What would you do if your husband were a womanizer? Would you have the courage to leave him or would you rather forgive and forget? Karen Davila examines a family marred by infidelity and physical abuse, and speaks with a "martyr" wife who finally fights back, not for herself, but for her children.
Imelda Pareño's marriage was marred by infidelity and physical abuse. She remained strong over the years for the sake of her children, and even tried to salvage her marriage despite her husband’s unfaithfulness. She forgave and forgot; but when the welfare of her children was put at stake, she decided to fight back.
A failed marriage
Francisco and Imelda met in 2000. In the beginning of their relationship, Francisco was thoughtful and caring. Imelda fell in love with him almost instantly.
However, it seemed that there was more to Francisco than he let on. During their first year together, Francisco admitted that he had a son with a deceased wife. Imelda was taken aback but accepted his situation. She gave birth to their first child a year later.
Through the years, Francisco’s love for Imelda wavered. He became cold and distant towards Imelda, but she endured. Even when she found out that her partner was cheating on her, she decided against leaving him. Her children were important to her; she did not want them to have a broken family.
Francisco and Imelda were married after seven years and five children. Imelda hoped that Francisco would finally stop his philandering, as they had already tied the knot. Unfortunately, he did not. In fact, his womanizing became worse. He had the nerve to bring home his lover, masquerading as his cousin.
Imelda confronted her husband about his affair. Instead of feeling remorseful, Francisco left his family to be with his lover. He cut all communication from them and stopped supporting his children.
After a year of separation, Imelda was forced to give up custody of their five children to Francisco and his mistress because she could no longer provide for them on her own.
However, Imelda shortly found out that instead of taking care of the children, Francisco and his mistress maltreated them.
Her eldest son said her that their father's mistress often beat them up and refused to feed them more than once a day. When they told their father about it, he only turned a blind eye.
Imelda decided that she had had enough. She endured years of emotional torture during her marriage to Francisco, but she could not bear the thought of her children being hurt.
Imelda decided to seek help from officials of Barangay Batasan, Quezon City to save her kids from abuse.
Francisco and his mistress denied all charges filed against them by Imelda, and claimed their childrens' testimonies were false. However, a medical certificate proved the children sustained physical injuries while under his care.
Confronted by Violation Against Women and Children officer Emily Arizala, Francisco agreed to give P2,000 bi-monthly as financial support for his children. Custody of three of the children was transferred to their grandmother. The other two children were to live with Imelda.
According to the family code, parents are obligated to support their children.
The barangay ruled that if it received another abuse complaint against Francisco and his partner, it will give Imelda a certificate allowing her to file for action against them without further barangay mediation.
Aired on January 8, 2013