Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The Marivic Genosa Case

People of the Philippines vs. Marivic Genosa

On November 18, 1995,  SPO3 Leo Acodesin, then assigned at the police station at Isabel, Leyte, received a report regarding the foul smell at the Genosas’ rented house.  Together with other police personnel, they  proceeded to the house and went inside the bedroom where they found the dead body of Ben lying on his side wrapped with a bedsheet.  There was blood at the nape of Ben who only had his briefs on.  The bedroom was not in disarray.

Marivic and Ben Genosa were united in marriage on November 19, 1983 in Ormoc City.  Thereafter, they lived with the parents of Ben in their house at Isabel, Leyte.  For a time, Ben’s younger brother, Alex, and his wife lived with them too.  Sometime in 1995, however, Marivic and Ben rented from Steban Matiga a house at Barangay Bilwang, Isabel, Leyte where they lived with their two children, namely: John Marben and Earl Pierre.

During their first year of marriage, Marivic and Ben Genosa lived happily just like most couples. But, apparently thereafter, Ben changed and the couple would always quarrel and sometimes their quarrels become violent. Marivic testified that every time her husband came home drunk, he would provoke her and sometimes beat her.

Photo by Rappler (Sexual Abuse cases)
On November 15, 1995, Marivic was at home from work and she got worried that her husband who was not home yet might have gone gambling since it was a payday.  With her cousin Ecel Araño, Marivic went to look for Ben at the marketplace and taverns at Isabel, Leyte but did not find him there.  They found Ben drunk upon their return at the Genosas’ house.  Ecel went home despite Marivic’s request for her to sleep in their house.

Then, Ben purportedly nagged Marivic for following him, even challenging her to a fight.  She allegedly ignored him and instead attended to their children who were doing their homework.  Apparently disappointed with her reaction, Ben switched off the light and, with the use of a chopping knife, cut the television antenna or wire to keep her away from watching television.  According to Marivic, Ben was about to attack her so she ran to the bedroom, but he got hold of her hands and whirled her around.  She fell on the side of the bed and screamed for help.  Ben left. 

At this point, Marivic packed his clothes because she wanted him to leave.  Seeing his packed clothes upon his return home, Ben allegedly flew into a rage, dragged her outside of the bedroom towards a drawer holding her by the neck, and told her ‘You might as well be killed so nobody would nag me.’  Marivic was aware that there was a gun inside the drawer but since Ben did not have the key to it, he got a three-inch long blade cutter from his wallet.  She however, ‘smashed’ the arm of Ben with a pipe, causing him to drop the blade and his wallet.  Appellant then ‘smashed’ Ben at his nape with the pipe as he was about to pick up the blade and his wallet.  She thereafter ran inside the bedroom. What happened next escape her thoughts. Ben laid there bathed in his own blood.

Marivic confessed to the crime a few days later. She insisted that she ended the life of her husband by shooting him.  She supposedly tore down the drawer where the gun was and shot Ben.  He did not die on the spot, though, but in the bedroom.”

This unfortunate case went to the Supreme Court which convicted Marivic Genosa with a ‘mitigated (or lessened) penalty’ because they nonetheless agreed that Marivic acted upon an impulse so powerful as to have naturally produced passion or obfuscation. The acute battering she suffered that fatal night in the hands of her batterer-spouse, in spite of the fact that she was eight (8) months pregnant with their child, overwhelmed her and put her in the aforesaid emotional and mental state, which overcame her reason and impelled her to vindicate her life and that of her unborn child. This case brought about the use of “Battered Woman Syndrome as a justifying circumstance in criminal cases (although it was only appreciated as a mitigating circumstance in this case).

 Republic Act 9262 or the “Anti-Violence Against Women and their Children Act of 2004” became law after the Genosa decision. RA 9262 defines BWS as “a scientifically defined pattern of psychological and behavioral symptoms found in women living in battering relationships as a result of cumulative abuse.”

Under RA 9262, if an abused woman kills or inflict physical injuries on her abusive husband or live-in partner, once the trial court determines that she is suffering from the “Battered Woman Syndrome,” the court will declare her not guilty. (As I mentioned above, the Court stated that BWS was not proven in Genosa’s case and that the provisions of the Revised Penal Code on the elements of justifying circumstances on self-defense thus had to be followed.)

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