Duterte will be the first to obey the ‘Anti-Bastos Law’ – Malacañang
Marje Pelayo • July 16, 2019 • 2318
MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang assured that President Rodrigo Duterte will be the first to obey the newly-signed Republic Act 11313 also known as the Safe Spaces Act or ‘Anti-Bastos Law’.
“Since the president signed that law, it means he recognizes the need for that law and since he is the chief enforcer of all the laws of the Philippines, he will be the first one to obey the law,” said Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo.
Signed on April 17, 2019, the new law imposes stiffer penalties to crimes “committed through any unwanted and uninvited sexual actions or remarks against any person regardless of the motive for committing such action or remarks.”
Among these acts include:
online sexual harassment
persistent unwanted comments on one’s appearance
relentless requests for one’s personal details
Likewise, the law prevents gender-based sexual harassment such as use of words, gestures or actions that ridicule sexual orientation, identity and/or expression from occurring in streets, public places, online workplaces, and educational and training institutions.
Penalties range from P1,000 to P500,000 fine, community service, and imprisonment of six days up to six months.
President Duterte has been criticized many times for his controversial remarks against women, but Panelo said those were all jokes, and definitely not sexual harassment against women.
“That particular law is penal in nature, meaning criminal in nature. In other words, the subject offended party must be offended personally by an offender,” the Presidential Legal Counsel explained.
“Pero kung general na nagkukwento, mao-offend ka? Paano mo sasabihing ikaw ang tinutukoy noon? May problema ka doon. (But he is just telling a story, in general, will you be offended? How can you tell that he was referring to you? Do you have problems with that?) How can you even charge him with what? How did they offend you? Did I refer to you? Papaano ka na? Dismiss agad iyon (How about you then? [The case] will be dismissed right away). Crime is personal to the offender,” he added.
Panelo added that persons who think they were offended by the President are always free to file a complaint once the President steps down from office.
“Any person can sue him for that violation. If you argue that, well, he is immune. Well, you can sue him after the presidency. No one is above the law, including this president and he always tells us that,” Panelo concluded. – with reports from Rosalie Coz
MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte and his delegation are set to fly to China for a working visit in response to the invitation from Chinese President Xi Jinping.
It will be Duterte’s fifth visit to Beijing and his eight meeting with Xi.
The two leaders will meet on August 29 when they will discuss several agreements on education, science and technology, economy and social development.
The President himself also stressed that he would insist the Hague Arbitral Ruling during his meeting with the Chinese President along with other sensitive issues like the code of conduct and joint exploration in the disputed territory in the West Philippine Sea (WPS).
“We cannot preempt what does the President will discuss in particular regarding the arbitral ruling. So, it will be his call during the meeting with the President with his counterpart,” explained Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Meynardo Montealegre.
The Philippine delegation will also attend a business forum in China in cooperation with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).
The President’s itinerary includes a meeting with Vice President Wang Qishan and some relax time in the opening of the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup in Guanzhou on August 31 in support to the Philippines’ GILAS team in their game against Italy.
Meanwhile, contrary to earlier announcements, President Duterte will no longer push through with his visit to Fujian province where he was supposed to grace the launching of a university building as tribute to his mother, Soledad.
According to the President’s close in staff, this is not the right time for it.
“But for this particular visit, there was a plan and then the recommendation now is to move it at a later date because it’s more appropriate to be done at a later date and not at this particular time,” noted Robert Borje, the Chief of the Presidential Protocol and Presidential Assistant on Foreign Affairs. – MNP (with details from Rosalie Coz)
MANILA, Philippines – Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo on Wednesday denied any involvement in the looming release of his former client, former Calauan, Laguna Mayor Antonio Sanchez.
Panelo was the defense lawyer of Sanchez when he was sentenced to seven terms of reclusion perpetua in 1995 for the rape and murder of student Eileen Sarmenta and the murder of her friend Allan Gomez in 1993.
Panelo, who is now President Rodrigo Duterte’s chief legal counsel, said there is no need for him or anyone else to intervene in the case citing the Republic Act 10592 or the law that increased the Good Conduct Time (GCTA) allowance for inmates.
“Hindi na kailangan ng kahit na sinumang tao na mag-intervene, kasi mayroong batas na,” he said.
Panelo added that he has withdrawn as Sanchez’s legal counsel after the conviction. He also admitted to being happy with the release of his former client.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) earlier announced that Sanchez is among the thousands of inmates who are eligible for recomputation of sentence on the basis of GCTA as provided by the law.
DOJ Secretary Menardo Guevarra said he has no reason to believe that Panelo or any other party’s intervention is necessary because prison time records on good conduct had been in existence prior to the ruling of the Supreme Court last June on GCTA’s retroactivity. (Correspondent Rosalie Coz contributed to this report)
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