The Philippines

Working Paper
VAW Research Briefing - Yale Law School. Initiative on VAW, Carr Center, Harvard Kennedy School; Working Paper.Abstract

The presentation uses case studies from Bulgaria and the Philippines to analyze the effectiveness of CEDAW on a state-level. 

Guanzon RAV. Legal and Conceptual Framework of Battered Woman Syndrome as a Defence. Philippine Law Journal . 2012;86.Abstract

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.


Unveiling Justice: Women’s Access to Justice in the Philippines. Women's Legal and Human Rights Bureau; 2012. Publisher's VersionAbstract

The submission to the UPR process elaborated by the Women´s Legal and Human Rights Bureau, Inc from the Philippines addresses the issue of women’s access to justice in the country, which highlights technology-related violence against women (VAW) as an emerging form of VAW. The submission also looks at the gaps and challenges in available domestic remedies to survivors of violence and abuse against women online, criticizing that existing laws on VAW do not guarantee the prosecution of technology-related VAW. It further highlights the importance of women’s access to the internet and their representation in policy processes as integral to their right to access to justice.

CEDAW. Case of Vertido v. Philippines. Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW); 2010. Publisher's VersionAbstract


In 1996, Karen Tayag Vertido worked as Executive Director of the Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry in the Philippines.  She filed a complaint against the then President of the Chamber, Jose B. Custodio, accusing him of raping her.  She alleged that the accused offered her a lift home following a business meeting one evening and that, instead, raped her in a nearby hotel.

Ms Vertido subsequently submitted a communication to the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW Committee).  She alleged that the acquittal of Mr Custodio breached the right to non-discrimination, the right to an effective remedy, and the freedom from wrongful gender stereotyping, in violation of articles 2(c), 2(d), 2(f) and 5(a) of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).


Breaking the Silence, Seeking Justice in Intimate Partner Violence in the Philippines. Women Working Together to Stop Violence against Women; 2009. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Violence against women (VAW), in its various forms – physical, psychological and sexual – continues to be pervasive in the Philippines. Violence against women by State actors was highlighted at the time of martial rule when detained women suffered sexual abuse, torture and other ill-treatment. The human rights issue was largely viewed as State violence, and minimal attention was given to VAW by non-State actors or private individuals, particularly in inter-relational contexts. 

Guanzon RAV, Sercado A. Issues and Problems in the Enforcement of the Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children Act of 2004. Philippine Law Journal . 2008;83 :312-387.Abstract

Since   1995,   violence   against   women   (VAW)   has   captured   the attention  of the  government  and  legislators  in  the  Philippines  as  a  result  of the  demand  of  a  growing  women’s  human  rights  movement  and  the  State Obligation  of  the  Philippine  Government  under  the  Convention  on  the Elimination  of  All  Forms  of  Discrimination  Against  Women,  its  Optional Protocol as well as other international conventions. The Beijing Conference on Women in 1995 heightened the demand of women’s rights advocates for laws protecting women from violence all over the world.

Progressive reforms in laws protecting women  were brought about by several factors beginning with the democratization process that started in the 1986 People Power  Revolution after the fall of the Marcos dictatorship, the  1987  Constitution  that  has  specific  provisions  on  the  rights  of  women and fundamental equality before the law of men and women, the increasing number  of  women’s  organizations  in  the  provinces  with  links  to  Metro Manila based women’s human rights organizations, and the participation of women  legislations  who  are  becoming  increasingly  aware  of  the  need  for gender  equality  and  the  elimination  of  VAW.  This  period  marks  the contribution  of  women  legislators  who  were  elected  in  the  1992  elections and thereafter.

Guanzon RV. Laws on Violence Against Women in the Philippines, in Expert Group Meeting on good practices in legislation on violence against women . ; 2008.Abstract

Since 1995, violence against women (VAW) has captured the attention of the government and legislators in the Philippines, propelled by the demand of a growing women’s human rights movement and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, its Optional Protocol as well as other international conventions. The Beijing Conference on Women in 1995 heightened the demand of women’s rights advocates for laws protecting women from violence.

Progressive reforms in laws protecting women was brought about by several factors beginning with the democratization process that began in the 1986 People Power Revolution after the fall of the Marcos dictatorship, the 1987 Constitution that has specific provisions on the rights of women and fundamental equality before the law of men and women, the increasing number of women’s organizations in the provinces with links to Metro Manila based women’s rights organizations, and the participation of women legislations who are becoming increasingly aware of the need for gender equality and the elimination of VAW. This period marks the contribution of women legislators who were elected in the 1988 elections and thereafter. 

Philippines National Demographic and Health Survey. National Statistics Office; 2008. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Document is top result

The National Statistics Office (NSO) is pleased to present this final report on the 2008 National Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS). The survey is the ninth in a series of surveys conducted every five years since 1968 designed to assess the demographic and health situation in the country. The 2008 NDHS provides basic indicators on fertility, childhood mortality, contraceptive knowledge and use, maternal and child health, nutritional status of mothers and children, and knowledge, attitude and behavior regarding HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis. For the first time, data on violence against women were collected in this round of the DHS. Fieldwork for the 2008 NDHS was carried out from August 7 to September 27, 2008 covering a national sample of approximately 13,000 households and 14,000 women aged 15 to 49 years.

Guanzon RV, Calalang CM. The Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act: Issues and Problems. Journal of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines. 2004;30 (1) :79-91.Abstract

Trafficking in persons, especially in women and children, is a highly lucrative business worldwide. Millions of women and girls, mostly from poor countries, are trafficked globally into the sex industry. They are traded as objects or goods to be used like any commodity. This human rights problem has been the subject of  various international instruments, including, notably, the 1949 Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others. Trafficking victimizes mostly women and girls because of gender discrimination and their vulnerability.

In response to this problem, many countries have signed or acceded to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) which obliges States to pass laws to stop trafficking. The Philippines ratified this convention in 1981. These international instruments notwithstanding, trafficking continues unabated, with syndicates preying on vulnerable women and children from developing countries like the Philippines, Cambodia and Thailand. It thrives as a very lucrative business because there is an existing demand for cheap labor, sex slaves, and organs of human beings. Traffickers take advantage of the lack of laws and inadequate government policies, poor law enforcement, corruption in government, political and economic conditions of the countries of origin, as well as the domestic situations of their target victims.


The Anti Trafficking in Persons act - Issues and Problems
State violence in the Philippines. Geneva: World Organisation Against Torture; 2003. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Writing alternative reports is one of the main activities of the OMCT and a vital source of information for the members of the Human Rights Committee. With these reports, it is possible to see the situation as objectively as possible and take a critical look at government action to eradicate torture.

Under the aegis of the European Union and the Swiss Confederation, the “Special Procedures” program presented this report on state violence and torture in the Philippines at the 79th session of the Human rights Committee, which took place in Geneva from 20th October to 7th November 2003 and during which the Government’s report of the Philippines was examined.

The study is divided into three parts. Part I provides a general overview of torture and inhuman or degrading treatments (in prisons in particular) committed by state officials. Parts II and III deal with torture and inhuman or degrading treatments of women and children respectively. This rather novel approach sheds light on the situation of particularly vulnerable groups of people. The Human Rights Committee’s Concluding Observations and Recommendations adopted following examination of the Filipino Government’s Report are included in the Appendices.