children today

Nineteen (19) years after the enactment of the law, cases of violence against women remain prevalent. In fact, under the 2022 Philippine National Demographic and Health Survey, it was reported that eighteen percent (18%) of women have experienced any form of physical, sexual, or emotional violence by their current or most recent husband/intimate partner. 

Two in five women (41%) aged 15-49 who have experienced physical or sexual violence have never sought help to end the violence or told anyone about the violence.4 It is evident that to date, most women who are victims of violence have never sought the help of anyone and this might partly be due to the fact that the services they can avail of to protect themselves are not readily available or inefficient. 

AJA Law aims to be a part of the solution in putting an end to the cases of violence against women. Should you need any help, our lawyers are readily available to help you and protect you, we are here for you. Together, we will put an end to the country’s long fight against violence against women.

Prepared by CJ Sabile.


  1. Garcia vs. Drilon, G.R. No. 179267, 25 June 2013
  2. Clarissa C. David; Jose Ramon G.; Albert; Jana Flor V. Vizmanos. 2017. Rising to the challenge of eliminating all forms of violence against women and girls. © Philippine Institute for Development Studies.
  3. Section 3(a), R.A. 9262.
  4. 2017 National Demographic and Health Survey

Divorced Abroad? How To Have It Recognized In The Philippines

Philippine laws do not provide for absolute divorce, and hence, the courts cannot grant the same.1 However, in case of a mixed marriage between a Filipino citizen and a foreign citizen, the Family Code of the Philippines allows the estranged Filipino spouse to remarry in case the divorce is “validly obtained abroad by the alien spouse capacitating him or her to remarry.”2

The following elements must concur in order for said law to apply:

  1. There is a valid marriage celebrated between a Filipino citizen and a foreigner;3 and
  2. A valid divorce is obtained abroad, capacitating the parties to remarry, regardless of who between the spouses initiated the divorce proceedings.4

Thus, pursuant to Republic v. Manalo,  foreign divorce decrees obtained to nullify marriages between a Filipino and an alien citizen may already be recognized in Philippine jurisdiction, regardless of who between the spouses initiated the divorce; provided, that the party petitioning for the recognition of such foreign divorce decree- presumably the Filipino citizen- must prove the divorce as a fact and demonstrate its conformity to the foreign law allowing it.

As a matter of procedure, a case must be filed in court to secure a judgment recognizing the foreign divorce between a Filipino and a foreigner. In terms of evidence, both the foreign divorce decree or judgment and the foreign divorce law need to be proven during the trial. Following a favorable judgment, the divorce would be recorded in the civil registry and the estranged Filipino spouse would be deemed allowed to remarry.

The requirement for recognition of foreign divorce is simply that at least one of the spouses was a non-Filipino at the time of the divorce. This follows from the second paragraph of Article 26 of the Family Code of the Philippines to wit:

“Where a marriage between a Filipino citizen and a foreigner is validly celebrated and a divorce is thereafter validly obtained abroad by the alien spouse capacitating him or her to remarry, the Filipino Spouse shall likewise have capacity to remarry under Philippine law.”


There are a number of reasons why it is important to file a petition for recognition of foreign divorce in the Philippines, to wit:

  1. Unless the foreign divorce is judicially recognized, the divorce decree will not be registered with the Civil Registrar and the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA); consequently, a Certificate of No Marriage (CENOMAR) will not be issued should a divorced Filipino plan to remarry;
  2. Without a judicial recognition of the foreign divorce, the previous marriage is deemed to subsist; contracting another marriage in the Philippines may constitute the crime of bigamy; and
  3. If the foreign divorce decree is not judicially recognized in the Philippines, the divorced spouse may still exercise his or her rights to the community or conjugal property as an heir in case of the death of the other spouse.


A petition for a judicial recognition of a foreign divorce in the Philippines shall be filed before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) in the city or province where the corresponding civil registry to be corrected is located. If the marriage is celebrated abroad, the petition shall be filed before the RTC which has jurisdiction over the place of residence of the petitioner.

The following are the documents required to be attached to the petition. For documents issued or made abroad, they must either be (a) an official publication of such document or (b) a copy attested by the officer having the legal custody of the document, or by his deputy. Additionally, there must be an accompanying certificate that such officer has the custody, which may be issued by the embassy or consular office of the Philippines and authenticated by the seal of its office.5 Any foreign document attached to the petition needs to be apostilled by the competent authority or authenticated by the Philippine Embassy in the foreign country.

Proof of Marriage

The petitioner needs to present to the court a certified true copy of the marriage certificate registered in the Philippines issued by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).

If the marriage was celebrated abroad, the official marriage certificate or record from the foreign country shall be presented. If a copy of the marriage certificate or record was filed with the Philippine Consulate, a copy of the Report of Marriage of a Filipino Married Abroad shall also be presented.

Proof of Divorce

The petitioner needs to present to the court a certified copy of the divorce decree, order, or decision. 

The petitioner must present to the Court the official copies of his or her foreign divorce documents such as the divorce decree which should be duly translated to English if it was written in a foreign language.

Countries have different laws and policies when it comes to divorce. Thus, documents used or issued may also be different. An example is the pronouncement of the Supreme Court in Republic v. Kikuchi, 6 where it was established that Mayors in Japan are authorized to accept divorce. The Supreme Court in this case considered the duly authenticated Certificate of Acceptance issued by City Mayor of Sakado City as sufficient evidence of divorce obtained in Japan.

Proof of Law on Divorce Abroad

The foreign law capacitating the foreign spouse to remarry must be proven as a fact during trial and in accordance with the Rules of Court. 

The petitioner must present to the Court a certified copy of the specific law on divorce in the country where it was obtained. It must be apostilled or authenticated by the Philippine Consulate and must come with an official translation to the English language if written in a foreign language. Said divorce law must indicate that parties to the divorce can remarry.

OCA Circular No. 157-2022 issued on 23 June 2022, announced that foreign divorce laws that have been officially translated into English language may be obtained on the Supreme Court website, and thus, petitioners need not prove it during the trial, to wit:

“…the Family Courts are advised to take judicial notice of this compilation of the laws of foreign countries on marriage and divorce in the resolution of cases requiring the presentation of the laws of foreign countries on marriage and divorce.”

However, OCA Circular No. 157-2022-A issued on 7 July 2022 supersedes the said Circular. It states the following:

“To address this matter, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), upon request of the OCA, furnished the OCA with a compilation of several foreign laws on marriage and divorce, for reference and use of the judiciary in resolving petitions for recognition and enforcement of foreign decree of divorce, subject to prevailing jurisprudence and/or applicable Court issuances related thereto.” 

Simply put, the trial court cannot take judicial notice of a foreign divorce law posted on the Supreme Court website. In Arreza v. Toyo,7  the prevailing jurisprudence, states that:

“Philippine courts do not take judicial notice of foreign judgments and laws. They must be proven as fact under our rules on evidence. A divorce decree obtained abroad is deemed a foreign judgment, hence the indispensable need to have it pleaded and proved before its legal effects may be extended to the Filipino spouse.”

Proofs of Citizenship and Residence of the Parties (the spouses), and the Children, if any.

In order to prove the citizenship of the parties (the spouses), and the children if any, the petitioner needs to present to the court their birth certificates and/or passports.

It must be established that one of the parties is an alien or a foreigner at the time of the divorce for Article 26 of the Family Code to apply.


After filing the petition, the RTC branch where the case is raffled will order that the substance of the petition be published in a random newspaper of general circulation in the city or province once a week for three (3) weeks.


After trial and after the court renders its decision granting the petition, the decision shall be registered before the Local Civil Registrar (LCR) where the marriage was recorded, the Local Civil Registrar (LCR) of Manila if marriage was celebrated and registered overseas, and the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).

If you have questions on this, feel free to contact our team.

Prepared by Jermile Salor.


  1. Garcia v. Recio, 366 SCRA 437 (2001). 
  2. Art. 26 (2), Family Code of the Philippines.
  3. Republic v. Orbecido III, 472 SCRA 114 (2005).
  4. Republic v. Manalo, 862 SCRA 580 (2018).
  5. Rules of Court, Rule 132, Sec. 24.
  6. Republic v. Kikuchi,  G.R. 243646, 22 June 2022.
  7. Arreza v. Toyo, G.R. No. 213198, 1 July 2019.