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Republic of the Philippines

SUPREME COURT
Manila

FIRST DIVISION

Bongalon v. People of the Philippines


G.R. no. 169533, March 20,2013

FACTS FROM THE CASE

Dates

1. May 11, 2000 – Date when the crime happened.


2. June 26, 2000 – The Prosecutor’s Office of Legazpi City charged the
Petitioner, George Bongalon in the Regional Trial Court with Child
Abuse, an act in violation of Section 10(a) of Republic Act No. 7610.
3. June 22, 2005 – The Court of Appeals (CA) affirmed the conviction of
the petitioner for the crime of Child Abuse under Section 10(a) of
Republic Act No. 7610

Place: Evening Procession for Sto. Nino at Oro Site, Legazpi City

The Prosecution showed that on May 11, 2000, Jayson Dela Cruz (Jayson), 12 years
of age and Roldan, his older brother, both minors, joined the evening procession for
the Sto. Nino at Oro Site in Legazpi City. When the procession passed in front of the
house of the petitioner, the petitioner’s daughter, Mary Anne Rose, also a minor,
threw stones at Jayson and called him sissy. The petitioner confronted the two
brothers and called them “strangers” and “animals” and struck Jayson at the back
with his hand and slapped his face. He also went to the house of the two brothers
and challenged their father, Rolando Dela Cruz to a fight, but Rolando refused to
engage to a fight with the petitioner. Rolando brought Jayson to the Legazpi City
Police Station and reported the incident. Jayson also underwent medical treatment
at the Bicol Regional Training and Teaching Hospital and the doctors who examined
him testified that he suffered contusions.

George Bongalon on the other hand, denied that he physically abused and
maltreated Jayson and explained that he only confronted them after Mary Anne
Rose and Cherrylyn, his minor daughters had told him about Jayson and Roldan
throwing stones at them and about Jayson burning Cherrylyn’s hair. Mary Anne
Rose corroborated his father’s testimony by testifying that her father did not hit or
slap but only confronted Jayson, asking why Jayson had called her daughters "Kimi"
and why he had burned Cherrlyn’s hair.
Mary Ann Rose denied throwing stones at Jayson and calling him a "sissy." She
insisted that it was instead Jayson who had pelted her with stones during the
procession. She described the petitioner as a loving and protective father.

The RTC found and declared the petitioner guilty beyond reasonable doubt of child
abuse, an act in violation of R.A no. 7610. The Court of Appeals (CA) has affirmed the
conviction of the RTC.

ISSUE

Whether or not the petitioner be convicted for the crime of child abuse even if he
only acted to protect her two minor daughters.

RULING

The Supreme Court at bar disagrees with the holding of the RTC and Court of
Appeals that the petitioner’s acts constituted child abuse. The records did not
establish beyond reasonable doubt that Bongalon’s laying of hands on Jayson had
been intended to demean, debase, and degrade the latters intrinsic worth and
dignity as a child. It was shown through the records that the petitioner’s laying of
hands was out of outburst of anger, indicative of fatherly concern for the personal
safety of his own two minor daughters who had just suffered harm at the hands of
Jayson and Roldan. With the loss of self-control, he lacked specific intent to debase,
degrade or demean the intrinsic worth and dignity of the child. Thus, the Supreme
Court enters new judgment finding the petitioner George Bongalon guilty beyond
reasonable doubt of the crime of slight physical injuries under Paragraph 1, Article
266, of the Revised Penal Code.