DOJ sends ex-husband of mayoral candidate to prison for VAWC

04 September 2015

The Department of Justice scored another victory with the conviction of the estranged husband of a former municipal councilor for Violation of RA 9262 (Anti-Violence against Women and Their Children Act).

In a six-page Amended Decision, the Regional Trial Court of Surigao City Branch 29 found Jerry Escabal guilty beyond reasonable doubt for violation of the said law. He was meted the penalty of imprisonment for a period of three months of arresto mayor, and fine of P100,000.

In the Information, the Surigao City Prosecutor’s Office alleged that on April 22, 2011, Escabal “held tightly, box[ed], and made physical violence upon his wife, Liberata Escabal, thereby inflicting upon the latter physical injuries.”

Liberata served as Councilor of San Francisco (Anao-Aon), Surigao del Norte and later ran but lost during the mayoralty race in 2010.

It was alleged that the incident occurred after Liberata opened her “bodega” which she found locked with 2x2 pieces of wood nailed on its front door and blocked with used tires.

During trial, Escabal denied the charge.

He narrated that the two of them were married since December 9, 1989 but they lived separately after the elections, when their “fish buying” business suffered a lot prompting them to put up separate businesses but their bodegas are located beside each other.

He claimed at the time of the incident, he found his bodega “locked and blocked with tires and other objects” by his estranged wife.

But the court gave weight to the testimony of Liberata. It said “the bodega of accused had no problem at all. It was Liberata’s bodega that was blocked by him and she wanted the same opened. Hence, the subsequent scuffle resulted in bodily injuries upon her.” 

In his Decision, Presiding Judge Victor Canoy further said “since there was violence committed against his wife Liberata, the VAWC elements are present.”

Justice Secretary Leila De Lima commended government prosecutors for the successful prosecution of the case.  She said, “The State recognizes that women and children are in a disadvantaged position in an abusive relationship. Hence, the law (RA 9262) was enacted to protect them.”

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