Call for sex offenders’ registry revived
MANILA, Philippines — Tingog party-list lawmakers Yedda Marie Romualdez and Jude Acidre have revived a push for a national database of convicted sexual predators, similar to existing ones in the United States, for the protection of children and other vulnerable sectors.
In seeking the establishment of a national sex offender registry accessible to the public, the lawmakers said the state would be upholding its mandate of protecting the youth and guaranteeing the rights of victims of sexual abuse.
“The establishment of this registry will aid the government in ensuring public safety and in increasing the awareness of the community, thereby providing stronger protection to Filipinos, especially the children and the vulnerable,” the lawmakers pointed out.
A measure that would create a national registry of sex offenders was initially proposed in Congress in 2015. The Tingog party list representatives’ bill filed in the 19th Congress has been referred to the House committee on public order and safety.
The proposed measure would make mandatory for sex offenders their registration in the database, where they would be listed for life. Failure for them to do so would mean up to five years of jail time and a P10,000 fine.
Under House Bill No. 2714, or the proposed Sex Offender Registry Act, the Department of Justice would be tasked to set up the database of sex offenders, persons convicted in a final judgment by local and foreign courts of rape, crimes against chastity and violations of the Anti-Violence Against Women and Children Act of 2004, which would allow information-sharing between countries and their law enforcement agencies.
The database would indicate: the sex offender’s recent picture; full name and aliases; permanent and current home addresses; job history; fingerprints and DNA sample; complete criminal history; and education history, if applicable.
“The general public shall not have access to the detailed information of the registered sex offender. However, a website shall be made available to the public, which only includes relevant information about the sex offender, such as name, recent photograph and the crime committed,” the proposed measure provides.
Prior to release
HB 2714 would require convicted sex offenders, prior to their release from prison, to register and regularly update their registration in each province, city or town where they are residing, working, or studying. Changing addresses, employment or school would require them to update their registration within 10 days of the change.
The proposed measure further provides: “Sex offenders who shall knowingly and willfully fail to register or update their information … shall suffer the penalty of one to five years of imprisonment and a fine of P10,000. In the event that sex offenders who are unregistered or have outdated registry information commit another crime, regardless of nature, the penalty of five to 10 years of imprisonment and a fine of P50,000 shall be imposed, in addition to the penalty imposed by reason of the crime committed.”
It also states: “Sex offenders convicted in local and foreign courts shall remain on the registry for life and shall be required to appear at least once a year. Moreover, sex offenders must verify their information in person. Furthermore, the severity of their sexual offenses that was determined solely by the court, which convicted them, or lack thereof, shall not affect the duration of their inclusion in the registry.”
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