Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Child abuse; RA 7610 vs. Rev. Penal Code; when and what law to apply

G.R. No. 173988, October 8, 2014

"The petitioner, a public schoolteacher, was charged with and found guilty of child abuse, a violation of Republic Act No. 7610.1 The victim was her own Grade 1 pupil whom she physically maltreated for having accidentally bumped her knee while she was drowsing off on a bamboo sofa as he entered the classroom. Her maltreatment left him with physical injuries, as duly certified by a physician.

Whether or not the petitioner thereby committed child abuse is the question that this appeal must determine, in light of the Court's pronouncement in Bongalon v. People of the Philippines2 that:

Not every instance of the laying of hands on a child constitutes the crime of child abuse under Section 10 (a) of Republic Act No. 7610. Only when the laying of hands is shown beyond reasonable doubt to be intended by the accused to debase, degrade or demean the intrinsic worth and dignity of the child as a human being should it be punished as child abuse. Otherwise, it is punished under the Revised Penal Code."