CASE DIGEST: Randy Michael Knutson, acting on behalf of minor Rhuby Sibal Knutson Vs. Hon. Elisa R. Sarmiento-Flores and Rosalina Sibal Knutson, G.R. No. 239215. July 12, 2022 


Randy Michael Knutson, an American citizen, met Rosalina Sibal Knutson in Singapore. They got married and had a daughter named Rhuby. Later, Randy and Rosalina became estranged after he discovered her extra-marital affairs. Despite that, Randy supported Rosalina and Rhuby. 

Rosalina got hooked in casinos. She also incurred large debts from casino financiers prompting her to sell the house and lot, condominium unit, and vehicles that Randy provided for his family. Rosalina had illicit affairs. Later, Randy discovered that Rosalina maltreated her own mother in front of Rhuby. Rosalina also hurt her own daughter by pulling her hair, slapping her face, and knocking her head. One time, Rosalina pointed a knife at Rhuby and threatened to kill her. Rosalina also texted Randy about her plan to kill their daughter and commit suicide. Marijuana plants were confiscated in the apartment of Rosalina which caused her lease to be terminated.

Randy filed for the issuance of a Temporary and Permanent Protection Order before the RTC of Taguig City. Randy averred that Rosalina placed Rhuby in a harmful environment deleterious to her physical, emotional and psychological development.

The RTC dismissed the petition explaining that the protection and custody orders in RA 9262 cannot be issued against a mother who allegedly abused her own child. It ratiocinated that the child’s mother cannot be considered as an offender of the law. The remedies are not available to the father because he is not a “woman victim of violence.”

Randy moved for a reconsideration and argued that RA 9262 used the term “any person” which is not limited to male offenders. The law must be liberally construed to promote the protection and safety of victims of violence against women and their children. His motion for reconsideration was denied. Thus, he filed a Petition for Certiorari. 


1.     Can a father apply for protection and custody orders under RA 9262?

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Yes. A father is not denied of the remedies under RA 9262 solely because of his gender or that he is not a “woman victim of violence”. Section 9 (b) of Ra 9262 explicitly allows “parents or guardians of the offended party” to file a petition for protection orders. The statute categorically used the word “parents” which pertains to the father and the mother of the woman or child victim. Absolute Sentencia Expositore Non Indiget. The law speaks in clear language and no explanation is required. But take note that in this case, Randy is not asking for a protection order in his favor. Randy filed the petition on behalf of their minor daughter Rhuby. The petition is principally and directly for the protection of the minor child and not the father. The best interest of the child should be the primordial and paramount concern.

2. Can an abusive mother be an offender under RA 9262?

Yes. The law criminalizes acts of violence against women and their children perpetrated by women’s intimate partners, i.e., husband; former husband; or any person who has or had sexual or dating relationship with the woman, or with whom the woman has a common child. However, the Court in Garcia emphasized that the law does not single out the husband or father as the culprit. The statute used the gender-neutral word “person” as the offender which embraces any person of either sex. The offender may also include other persons who conspired to commit the violence. Verily, mothers may be offenders in the context of RA No. 9262. The Court finds no substantial distinction between fathers and mothers who abused their children that warrants a different treatment or exemption from the law. Any violence is reprehensible and harmful to the child’s dignity and development.

The RTC’s consoling statement that children who suffered abuse from the hands of their own mothers may invoke other laws except RA No. 9262 is discriminatory. The supposed reassurance is an outright denial of effective legal measures to address the seriousness and urgency of the situation. Suffice it to say that only RA No. 9262 created the innovative remedies of protection and custody orders. Other laws have no mechanisms to prevent further acts of violence against the child. 

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The Petition for Certiorari was granted. The Decision of the RTC was set aside. A Permanent Protection Order was ordered to be issued immediately. 

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