Davao City 1st district Repres Paolo Duterte has moved to criminalize the act of exploiting, neglecting, or abusing the elderly.
For this purpose, Duterte penned and filed House Bill (HB) No.4696, or the proposed Anti-Elder Abuse Act.
If enacted, the measure will institutionalize the establishment of senior citizen help desks in every barangay to provide immediate assistance to victim-survivors of elder abuse.
It also directs the Department of Justice (DOJ) to set up special prosecution units to exclusively handle cases of violence against senior citizens.
“Elderly citizens, like our lolos and lolas, should be honored, cared for and respected. Unfortunately, many of our senior citizens still suffer abuse and most of the time, even from the very people who are supposed to care for them, as shown by news reports and reliable posts in social media. Worse, many cases of elder abuse go unreported and unpunished. Our bill aims to prevent these,” Duterte said.
Under the measure, acts of violence against senior citizens include “physical abuse or infliction of pain or injury with the use of physical force resulting in bodily injury, physical harm, pain or impairment, suffering or distress; and psychological, mental or emotional abuse causing mental or emotional suffering or distress".
“Material exploitation through illegal or improper use of funds or resources of the senior citizen, and economic or financial abuse through acts that make the senior citizen financially dependent” are also classified as acts of violence against the elderly.
As per the bill, “Elder abuse does not only cover the intentional act, but also the failure to act on the needs of the elderly."
“This measure seeks to ensure that our senior citizens are given protection from all forms of violence, abuse, neglect, exploitation and coercion, especially acts detrimental to their personal safety and security,” it added.
Benguet lone district Rep. Eric Yap and ACT-CIS Party-list Rep. Edvic Yap were Duterte's co-authors in HB No.4696.
The minimum punishment under the bill is rresto mayor (one month and one day to six months) for acts of violence against the elderly resulting in slight physical injuries.
Acts of violence against the elderly constituting attempted, frustrated or consummated parricide, murder, or homicide, and those resulting in mutilation "shall be punished in accordance with the provisions of the Revised Penal Code,” according to HB No.4696.
Persons found guilty of serious physical injuries against the elderly are punished with the penalty of prision mayor (six years and one day to 12 years). Less physical injuries are punishable by prision correccional (six months and one day to six years), the bill states.
All other acts of violence against the elderly are punishable by prision correccional and a fine of not less than P100,000 but not more than P300,000.