House bill seeks to protect husbands, same-sex partners from domestic abuse

Mara Cepeda

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House bill seeks to protect husbands, same-sex partners from domestic abuse
Rizal Representative Fidel Nograles wants to expand the coverage of the Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children Act of 2004

MANILA, Philippines – A lawmaker has filed a bill that would protect spouses and partners in intimate relationships – regardless of gender – against domestic violence.

In House Bill (HB) No. 4888, Rizal 2nd District Representative Fidel Nograles seeks to expand the coverage of Republic Act (RA) No. 9262 or the Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children Act of 2004 to also cover abuse committed against same-sex partners and husbands in heterosexual relationships. (READ: Domestic violence no laughing matter

Under the bill, the term “partner” covers not only heterosexual relationships, but also “lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, intersex, cisgender, and transgender partners.”

If passed into law, HB 4888 would count the following as acts of violence against partners and children: 

  • Physical violence
  • Sexual violence, including rape, sexual harassment, forcing them to watch obscene publications and indecent shows, forcing them to do indecent acts, prostituting their partner or child, among others
  • Psychological violence or acts that would likely cause mental or emotional suffering
  • Economic abuse or acts that attempt to make a partner financially dependent on the other 

Currently, RA 9262 penalizes physical, sexual, psychological, and economic abuse committed only against women and children.

HB 4888 would count as economic abuse the “controlling [of] the victims’ own money or properties or solely controlling the conjugal or common money properties.” This means the bill prohibits a spouse from confiscating the salary of his or her partner. (READ: How to recognize abusive relationships

Nograles’ bill, however, now also proposes to consider as psychological violence the use of any forms of information communication technology that would cause mental, emotional, or psychological distress or suffering to the partners and their children. 

These include any form of “stalking, including hacking of personal accounts on social media and the use of location data from electronic devices, fabrication of fake information or news through text messages or other cyber, electronic, or multimedia technology.”

HB 4888 would likewise punish hate crimes committed against partners and children, including discrimination on the grounds of sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity or expression. (READ: Fight for same-sex marriage in PH still alive despite Supreme Court ruling)

“This bill shall prohibit all forms of violence against partners and their children, in private and public life, and provides maximum protection and effective remedies for victims and punishment of offenders,” said Nograles in his explanatory note for HB 4888. 

“Thus, the bill also expands the covered acts under RA 9262 to include electronic violence done against partners and their children,” he added. – Rappler.com

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Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda specializes in stories about politics and local governance. She covers the Office of the Vice President, the Senate, and the Philippine opposition. She is a 2021 fellow of the Asia Journalism Fellowship and the Reham al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship of the UN. Got tips? Email her at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or tweet @maracepeda.