I received a number of comments and inquiries from our readers asking how to claim for support against their OFW spouses who’s been engage in extramarital affairs abroad, abandoning and withdrawing financial support to their children.
Asking for financial support to your spouse through your spouse employer abroad is not the answer to your problem. Mostly, employer’s will just ignore your complaint or claim against your spouse for a simple reason, they are not concern about their employees personal or family problem. The Embassy, POLO and OWWA offices abroad can only summon and give advice to the errant provider not to abandon their families back home. Other than that, nothing they can do.
As what I’ve said, the only best option is to file a complaint against your spouse in Philippine court concerning with your claim for support and request the court for the issuance of a Hold Departure Order.
Section 37 of RA 9262 “Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children Act of 2004” expressly provides that the court can issue an HDO as part of a petition for a Protection Order (Temporary or a Permanent Protection Order). Section 36, Rule V of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of RA 9262 implements Section 37 of RA 9262.Upon the filing of a petition for a TPO or a PPO, the judge can on that same day issue an HDO to prevent the respondent (like an OFW leaving for abroad) from leaving the country while the petition is being heard.
A hold-departure order is by no means permanent. Its lifetime co-exists with the pendency of the criminal case that led to the issuance of the order. If the accused is acquitted or if the criminal charges have been dismissed, the judgment of acquittal or the order of dismissal shall include therein the cancellation of the hold-departure order that may have been issued. The trial court is obligated to furnish the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Bureau of Immigration with a copy each of the judgment of acquittal or the order of dismissal within 24 hours from promulgation.
It should be noted that in addition to those hold-departure orders issued by the courts in criminal cases, the Department of Justice (DOJ), through DOJ Circular 41 (issued May 25, 2010), has affirmed its own prerogative to issue hold-departure orders against those accused in criminal cases falling within the jurisdiction of courts below the Regional Trial Courts, i.e., those punishable with prison terms below six years. The applicability, scope and extent of DOJ Circular 41 will almost certainly be clarified in the future by the Supreme Court.
Take note also that under the Supreme Court guidelines for RA 9262, there are ready made forms for a petition for a Protection Order and even an Affidavit of Indigency which families of OFWs can avail of. Under the Supreme Court guidelines, the Office of the Clerk of Court (OCC) is mandated to help the petitioner in filling out the forms in strict confidentiality and in actually filing the petition. However that in several instances, the OCC has referred petitioners to go to the Public Attorneys Office (PAO). -BongA-