By Ernie Reyes
MANILA — Following impassioned and intellectual discussions on the bill,
the Senate has approved on second reading Senate Bill No. 2332, which
amends the Revised Penal Code to raise the age for determining
statutory rape from 12 to 16 years old.
“As the father of three young kids, this is really important bill to
me,” said Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri, one of the
original authors of the bill. “At alam ko pong marami na ring ibang
mga magulang at mga grupong naghihintay sa panukalang ito.”
Sponsored by Sen. Richard Gordon and authored by Sen. Zubiri with Sen.
Risa Hontiveros, the bill sparked lengthy debates and required the
body to vote on more than one provision, including a bid to raise the
proposed age from 16 to 17. The body eventually voted to keep it to
the age of 16.
Apart from increasing the age of sexual consent, the bill also amends
the language of the law to be gender-responsive and to reflect that
rape is committed by a person who shall have carnal knowledge against
any person, rather than the previous definition that rape is between a
man and a woman only.
The bill is a long-awaited legislative move, as the country currently
has one of the lowest ages for determining statutory rape across the
world, second only to Niger, at 11 years old. “This is a landmark bill
that will protect so many children, and we’re very hopeful that the
bill will sail swiftly from here on out. We were able to hash out the
finer details of it in the plenary, and we’re looking forward to its
passage,” Zubiri said. (ai/mtvn)