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We reject petitioner's contention that his act of whipping AAA is

not child abuse but merely slight physical injuries under the Revised Penal
Code. The victim, AAA, was a child when the incident occurred. Therefore, AAA
is entitled to protection under Republic Act No. 7610, the primary purpose of
which has been defined in Araneta v. People: 66
Republic Act No. 7610 is a measure geared towards the
implementation of a national comprehensive program for the survival of
the most vulnerable members of the population, the Filipino children, in
keeping with the Constitutional mandate under Article XV, Section 3,
paragraph 2, that "The State shall defend the right of the children to
assistance, including proper care and nutrition, and special protection
from all forms of neglect, abuse, cruelty, exploitation, and other
conditions prejudicial to their development." 67 (Emphasis omitted,
citation omitted)
Under Section 3 (b) of Republic Act No. 7610, child abuse is defined,
thus:
Section 3. Definition of Terms.
xxx xxx xxx
(b) "Child abuse" refers to the maltreatment, whether habitual or not, of
the child which includes any of the following:
(1) Psychological and physical abuse, neglect, cruelty,
sexual abuse and emotional maltreatment;
(2) Any act by deeds or words which debases, degrades
or demeans the intrinsic worth and dignity of a child as a
human being;
(3) Unreasonable deprivation of his basic needs for
survival, such as food and shelter; or
(4) Failure to immediately give medical treatment to an
injured child resulting in serious impairment of his growth
and development or in his permanent incapacity or death.
(Emphasis supplied) ATICcS

As can be gleaned from this provision, a person who commits an act that
debases, degrades, or demeans the intrinsic worth and dignity of the child as a
human being, whether habitual or not, can be held liable for violation ofRepublic
Act No. 7610.
Although it is true that not every instance of laying of hands on the child
constitutes child abuse, 68 petitioner's intention to debase, degrade, and
demean the intrinsic worth and dignity of a child can be inferred from the
manner in which he committed the act complained of.
To note, petitioner used a wet t-shirt to whip the child not just once but
three (3) times. 69 Common sense and human experience would suggest that
hitting a sensitive body part, such as the neck, with a wet t-shirt would cause
an extreme amount of pain, especially so if it was done several times. There is
also reason to believe that petitioner used excessive force. Otherwise, AAA
would not have fallen down the stairs at the third strike. AAA would likewise not
have sustained a contusion.
Indeed, if the only intention of petitioner were to discipline AAA and stop
him from interfering, he could have resorted to other less violent means. Instead
of reprimanding AAA or walking away, petitioner chose to hit the latter.
We find petitioner liable for other acts of child abuse under Article VI,
Section 10 (a) of Republic Act No. 7610, which provides that "a person who
shall commit any other acts of child abuse, cruelty or exploitation or be
responsible for other conditions prejudicial to the child's development . . . shall
suffer the penalty of prision mayor in its minimum period." 70
In Araneta:
[Article VI, Section 10(a) of Republic Act No. 7610] punishes not only
those enumerated under Article 59 of Presidential Decree No. 603, but
also four distinct acts, i.e., (a) child abuse, (b) child cruelty, (c) child
exploitation and (d) being responsible for conditions prejudicial to the
child's development. The Rules and Regulations of the questioned
statute distinctly and separately defined child abuse, cruelty and
exploitation just to show that these three acts are different from one
another and from the act prejudicial to the child's development. . . . [An]
accused can be prosecuted and be convicted under Section 10(a),
Article VI of Republic Act No. 7610 if he commits any of the four acts
therein. The prosecution need not prove that the acts
of child abuse, child cruelty and child exploitation have resulted in the
prejudice of the child because an act prejudicial to the development of
the child is different from the former acts.
Moreover, it is a rule in statutory construction that the word "or" is
a disjunctive term signifying dissociation and independence of one thing
from other things enumerated. It should, as a rule, be construed in the
sense which it ordinarily implies. Hence, the use of "or" in Section 10(a)
of Republic Act No. 7610 before the phrase "be responsible for other
conditions prejudicial to the child's development" supposes that there
are four punishable acts therein. First, the act of child abuse;
second, child cruelty; third, child exploitation; and fourth, being
responsible for conditions prejudicial to the child's development. The
fourth penalized act cannot be interpreted . . . as a qualifying condition
for the three other acts, because an analysis of the entire context of the
questioned provision does not warrant such construal. 71 (Emphasis
supplied) TIADCc
||| (Torres y Salera v. People, G.R. No. 206627, [January 18, 2017])

The petitioner's right to liberty is in jeopardy. He may be entirely deprived of


such birthright without due process of law unless we shunt aside the rigidity of the
rules of procedure and review his case. Hence, we treat this recourse as an appeal
timely brought to the Court. Consonant with the basic rule in criminal procedure
that an appeal opens the whole case for review, we should deem it our duty to
correct errors in the appealed judgment, whether assigned or not. 17 DTIcSH

The law under which the petitioner was charged, tried and found guilty of
violating is Section 10 (a), Article VI of Republic Act No. 7610, which relevantly
states:
Section 10. Other Acts of Neglect, Abuse, Cruelty or Exploitation
and other Conditions Prejudicial to the Child's Development. —
(a) Any person who shall commit any other acts of child abuse,
cruelty or exploitation or be responsible for other conditions prejudicial to
the child's development including those covered by Article 59
of Presidential Decree No. 603, as amended, but not covered by
the Revised Penal Code, as amended, shall suffer the penalty of prision
mayor in its minimum period.
xxx xxx xxx
Child abuse, the crime charged, is defined by Section 3 (b) of Republic Act
No. 7610, as follows:
Section 3. Definition of terms. —
xxx xxx xxx
(b) "Child Abuse" refers to the maltreatment, whether habitual or
not, of the child which includes any of the following:
(1) Psychological and physical abuse, neglect, cruelty, sexual
abuse and emotional maltreatment;
(2) Any act by deeds or words which debases, degrades or
demeans the intrinsic worth and dignity of a child as a human being;
(3) Unreasonable deprivation of his basic needs for survival, such
as food and shelter; or
(4) Failure to immediately give medical treatment to an injured child
resulting in serious impairment of his growth and development or in his
permanent incapacity or death.
xxx xxx xxx
Although we affirm the factual findings of fact by the RTC and the CA to the
effect that the petitioner struck Jayson at the back with his hand and slapped
Jayson on the face, we disagree with their holding that his acts
constitutedchild abuse within the purview of the above-quoted provisions. The
records did not establish beyond reasonable doubt that his laying of hands on
Jayson had been intended to debase the "intrinsic worth and dignity" of Jayson as
a human being, or that he had thereby intended to humiliate or embarrass Jayson.
The records showed the laying of hands on
Jayson to have been done at the spur of the moment and in anger, indicative
of his being then overwhelmed by his fatherly concern for the personal safety of
his own minor daughters who had just suffered harm at the hands of Jayson and
Roldan. With the loss of his self-control, he lacked that specific intent to debase,
degrade or demean the intrinsic worth and dignity of a child as a human being that
was so essential in the crime of child abuse.
It is not trite to remind that under the well-recognized doctrine of pro
reo every doubt is resolved in favor of the petitioner as the accused. Thus, the
Court should consider all possible circumstances in his favor. 18
What crime, then, did the petitioner commit?
Considering that Jayson's physical injury required five to seven days of
medical attention, 19 the petitioner was liable for slight physical injuries under
Article 266 (1) of the Revised Penal Code, to wit:
Article 266. Slight physical injuries and maltreatment. — The crime
of slight physical injuries shall be punished:
1. By arresto menor when the offender has inflicted physical
injuries which shall incapacitate the offended party for labor from one to
nine days, or shall require medical attendance during the same period.
||| (Bongalon v. People, G.R. No. 169533, [March 20, 2013], 707 PHIL 11-23)

Section 10 (a) of Republic Act No. 7610 punishes four (4) distinct
offenses, i.e.,(a) child abuse, (b) child cruelty, (c) child exploitation, and (d)
being responsible for conditions prejudicial to the child's development. 58 As
correctly ruled by the Court of Appeals, the element that the acts must be
prejudicial to the child's development pertains only to the fourth offense. Thus:
Instructive is Araneta v. People which held, viz.:
As gleaned from the foregoing, the provision
punishes not only those enumerated under Article 59
of Presidential Decree No. 603, but also four distinct
acts, i.e.,(a) child abuse, (b) child cruelty, (c) child
exploitation and (d) being responsible for conditions
prejudicial to the child's development. The Rules and
Regulations of the questioned statute distinctly and
separately defined child abuse, cruelty and exploitation
just to show that these three acts are different from one
another and from the act prejudicial to the child's
development. Contrary to petitioner's assertion, an
accused can be prosecuted and be convicted under
Section 10(a), Article VI of Republic Act No. 7610 if he
commits any of the four acts therein.The prosecution need
not prove that the acts of child abuse, child cruelty and
child exploitation have resulted in the prejudice of the child
because an act prejudicial to the development of the child
is different from the former acts.
Moreover, it is a rule in statutory construction that
the word "or" is a disjunctive term signifying dissociation
and independence of one thing from other things
enumerated. It should, as a rule, be construed in the sense
which it ordinarily implies. Hence, the use of "or" in Section
10(a) of Republic Act No. 7610 before the phrase "be
responsible for other conditions prejudicial to the child's
development" supposes that there are four punishable
acts therein. First, the act
of child abuse;second, child cruelty;third, child
exploitation;and fourth, being responsible for conditions
prejudicial to the child's development. The fourth
penalized act cannot be interpreted, as petitioner
suggests, as a qualifying condition for the three other acts,
because an analysis of the entire context of the questioned
provision does not warrant such construal.
Contrary to the proposition of the appellant, the prosecution
need not prove that the acts of child abuse, child cruelty and child
exploitation have resulted in the prejudice of the child because an act
prejudicial to the development of the child is different from the former
acts. The element of resulting prejudice to the child's
development cannot be interpreted as a qualifying condition to the other
acts of child abuse, child cruelty and child exploitation. 59 (Emphasis in
the original, citations omitted)
Strangulating, severely pinching, and beating an eight (8)-year-old child
to cause her to limp are intrinsically cruel and excessive. These acts of abuse
impair the child's dignity and worth as a human being and infringe upon her
right to grow up in a safe, wholesome, and harmonious place. It is not difficult
to perceive that this experience of repeated physical abuse from petitioner
would prejudice the child's social, moral, and emotional development.
Petitioner's contention that she should only be convicted for slight
physical injuries in light of the ruling in Bongalon v. People,60 is likewise
untenable.
The facts in Bongalon are markedly different from this case.
In Bongalon, a father was overwhelmed by his parental concern for the
personal safety of his own minor daughters who had just suffered harm at the
hands of the minor complainant and hit the minor complainant's back with his
hand and slapped his left cheek. 61
Here, AAA was maltreated by petitioner through repeated acts of
strangulation, pinching, and beating. These are clearly extreme measures of
punishment not commensurate with the discipline of an eight (8)-year-old child.
Discipline is a loving response that seeks the positive welfare of a child.
Petitioner's actions are diametrically opposite. They are abusive, causing not
only physical injuries as evidenced by the physical marks on different parts of
AAA's body and the weakness of her left knee upon walking, but also emotional
trauma on her.
Republic Act No. 7610 is a measure geared to provide a strong
deterrence against child abuse and exploitation and to give a special protection
to children from all forms of neglect, abuse, cruelty, exploitation, and other
conditions prejudicial to their development. 62 It must be stressed that the crime
under Republic Act No. 7610 is malum prohibitum. 63 Hence, the intent to
debase, degrade, or demean the minor is not the defining mark. Any act of
punishment that debases, degrades, and demeans the intrinsic worth and
dignity of a child constitutes the offense.
||| (Lucido v. People, G.R. No. 217764, [August 7, 2017])