In September 2011, a woman by the name of Shiela Macapugay hid a .38 caliber gun in the lining of her bag that was undetected by the security in the mall where her husband was working. She fired a fatal shot at her husband and in her attempt to kill herself immediately thereafter, also killed the security guard who tried to stop her from committing suicide.
The demise of Macapugay’s husband was not a simple but common occurrence. Her husband abandoned her and their child to be with another woman, and denied them of support. These are acts of violence against women protected by Republic Act No. 9262, otherwise known as the Anti-Violence Against Women and Children Act of 2004. Sheila Macapugay is now facing charges of both parricide and murder for the tragedy. If convicted, she will suffer a fate of imprisonment, reclusion perpetua. Fortunately, because of RA 9262, she has a defense available. Her counsel may present evidence that she was suffering from Battered Woman Syndrome (BWS), a justifying circumstance under RA 9262.
Notably, years ago before there was RA 9262, a policewoman, who was battered by her husband, shot him. She pleaded guilty, and years later, was released on parole. Such case would have been a good test case for BWS as a defense but there was no RA 9262 then. This paper will discuss the legal concepts, as well as the issues and problems of BWS as a legal defense, and the role of psychiatrists, psychologists, barangay officials and counselors. Macapugay’s case has been witnessed by society and jurisprudence since time immemorial, and now, it is a good test case to use the innovations created in RA 9262.