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House panels OK bill raising age for statutory rape from 12 to 16

/ 05:28 PM August 27, 2020
The plenary hall of the House of Representatives. (File photo from the Philippine Daily Inquirer)

The plenary hall of the House of Representatives. (File photo from the Philippine Daily Inquirer)

MANILA, Philippines — Two committees in the House of Representatives approved Thursday a substitute bill raising the age for statutory rape from the current 12 years old to 16 years old.

During the joint online hearing of the House committee on revision of laws and committee on welfare of children, lawmakers approved the substitute bill that consolidated 10 proposed measures regarding the matter.

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Tingog-Sonirangan Rep. Yedda Marie K. Romualdez, who chairs the committee on welfare of children, said that if the proposed measure is passed into law, any adult who has sexual intercourse with a minor below 16 years old will be guilty of rape even if the minor has given his or her consent to the sexual act.

Romualdez authored one of the bills that were included in the consolidated substitute bill.

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Stated under the measure, rape is committed by any person against another person by:

  • Inserting or causing the insertion of a person’s penis into another person’s inner or outer vaginal labia, anal orifice or mouth;
  • Inserting or causing the insertion of a finger, instrument or object, into another person’s inner or outer vaginal labia or anal orifice;
  • Placing or causing the placement of a person’s penis between, or rubbing or causing the rubbing thereof on, the breasts of another person; or
  • Causing a person or persons to perform any of the above-mentioned acts even if the offender does not participate therein, under any of the following circumstances:

(a) By force, threat, intimidation, deception, coercion;

(b) By abuse of authority or moral ascendancy;

(c) By employment of means to deprive him or her of reason or render him or her unconscious;

(d) By other fraudulent machinations; or

(e) When the victim is incapable of giving consent by reason of his or her physical, mental, or psychological disability or condition.

“By establishing the crime of statutory rape to be any sexual activity with a child, of either sex, under the age of 16 — the law makes certain the punishment of those who commit such crime, without unnecessarily furthering the emotional and physical trauma of the child that may be brought about by a lengthy court proceeding or the need for any further physiological or material evidence,” Romualdez said in a statement.

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“This certainty of punishment, based on the victim’s age alone, will surely be a strong deterrent to those who would even just attempt to commit such sexual offenses,” she added.

Further, Romualdez said that the sexual orientation of the offender does not matter.

Under current Philippine laws, sexual intercourse with children below 12 years old is illegal and tantamount to rape while sexual activity with a person below 18 years of age may constitute child abuse and exploitation.

However, Romualdez said the current age for determining the crime of statutory rape in the country is not compliant with the international average as evidenced by a 2015 report released by the United Nations International Children’s Fund (UNICEF) East Asia and Pacific Region.

JPV
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TAGS: Age, Crime, House, Rape, statutory rape
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