Monday, April 23, 2012


[Lifted from the PNP website]

The general public is advised on the rules on military/police checkpoints as follows:

  1. Checkpoint must be well-lighted, properly identified and manned by uniformed personnel.
  2. Upon approach, slowdown, dim headlights and turn on cabin lights. Never step out of the vehicle.
  3. Lock all doors. Only visual search is allowed.
  4. Do not submit to a physical or body search.
  5. You are not obliged to open glove compartment, trunk or bags.
  6. Ordinary/Routine questions may be asked. Be courteous but firm with answers.
  7. Assert your rights, have presence of mind and do not panic.
  8. Keep your driver’s license and car registration handy and within reach.
  9. Be ready to use your cellphone at anytime. Speed Dial emergency number [117].
  10. Report violations immediately. Your actions may save others.

This public advisory guides motorists on how to deal with authorities in checkpoints and ensure its implementation on proper searches and seizures to avoid violation of human rights. The advisory also serves as a warning to erring law enforcers and eliminate illegal checkpoints.

“As the promotion of right-based policing becomes a focal point in the agenda of the PNP leadership, the conduct of police or law enforcement must be in compliance with human rights standard” stated General Bartolome.


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

GOVERNMENT FORGETS PROSTITUTES ARE VICTIMS NOT CRIMINALS (Republic Act No. 10158 vs The Magna Carta of Women and Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003)

By Siesta-friendly

We take issue at the recent law enacted by government amending the Revised Penal Code provisions penalizing vagrancy.  Not only does Republic Act No. 10158[1] contradict The Magna Carta of Women[2] (Republic Act No. 9710) but it has continued to criminalize prostitution and has now decriminalized the pimping of prostitutes as well as the act of obtaining the prostitutes’ “services”.

So, who will now save sex slaves? Who will save girls abducted for, or forced into, prostitution if the government itself does not recognize that they are victims in the first place?

The old Revised Penal Code provision reads as follows:

“Art. 202. Vagrants and prostitutes; penalty. — The following are vagrants:

1.      Any person having no apparent means of subsistence, who has the physical ability to work and who neglects to apply himself or herself to some lawful calling;
2.      Any person found loitering about public or semi-public buildings or places or trampling or wandering about the country or the streets without visible means of support;
3.      Any idle or dissolute person who ledges in houses of ill fame; ruffians or pimps and those who habitually associate with prostitutes;
4.      Any person who, not being included in the provisions of other articles of this Code, shall be found loitering in any inhabited or uninhabited place belonging to another without any lawful or justifiable purpose;
5.      Prostitutes.

For the purposes of this article, women who, for money or profit, habitually indulge in sexual intercourse or lascivious conduct, are deemed to be prostitutes.

Any person found guilty of any of the offenses covered by this articles shall be punished by arresto menor or a fine not exceeding 200 pesos, and in case of recidivism, by arresto mayor in its medium period to prision correccional in its minimum period or a fine ranging from 200 to 2,000 pesos, or both, in the discretion of the court.”

R.A. 10158 has amended the above provision to read as follows:

“Article 202. Prostitutes; Penalty. – For the purposes of this article, women who, for money or profit, habitually indulge in sexual intercourse or lascivious conduct, are deemed to be prostitutes.

Any person found guilty of any of the offenses covered by this article shall be punished by arresto menor or a fine not exceeding 200 pesos, and in case of recidivism, by arresto mayor in its medium period to prision correctional in its minimum period or a fine ranging from 200 to 2,000 pesos, or both, in the discretion of the court.”

We understand the deletion of “pimps and those who habitually associate with prostitutes” under Art 202 (3) of the old provision since they are already covered by the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003.[3]  But why is prostitution still penalized?

And if we were to nitpick, why are boys and men not included as prostitutes?  Is the government unaware that there are male prostitutes? Why do they seem to consider male prostitution as legal while criminalizing female prostitution?

This new law is an affront to women, and common sense.  Especially since the government enacted and signed into law The Magna Carta of Women in 2009 where it specifically recognized that prostitution is an act of violence against women from which women should be protected and saved.

Were all women lawmakers absent all those days when R.A. 10158 was being debated?  And how did they simultaneously lose their voices at the impending passing and signing and implementation of R.A. 10158?  Why are our lawmakers still ignorant of the worldwide efforts against human trafficking and sexual slavery?

Prostitutes are victims under the Magna Carta of Women

In Section 4(k) of the Magna Carta of Women, Violence Against Women is defined as “any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual, or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion, or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life. It shall be understood to encompass, but not limited to, the following:

(1)    Physical, sexual, psychological, and economic violence occurring in the family, including battering, sexual abuse of female children in the household, dowry-related violence, marital rape, and other traditional practices harmful to women, non-spousal violence, and violence related to exploitation;
(2)    Physical, sexual, and psychological violence occurring within the general community, including rape, sexual abuse, sexual harassment, and intimidation at work, in educational institutions and elsewhere, trafficking in women, and prostitution; and
(3)    Physical, sexual, and psychological violence perpetrated or condoned by the State, wherever it occurs.” [emphasis supplied]

In Section 30 of the Magna Carta, Women in Especially Difficult Circumstances (WEDC) are defined as “victims and survivors of sexual and physical abuse, illegal recruitment, prostitution, trafficking, armed conflict, women in detention, victims and survivors of rape and incest, and such other related circumstances which have incapacitated them functionally. Local government units are therefore mandated to deliver the necessary services and interventions to WEDC under their respective jurisdictions.  [emphasis supplied]

Section 9 of the Magna Carta declares that “[t]he State shall ensure that all women shall be protected from all forms of violence as provided for in existing laws.  Agencies of government shall give priority to the defense and protection of women against gender-based offenses and help women attain justice and healing” and provides measures against their offenders. 

While the Magna Carta of Women aims to save and protect prostitutes, the new amendment seeks to punish them. 

Prostitutes are victims under the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003

As early as 2003, with the passage of the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003, prostitutes were already recognized as victims -

(a) Trafficking in Persons - refers to the recruitment, transportation, transfer or harboring, or receipt of persons with or without the victim's consent or knowledge, … for the purpose of exploitation which includes at a minimum, the exploitation or the prostitution of others ... (Section 3) [Emphasis supplied]

Accordingly, illegal traffickers are punished under Section 10 of the Act and any “person who buys or engages the services of trafficked persons for prostitution” are also punished under Section 11.

If prostitutes are victims under the Magna Carta of Women and the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003, why on earth are they criminals now under Republic Act No. 10158?

Republic Act No. 10158 is a joke and should rightfully be overlooked. 

[1]  An Act Decriminalizing Vagrancy, Amending For This Purpose Article 202 Of Act No. 3815, As Amended, Otherwise Known As The Revised Penal Code, March 27, 2012.
[2]  August 14, 2009.
[3]  Republic Act No. 9208, “An Act To Institute Policies To Eliminate Trafficking In Persons Especially Women And Children, Establishing The Necessary Institutional Mechanisms For The Protection And Support Of Trafficked Persons, Providing Penalties For Its Violations, And For Other”.  May 26, 2003


Friday, April 13, 2012

POSTSCRIPT to AGE DOESN’T MATTER: Criminal liability for youth offenders

By Siesta-friendly

We feel strongly against the lack of criminal liability imposed upon youth offenders who clearly have discernment over what they are doing. And to further support our stand, we  cite 2 recent examples that show why an amendment of the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006 so as to lower the minimum age set for imposing criminal liability is necessary.

We note that there are numerous instances that exemplify the need to impose criminal liability to youth offenders who already comprehend what they are doing.  We list here 2 of the more recent ones –

The  recent video news report of a 6 year old girl raped by 2 playmates – one 13-year old and one 7-year old - is the first example. The young victim was first raped by the 13-year old who then ordered another playmate to also rape her.  After the second rape, the 13-year old rapist then ordered the victim’s brother to also rape her but the latter firmly refused.  The young victim has since refused to finish her last month of the school year.   Her family was paid a mere P500 as damages by the rapist’s family.  Neither of the child rapists saw the inside of a detention cell.   The imposition of criminal liability would find more meaning knowing that the 13-year old rapist has raped 2 other girls before.   In all 3 instances of rape, he was never even held by the police, pursuant to law.[1]

The second case involves 2 teenagers - 17-year old and 13-year old boys - who “admitted to raping and sodomizing [their 7-year old victim] … then drowning her in a creek when she kept crying.  Although both were charged with rape and murder, the city police Chief Senior Superintendent was the first to admit that the charges were merely procedural because “under that law, the 13-year-old does not have any criminal liability at all” and “the DSWD will have to determine first if [the 17-year old] committed the crime with discernment”. [2]

These are just 2 of the more horrific instances of youth crimes. What are our lawmakers still waiting for before they amend the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006?

[1]  6 taong gulang na bata, ginahasa ng kapitbahay. (2012, March 24). Retrieved from

[2]  See, A. B. (2012, March 13). 2 boys in girl's rape-slay charged with murder. Retrieved from