MANILA—Former noontime show Eat Bulaga talent Sugar Mercado on Friday filed a petition before the Supreme Court (SC) to stop the lower court from proceeding on the harassment suits filed by her estranged husband.
In her 83-page petition for certiorari and prohibition with urgent prayer for a temporary restraining order (TRO), Mercado, former member of Sexbomb girls, asked the high court as defense to the countless frivolous cases filed against her by estranged husband Kristoffer Jay Go.
Mercado has been facing various civil and criminal cases filed by Go which include child abuse, libel, physical injuries, slander by deed, unjust vexation unlawful arrest, slight physical injuries, grave coercion, grave threats and indirect contempt. The cases have been filed after the main custody case was filed in court.
Mercado, who was accompanied by Gabriela Women’s Party (GWP), said the string of cases filed is a form of SLAPP or the Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation.
“They are mere harassment or vexatious cases meant to threaten and instill fear on victims of abuse, especially those who lack or have no access to courts,” read the petition.
SLAPP, according to petitioner renders ineffective protection orders as a form of remedy to protect victims of violence and abuse.
The GWP asserts that the harassment cases against Mercado and her parents, which include child abuse and physical injuries, are forms of SLAPP meant to daunt victims of abuse from seeking justice, especially those who lack or have no access to the courts.
”We stand with Sugar Mercado as she elevates her battle to the high court and as she stand in behalf of thousands of Violence Against Women and Children (VAWC) victims. We ask the SC to draw line on this case to grant protection to harassed and abused women and to stop the abuse in the fomr fo filing SLAPP cases against VAWC victims,” said GWP Rep. Emmi De Jesus.
De Jesus said the filing of SLAPP or harassment suits against VAWC victims “debases the very essence of Republic Act 9262 or the Anti-Violence Against Women and Children Act,” adding that VAWC victims are victimized several times over under the current scheme of things.
She noted that the SLAPP cases have put Mercado in a very ugly ordeal, dragging her and her parents to court hearings several times and forcing her to face her abuser.
”Imagine the ordeal that every VAWC victim currently suffers as abusers abuse the legal system to harass and silence them. With Sugar’s case, we hope that SC will consider SLAPP as a form of VAWC in itself,” De Jesus explained.
Petitioner said the high court promulgate rules concerning the protection and enforcement of constitutional rights of women who are victims of abuse.
Petitioner noted that the high court has already provided remedies against harassment suits against environmental advocates making them confident that they will also protect the abused women by providing anti-harassment remedies.
“Declaring vexatious and harassment cases as SLAPPs and prohibiting the exercise of the same is well within the power of the Honorable Court to promulgate rules concerning the protection and enforcement of constitutional rights,” the petition stated.
“In fact, the Honorable Court has already promulgated the Rules on Violence Against Women and Children or A.M. No. 04-10-11-SC. However the current situation that afflicts abuse victims necessitate the promulgation or amendment of the said rules to include the necessary protection and to prevent abusers from using and abusing judicial processes to inflict additional violence,” it added.