MANILA, Philippines — The Supreme Court (SC) reaffirmed an earlier ruling that Anti-Violence against Women and their Children (VAWC) Act also protects women in lesbian relationships.
In a 10-page decision, the SC’s Third Division reiterated its 2013 ruling that declared that Republic Act 9262 or the anti-VAWC law protects all women from abuse from their partner, regardless of the latter’s sex or gender.
The SC rejected the petitioner’s contention that the earlier ruling of the high court that the law’s use of the word “person” is “gender-neutral” and “encompasses even lesbian relationships” was just an obiter dictum or an opinion of the court that is not binding.
In the 2013 Garcia v. Drilon case, the SC was asked to rule on whether the anti-VAWC law was discriminatory, unjust and violative of the constitutional guarantee to equal protection.
In the new ruling penned by Associate Justice Henri Jean Paul Inting, the high court said its earlier decision was not just the court’s opinion but was “clearly a resolution of the particular issue raised.”
Specifically, the Inting quoted from the 2013 case:
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VAWC may likewise be committed ‘against a woman with whom the person has or had a sexual or dating relationship.’ Clearly, the use of the gender-neutral word ‘person’ who has or had a sexual or dating relationship with the woman encompasses even lesbian relationships.
The SC also said that the petitioner in the new ruling should not have gone straight to the high court, but to go to trial before the Regional Trial Court and appeal the adverse judgment against her, should one be rendered.
The SC added that even if it takes the petition into consideration, this should still be dismissed for disregarding the judicial hierarchy of courts.