Lawmakers propose to criminalize act of stalking

THE House Committee on Justice is now deliberating on three separate bills, which all seek to define and penalize the crime of stalking under the proposed Anti-Stalking Act.

The authors of the bills pushed for the approval of the proposed Anti-Stalking Act saying the present civil and criminal remedies or statutes are insufficient to prevent commission of stalking.

The justice committee chaired by Rep. Niel Tupas, Jr. (5th District, Iloilo) is considering the consolidation of House Bill 5099 by Reps. Diosdado Macapagal Arroyo (2nd District Camarines Sur) and Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (2nd District, Pampanga); House Bill 3367 by Rep. Salvador Escudero III (1st District, Sorsogon); and House Bill 6114 authored Reps. Irwin C. Tieng and Mariano Michael Velarde of BUHAY Party-list.

Currently, Article 26 of the Civil Code of the Philippines or Republic Act No. 386 provides that “Every person shall respect the dignity, personality, privacy and peace of mind of his neighbors and other

“The following and similar acts, though they may not constitute a criminal offense, shall produce a cause of action for damages, prevention and other relief: (1) Prying into the privacy of another’s residence; (2) Meddling with or disturbing the private life or family relations of another; (3) Intriguing to cause another to be alienated from his friends; (4) Vexing or humiliating another on account of his religious beliefs, lowly station in life, place of birth, physical defect, or other personal condition,” Article 26 said.

Arroyo said the act of stalking or its accompanying behavior is a violation of such constitutional/legal rights since it involves harassing, bothering, frightening and interfering with people’s private lives. It is a form of disguised intimidation, which may be a subtle attempt at harassment.

Under the bill proposed by Arroyo, the penalties shall range from imprisonment of six months to six years and/or a fine not more than P500,000, or both depending on the discretion of the court.

Escudero’s measure proposed that a person convicted of the crime of stalking shall be punished by prision correcional (six months to six years) and/or a fine of not less than P100,000 but not more than P500,000 or both, at the discretion of the court.

On the other hand, the bill authored by Tieng and Velarde proposes penalties ranging from six months to two years imprisonment and/or a fine ranging P20,000 to P50,000 on persons violating provisions of his
proposed measure.

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