News Release

09 September 2009

The view that marital abuse is a domestic problem is as primitive as prehistoric men abducting potential wives. That National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales still holds this view shows how ignorant he is in the advancement of protecting women’s rights. He should just shut up,” said GABRIELA secretary general Emmi de Jesus.
The statement was issued by the women’s group in reaction to the Security Adviser’s hesitance to act on clamors to fire his deputy, Luis “Chavit” Singson, who recently admitted to beating up his former live-in partner, Raquel “Che” Tiongson.
“Domestic abuse is a form of violence against women. It is a public crime and is punishable by law. Thus, whether or not marital abuse involves known personalities and is a celebrated case, it is never merely a domestic problem. It is precisely this archaic view that makes it difficult to address and stop such abuses within a family,” said de Jesus.
De Jesus added that is appalling that Gonzales seems to be ignorant of laws and legislation on the protection of women’s right. “In 1981, Philippines ratified the Convention for the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), which recognizes women’s rights as human rights. Moreover, last August 14, the Magna Carta of Women had been passed.”

De Jesus cited Chapter IV Section 9 of the Magna Carta of Women stating that “(T)he State shall ensure that all women shall be protected from all forms of violence as provided for in existing laws. Agencies of government shall give priority to the defense and protection of women against gender-based offenses and help women attain justice and healing. Towards this end, measures to prosecute and reform offender shall likewise be pursued.”

De Jesus added that Gonzales and even Malacañang may be held liable should the government fail to sanction Singson. “The Magna Carta clearly states that public officials are duty bound to uphold and protect women’s rights and that they should be held liable for failing to perform this responsibility.*”

“But more than any law or legislation, a mere sense of decency should compel any public official to punish perpetrators of violence against women. Apparently, though, ‘decency’ is not part of the vocabulary of the current government,” concluded de Jesus.

*“States and other duty-bearers are answerable for the observance of human rights. They have to comply with the legal norms and standards enshrined in international human rights instruments in accordance with the Philippine Constitution. Where they fail to do so, aggrieved rights-holders are entitled to institute proceedings for appropriate redress before a competent court or other adjudication in accordance with the rules and procedures provided by law.” [Republic Act 9710 Chapter I, Section 3]

Public Information Department
GABRIELA National Office
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