Bill to amend Anti-Rape law filed

May. 21, 2012

News Release
15 May 2012

Bill to amend Anti-Rape law filed

Gabriela Women’s Party Representatives Luz Ilagan and Emmi De Jesus filed today a bill seeking to introduce amendments to the Anti-Rape Bill of 1997.

“It is our intent to strengthen the existing law and to make justice more accessible for victims and survivors who cry rape by redefining the crime.  This initiative to amend the Anti-Rape Law of 1997 will make our law compliant with the Cedaw Committee recommendation to make ‘lack of consent’ the very core of this heinous crime.  The proposal also specifies instances when lack of consent is presumed.  Redefining the crime of rape as such will give more women the strength to fight,” Ilagan said.

In 2010, the UN Convention for the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination Against Women (Cedaw) Committee decided in favor of Filipina Karen Vertido and ruled against gender stereotyping reflected in the Supreme Court decision.  The Cedaw Committee recommended necessary amendments to the existing law on rape.

De Jesus explained the trauma and difficulties that women victims go through in the struggle for justice.  “Rape destroys a person’s dignity and words can barely approximate the trauma.  Victims seeking justice need to muster so much strength and courage after the violation of one’s person has been committed and it is our role as legislators to make sure that when victims turn to our legal system for redress, justice can and will be served in the fastest, least traumatic and least humiliating manner possible.”

Aside from introducing clarifications in its definition, the amendments also seek to include the insertion of objects into a person’s genitalia as a form of rape and clarify various circumstances that may aggravate the crime.  These include the use of power and authority as in the recent case filed against Pantabangan Vice Mayor Romeo Borja and the use of the internet and new media in recording and disseminating the act.  Rape survivors “Jasmine” and “Mina” who had earlier accused Vice Mayor Borja also expressed support for the initiative and joined the Gabriela solons in filing their proposed amendments.

Amendments also seek to include the unwanted sexual conduct of young boys as rape has been identified as among the forms of hate crimes against the LGBT community.

“Indeed, 15 years after, seeking justice remains a complex and even humiliating obstacle course for victims.  Much needs to be done to make our current laws responsive to the needs of victims and to the changes in our society,” Ilagan said.

De Jesus for her part expressed hopes that the 15th Congress will still find time to discuss the amendments.  “This is a very important piece of legislation for women.  We hope that the proposal finds its way into the committee hearings and plenary debates all the way towards its approval.”

REP. LUZ ILAGAN 0920-9213221
Jang Monte (Public Information Officer) 0917-4049119
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