THE House of Representatives yesterday approved on third and final reading a bill imposing stiffer penalties against child abuse and discrimination.
With an overwhelming vote of 228, House Bill 137 intends to amend the two-decade old Republic Act 7610 or the Special Protection of Children Against Child Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act enacted in 1992.
The bill was fully endorsed and supported by the Committee on Welfare of Children chaired by Tingog Siniringan party-list Rep. Yedda Marie Romualdez.
The House leadership declared the bill approved despite Buhay party-list Rep. Lito Atienza questioning the number of votes registered and the number of lawmakers present at yesterday’s plenary session.
Among the principal authors of the bill are Deputy Speakers Michael Romero and Aurelio Gonzales Jr; Deputy Majority Leader Wilter “Sharky” Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez and Bataan Rep. Geraldine Roman.
Under the bill, instead of the current penalty of prision mayor or 12 years imprisonment for the crime of obscene publications and indecent shows the imposable punishment will be reclusion temporal or over 12 years but not less than 20 years confinement in a national penitentiary.
Life imprisonment shall be imposed if the victim is below 12 years old and exploited as a performer of lewd and indecent shows.