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April 7, 2011

Siffer Penalties for Crimes Against Elderly (Manila, PHILLIPINES)


April 2, 2011




A party-list lawmaker has filed a bill to impose stiffer penalties against criminals who prey on senior citizens.
Kasangga partylist Rep. Teodorico T. Haresco filed House Bill No. 2135 or the “Senior Citizen’s Safety Act of 2010” which also sought the conduct of a study on crimes against the elderly.
Haresco’s proposal was lauded by senior citizen’s groups that have aired serious concern over the rising in crimes whose victims are senior citizens.
Ofelia Gatmaitan, a member of the Project 4 Senior Citizens’ Association, said a gang of motorcycle-riding thieves has been blamed for the death and serious injuries committed against a number of elderly in Quezon City.
Haresco said the elderly should be given ample protection against criminality.
In filing House Bill No. 2135, or the “Senior Citizens’ Safety Act of 2010”, Haresco noted that the estimated 5.4- million Filipinos 60 years or older considered as senior citizens are more vulnerable to domestic crimes.
Senior citizens are “almost twice as likely as younger victims to be abused, robbed, or assaulted in their own homes,” he said.
“As the number of older Filipinos is growing both numerically and proportionally in the country, this bill seeks to develop strategies for preventing crimes against senior citizens and increase the penalties to persons convicted of offenses in which the victim was a senior citizen,” Haresco said.
The bill also seeks to collect appropriate data to measure the extent of crimes committed against seniors and determine the extent of domestic and elder abuse of seniors.
The study, which shall be conducted by the Secretary of Justice, shall include an analysis of the nature and type of crimes committed on senior citizens, with special focus on the most common types of crimes that affect senior citizens; and the risk factors associated with senior citizens who have been victimized, among others.
The bill also wants the Department of Justice to review existing sentencing guidelines and recommend the possibility of increased penalties for persons convicted of offenses in which the victim was a senior citizen.
The bill directs the Department of Justice (DoJ) to consult with individuals or groups representing senior citizens, law enforcement agencies, victims’ organizations, and the judiciary, as part of the review process.
The bill also directs the DoJ to submit to Congress a report on issues relating to the age of crime victims, which shall include any recommendations of the department relating to any revision or modification of penalty levels, including statutory penalty, for offenses involving senior citizens.
In his sponsorship speech, Haresco identified four types of prevalent crimes against senior citizens: financial crimes, property crimes, violent crimes, and elderly abuse.
Haresco urged his colleagues to protect this vulnerable sector of society: “As times get harder, the desperate will prey on the weak.

SOURCE:     The Manila Bulletin
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