MANILA, Philippines — Among the complaints filed by the lawyers of the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) against Senator Risa Hontiveros are 3 counts of violation of the RA-4200 or the Anti-Wire Tapping Law.
Former congressman, Jacinto “Jing” Paras said the complaints stemmed from the lady senator’s gathering of Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre’s private text messages with an unidentified individual during a Senate hearing on the killing of 17-year old Kian delos Santos.
Paras explained, the act of making public any private text message and spreading its copies is illegal.
“Although she argues that she took it by accident, but she still used it. She should have thrown it,” Atty. Paras said.
The VACC also filed obstruction of justice complaint against Hontiveros for her alleged refusal to turn over to the Department of Justice (DOJ) a witness to the killing of Kian delos Santos during an anti-drug operation by the Caloocan police.
She is also facing kidnapping charges for her supposed refusal to return the minor witnesses to their parents, and for discouraging the teenagers to go back to their family for a while.
The VACC lawyer reasoned that these are all violations of Articles 270 and 271 of the Revised Penal Code and Republic Act 7610.
“The purpose of that turn-over to the PAO and to the NBI or the DOJ was for the expeditious resolution of the case against Kian Loyd delos Santos,” Atty. Paras said.
Hontiveros, on the other hand, believes the filing of complaints against her before the ombudsman is a way to divert the public’s attention from the text messages she divulged which she said is about the evil plans against her.
The lady Senator further said it only proves that it was Paras whom Secretary Aguirre was talking to in the said text message.
Despite all the complaints, Hontiveros said she will continue to fight against corruption and calls on Secretary Aguirre to resign from his post. – Rey Pelayo | UNTV News & Rescue
MANILA, Philippines – Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go on Tuesday filed a bill seeking to amend the Philippine Revised Penal Code to resolve issues in the controversial good conduct time allowance (GCTA) rule for inmates under the Republic Act 10592.
In filing the Senate Bill No. 1003, Go proposes to amend the Articles 29, 97, 98 and 99 of the Revised Penal Code, the same provisions which were amended and rendered unclear by the GCTA law.
Go said the proposed measure recognizes that the said articles gave the notion that prisoners, including recidivists, habitual delinquents, escapees, and persons charged with heinous crimes, are entitled to GCTA benefits.
The senator filed the bill more than a week after news broke out that convicted murderer and rapist Antonio Sanchez could be released earlier for good behavior.
Go said his proposal follows the points raised by Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra during a Senate inquiry on Monday (Sept. 2) on what seems to be lacking in the GCTA law and the safeguards that can be provided.
“I have filed Senate Bill No. 1003 to clearly state the intent and policy of the law not to extend the benefits of GCTA to prisoners who are convicted of heinous crimes,” he said.
Through SB 1003, Go added a provision that clearly states that convicts of heinous crimes “will not be eligible to be granted time allowances.”
He also added a list of heinous crimes to further avoid confusion and a provision that all prisoners for release on the basis of time allowances shall be subject for review.
The lawmaker also highlighted that Congress will be informed of the releases, “as the Bureau of Corrections will be required to furnish the Legislature with a report twice a year.”
“All of these will form part of our continuing fight against corruption and criminality, and illegal drugs,” Go said.
“The law may be ambiguous, but what is clear to me is that there is either negligence or corruption in the way our correctional system is being handled,” he added. “I say to the Filipino people – mananagot ang dapat managot.”
Senator Sonny Angara earlier filed a bill proposing to amend certain provisions of the GCTA law, including the clear definition of heinous crimes, the exclusion of recidivists, habitual delinquents, escapees, and persons convicted of heinous crimes from availing of the GCTA and the deletion of the provision making GCTA irrevocable under the law.
MANILA, Philippines – Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri on Wednesday proposed to raise the age of statutory rape to 15 years old from the current below 12 years old.
Zubiri said the bill aims to provide additional care and protection to children.
“Sa ngayon, ang rape ng isang bata ay itinuturing na statutory rape kapag siya ay may kapansanan sa pag-iisip o ang edad niya ay mababa sa 12 taon,” he said in a statement.
“Ibig sabihin ng statutory rape ay ituturing na rape ang pagkakaroon ng “carnal knowledge” o pagniniig – basta ang edad ng bata ay mas mababa sa 12 taon – at hindi kailangan patunayan na gumamit ng pwersa o pananakot ang maysala,” he explained.
“Sa aking proposal, itataas natin ang edad sa 15 taon gulang,” he added.
The lawmaker believes that there a lot of sexual violence cases involving children aged 12 to 15 years old. However, none of the abusers were penalized when they claim the act as consensual.
“Naniniwala ako na maraming sexual violence ang nagaganap sa mga batang 12 taon hanggang 15 taong gulang. Ngunit hindi maparusahan ang maysala dahil sinasabi ng maysala na pumayag ang bata, kahit sa totoo ay sapilitan ang naganap,” he said.
Zubiri said he based his proposal on the 2016 National Baseline Study on Violence Against Children (NBS-VAC), which found that one in every five children below 18 years old experience sexual violence.
“By raising the age to 15 years, I hope that we could put a dent on the number of children victimized since ‘carnal knowledge’ of children aged 12 up to 15 years will now be considered statutory rape,” he said.
The senator stressed that this amendment to the Revised Penal Code “is long overdue considering that the RPC is 89 years old and should be put at par with the expanding measures to protect children, our most valuable asset.”
“Huwag na nating pahirapan ang mga batang biktima at ang kanilang mga magulang o guardians na makahanap ng hustisya,” he said.
MANILA, Philippines – Senate President Vicente Sotto III has filed a bill seeking for a longer jail term for persons who commit perjury.
Under Senate Bill No. 8, Sotto is looking to amend the Article 183 of the Revised Penal Code which imposes six months to two years imprisonment for persons who make false testimonies under oath.
The senate president said that with a short jail term, suspects tend to “change the narrative in the middle of their testimonies.”
In his bill, Sotto is proposing to increase the jail time for perjury of up to ten years to serve as deterrent to suspects who retract testimonies to get off sticky situations.
“Every now and then, we hear stories of people being charged with the crime of perjury – it could be in the news or just in the neighborhood. It is an act which undermines the solemnity of the oath that one has undertook to ‘tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth’,” Sotto said in a statement.
“A lot of people – prominent or otherwise – would subsequently and without batting an eyelash change their stories made under oath like it was not a big deal. This may be partly due to the imposable penalty that goes with the crime of perjury,” he noted.
The Senate President said the Philippines can take the cue from the state of California in the United States, which considers perjury as a capital offense, or from Queensland in Australia, where making false testimonies are punishable by up to life imprisonment.
“We must not allow anyone to play games with our laws. We must ensure that our laws are respected at all times,” Sotto stressed.
The lawmaker can be recalled pushing for stiffer penalties for perjury following the flip-flopping statements of Peter Joemel Advincula, who claimed to be the hooded man “Bikoy” in online video series, accusing President Rodrigo Duterte’s family members of involvement in the narcotics trade.
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