The National Youth Commission on Friday asked both houses of Congress to raise the legal coverage of statutory rape from 12 years old to 16 years old.
In a statement, the chair of the NYC’s Committee on Social Inclusion and Equity called attention to the bigger picture behind the priest who was recently arrested for allegedly soliciting sex with a 13-year-old girl.
“If only our laws recognize teen prostitution as rape, that monsignor who allegedly abused that 13-year girl would be charged with rape and most probably he would not be out on bail today,” Commissioner Perci Cendaña was quoted to have said.
“With the proposal of the NYC, sexual intercourse or sexual relations with a child under 16 years of age would be penalized as rape, regardless of whether or not there was force, threat, intimidation, deprivation of reason, fraud, or grave abuse of authority,” the statement added.
Statutory rape is rape or sexual activity in which the victim is below the age of consent. Republic Act 8353, or The Anti-Rape Law of 1997, currently states that sexual activity with a person aged below 12 is considered rape, even if none of the other circumstances it listed is present.
Cendaña noted in the statement that their proposal will also help decrease the incidence of teen pregnancy in the Philippines.
“We observed that many young girls give birth to children fathered by older men,” Cendana was quoted to have said.
“This is most prevalent among girls from impoverished families who are impregnated by older men who offer financial stability or an escape from poverty,” he added.
The present law states that child prostitution and other sexual forms of abuse is punishable by reclusion temporal or imprisonment of 12 years and one day to 20 years.
Monsignor Arnel Lagarejos, who was out on bail since Tuesday after being caught soliciting sex with a minor, is facing raps for trafficking and child abuse, but not rape