A MAN was charged with violation of Republic Act 7610 for his acts of holding and embracing a 17-year-old girl against her will and using force and intimidation.

The witnesses testified that the man forced his way into the room of the girl and even threatened the girl that if she will not accept his love, he will kill her.

The man, who was actually old enough to be the girl’s grandfather, confirmed that he was courting the girl but denied that he embraced her. He claimed that the girl gave him a signal to follow her to the room and that when they were in the room, he only told her of his feelings.

The trial court found the man guilty of violating Section 10(a) of R.A. 7610 which punishes other acts of child abuse, cruelty or exploitation or conditions prejudicial to the child’s development including those covered by Article 59 of Presidential Decree 603.

The Supreme Court, in affirmation of the ruling, stated that the man’s act of forcibly embracing her and threatening to kill her are devious acts that must have shattered the victim’s self-esteem and womanhood. It debased, degraded or demeaned her intrinsic worth and dignity. The Court noted that the man traumatized and gravely threatened the normal development of the innocent girl. He also betrayed the trust that young girls place in the adult members of the community who are expected to guide and nurture the well-being of these fragile members of the society. The Supreme Court declared such insensible act as a form of child abuse. (Araneta vs. People of the Philippines, G.R. 174205 [2008])