BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
Rep. Francisco Benitez (Neg. Occ., 3rd District) said yesterday that raising the age in determining statutory rape, from 12 years old to below 16, widens the shield of the law in protecting minors from sexual predators who exploit their vulnerability.
The House of Representatives approved on third and final reading House Bill 7836 that consolidated several bills, including HB 5795, authored by Benitez, that raises the age for determining statutory rape from 12 to below 16, on Dec. 1.
The bill stipulates that statutory rape is committed when the victim is a minor below 16 years old, or if the victim is at the age of 16 or over but has a physical, mental, or psychological disability or condition that renders the victim unable to fully understand the consequences of any sexual activity.
Perpetrators of rape would be punished by reclusion perpetua, according to the provisions of the proposed bill. When signed into law, the measure will provide stronger protection against rape through the imposition of stiffer penalties against perpetrators of rape, sexual exploitation and abuse.*