The Supreme Court has affirmed the conviction for violation of the Anti-Child Abuse Law of an accused who uttered remarks that attacked the character, reputation, and dignity of a minor.

In a Decision penned by Associate Justice Jhosep Y. Lopez, the Supreme Court’s Second Division denied the petition for review on certiorari filed by Rowena B. Plasan (Plasan). The petition challenged the rulings of the Court of Appeals (CA) which had affirmed with modification the judgement of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) convicting Plasan for violation of the Republic Act No. 7610, or the Anti-Child Abuse Law.

An Information was filed before the RTC against Plasan for inflicting emotional abuse and psychological maltreatment on 16-year-old AAA262122, after the former loudly remarked to her friend, Jaja, while at a barbecue stand: “Ja, look at [AAA262122], is that the body of a virgin? She went to [XXX] with her parents for her to have an abortion.”

To determine the guilt of Plasan, who was charged for inflicting “emotional abuse…and other form[s] of psychological maltreatment to the prejudice of the psychological and mental development of the [victim],” which falls under Section 3(b)(1) of the Anti-Child Abuse Law, the general criminal intent to commit psychological abuse on the child victim must be considered.

Evidence shows that Plasan’s remarks attacking the character, reputation, and dignity of AAA262122 were expressed in the minor’s presence. The minor was thus exposed to contempt, ridicule, and humiliation, giving rise to psychological abuse under Section 3(b)(1) of the Anti-Child Abuse Law. As a result, AAA262122 felt ashamed and did not want to go out of their house anymore, stressed the Court.

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