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Claudine, Jewel, Sunshine, Who’s Stepping Out Next?

Claudine Baretto, Jewel Lobaton, and Sunshine Cruz are popular women not only trying to move on with their lives, but also victims hoping to redeem their dignity after going through alleged abuses defined under Republic Act 9262 or Anti-Violence Against Women and Children (VAWC) Act of 2004.

On August 8, 2013, Claudine Baretto expressed her intent to file charges against husband Raymart Santiago for violation of R.A. 9262. According to her legal counsel, Atty. Ferdinand Topacio, Gabriela will handle the filing of necessary charges before the court. The local women’s rights group was convinced that Santiago violated the VAWC law.

On the same day, it can be recalled that the Marikina Regional Trial Court decided in favor of Santiago’s petition for habeas corpus, pertaining to the custody case against his wife. While Santiago finally had the chance to be reunited with his kids Sabina and Santino, he was earlier barred from getting within 300-meter radius from his wife, children, and the family home by virtue of the temporary protection order (TPO) granted in view of alleged physical, verbal, psychological, and financial abuses against Baretto.

Santiago nonetheless denied allegations thrown against him. In a press statement, he claimed that he neither abused his wife nor caused harm to his kids. He also revealed that Baretto is good at making up stories. Was he referring to his wife’s controversial photo uploaded on Instagram showing off a bruise on her right cheek?

Amid the word wars and publicity stunts between the two camps, the public can’t help but look back on the couple’s seemingly strong partnership, particularly when they fought against Mon Tulfo from the airport to the court – which ruled to dismiss the latter’s charges early this year. United they stood and won against the fierce broadcaster, but they are likely to fall divided, pitted against each other, and exposing skeletons in their closets.

Yet another VAWC claim courtesy of a former beauty queen…

Former beauty queen Jewel Lobaton might have denied rumors that she was physically abused by Senator Koko Pimentel, but she has found her way in court to sue her estranged husband allegedly for psychological and emotional abuses under R.A. 9262. She took her chance to speak about her plan of filing VAWC charges against Pimentel during her induction as president of the Inner Wheel Club of Manila earlier this week.

Lobaton’s lawyer, Atty. Salvador Panelo, asserted that his client was psychologically abused tantamount to torture by the incumbent senator. Although he didn’t provide details pertaining to the psychological violence, he cited that such a form of abuse runs deeper than physical torment. Also, he slammed Pimentel’s contention that the VAWC allegation is not a national issue saying, “Any violation of the human rights of a person is a national concern,” in an ABS-CBN report.

Meanwhile, Jewel Lobaton confessed that she was dismayed when Pimentel failed to clear her name or even come to her defense on the PDAF scam with her alleged Php10 million request from Janet Napoles. She also relayed her disappointment over the senator’s failure to extend sufficient financial support to their children.

Senator Koko Pimentel, on the other hand, refused to comment on the issue as a gesture of respect toward his family and his kids. But, he promised to answer all allegations in court as soon as charges have been filed. Apparently, he’s not taking his chances in public trial, being a top-caliber lawyer.

Latest VAWC case again filed by a showbiz personality…

If Lobaton didn’t raise physical abuse in her VAWC accusations against Senator Pimentel, Sunshine Cruz was furious in enumerating incidents of physical violence she had experienced in the hands of husband Cesar Montano. She was allegedly slapped and thrown against the wall by her husband, not to mention the much-talked-about marital rape during Mother’s Day.

Based on the statement of her lawyer, Cruz tried to keep everything to herself to protect the reputation of her husband for the sake of their children. She only decided to take the matter to court when Montano refused to return their kids back in her custody since July 29. Their marriage allegedly fell apart early this year following Montano’s affair with Krista Miller.

Labelled as a “domineering, philandering husband” in her affidavit filed before the Prosecutor’s Office in Quezon City on August 13, According to news reports, Cruz further contended that her husband employed continuous harassment through threats of physical harm. Montano also allegedly sent her offensive text messages.

Whatever it’s worth, VAWC could make a great refuge…

Looking into the issues, all three VAWC allegations involved women who are no longer living under the same roof with their husbands for quite some time. It is noteworthy that the accusations weren’t done immediately after the abusive acts had been committed. The victims only went public after several months, or even years, although it doesn’t overlook the fact that violence inflicts incessant agony over time.

But seriously, why now? Two of the victims, Baretto and Cruz, sought for custody of their children and temporary protection order against their husbands. While Baretto is currently in custody of her children denying Santiago of his visitation rights, Cruz was refused to see her kids taken by Montano last month. As for Lobaton, she stated that Pimentel measly extended financial support to their kids.

Mothers, especially showbiz personalities, aren’t afraid to make matters public when child custody is at stake. It was only recently when Kris Aquino and James Yap settled the latter’s visitation rights pertaining to their son Bimby following approval of permanent protection order filed by the former against her ex-husband. Nobody was able to stop Jackie Forster’s long plea to be with her sons through social media posts and television interview. No offense, but are they trying to put on a good show with their sympathy cards?

Be that as it may, the state doesn’t condone marital abuse, hence, the enactment of R.A. 9262 protecting all women, whether or not affiliated with the showbiz industry. Violence against women and children as defined by law “refers to any act or a series of acts committed by any person against a woman who is his wife, former wife, or against a woman with whom the person has or had a sexual or dating relationship, or with whom he has a common child, or against her child whether legitimate or illegitimate, within or without the family abode, which result in or is likely to result in physical, sexual, psychological harm or suffering, or economic abuse including threats of such acts, battery, assault, coercion, harassment or arbitrary deprivation of liberty.”

If you happen to be a victim, you better step out to assert your rights against marital abuses before getting stuck not only with a violent partner and an ugly relationship but also with the infamous personality disorder called battered woman syndrome.



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