CA awards custody of child to actress Plinky Recto

October 24, 2011 10:30 pm 

MANILA, Oct. 24 — The Court of Appeals (CA) has awarded to actress Marie Roxanne "Plinky" Recto the permanent custody over her illegitimate minor child, but the appellate court denied her claim that she is battered.

In a 12-page ruling penned by Associate Justice Florito Macalino, the CA's Special Fifth Division partially granted Recto's appeal assailing a July 12, 2007 ruling of the Mandaluyong City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 214 in the civil case filed by her before the lower court.

"[The decision] is affirmed with modification. Permanent custody over the illegitimate minor child … is awarded to petitioner-appellant (Recto)," the CA ruling said.

Concurring with the ruling were Associate Justices Rosalinda Vicente and Mario Lopez.

The actress is the sister of Senator Ralph Recto who assailed the decision rendered by then RTC Judge Edwin Sorongon denying her petition for a permanent protection order from her former lover, Pulupandan Mayor Magdaleno "Magsie" Peña.

Sorongon ruled that the application for the issuance of permanent protection order was not meritorious because there was no clear showing that the act from which the order might arise did actually exist.

The court ruled that the medical findings of Dr. Teresita Sanchez did not fully support Recto's claims that "Peña mauled, twisted her arms and rode on her back and held her head upward, slapped her several times and banged her head three to four times on their house's hard floor."

Sorongon said that Recto's statement as to the manner she was manhandled by Peña contradicted or collided with the findings of Dr. Sanchez.

A former driver of Recto — Romeo Camposano — testified before the court that Recto told him that she should wear a neck brace to impress upon the court that she was really hurt, upon instruction of her legal counsel.

Records show that Recto filed the petition for temporary or permanent protection order under Republic Act No. 9262, otherwise known as the "Anti-Violence Against Women and Children Act," against Peña on July 12, 2005.

While they lived together, Recto claimed that her lover "subjected her to constant emotional, verbal and psychological abuse which got worse and unbearable during the last two years that they lived together."

Likewise, she also alleged that on June 29, 2005, Peña assaulted her in front of their house helpers, and the following morning he acted as if nothing had happened.

But the CA did not give credence to the claim of Recto that she is battered.

"Petitioner appellant (Recto) failed to refute the allegations of Respondent-Appellee (Pena) that it was strange for somebody else whose head had been banged and neck and back had been injured, as she alleges, to go about her normal routine after the alleged mauling incident, visiting the beauty parlor and even hosting a program the following night," the CA said.

Recto alleged that Peña later forced her to sign a document waving her rights over their minor child.

In its ruling, the CA said that "there is no question that petitioner-appellant (Recto), being the mother of and having sole parental authority over the minor child Henri, is entitled to have custody of him."

"She has the right to keep him in her company. She cannot be deprived of that right and she may not even renounce or transfer it except in cases authorized by law," the CA decision added. (PNA)

DCT/scs/PTR/mec

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