Solons look into anti-stalking bills

By Alexander Villafania

QUEZON CITY, METRO MA NILA—Stalkers beware: your actions could become a criminal act.

Several lawmakers from the House of Representatives are looking to introduce bills that will penalize the act of stalking. Under the House Committee for Justice, three proposals for the Anti-Stalking Act are being deliberated.

The House committee headed by Iloilo Rep. Niel Tupas Jr. is looking to consolidate House Bills 5099 (by Camarines Sur Rep. Diosdado Macapagal Arroyo and Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo), 3367 (Sorsogon Rep. Salvador Escudero III), and 6114 (BUHAY Partylist Reps. Irwin C. Tieng and Mariano Michael Velarde ), all of which are related to criminalizing stalking.

Escudero's version describes stalking as “harassing, bothering, frightening, and otherwise interfering with the private lives of people.”

Actions amounting to stalking include approaching or confronting the stalked person in public or private, entering the property occupied by the person, causing damage to the person’s property, and sending unwanted materials to the person.

Currently, the justice system only uses Article 26 of the Civil Code and the Republic Act 386, which stipulates that: “Every person shall respect the dignity, personality, privacy and peace of mind of his neighbors and other persons.”

Rep. Diosdado Arroyo stressed that the act of stalking or its accompanying behavior is a violation of such constitutional and legal rights.

“It is a form of disguised intimidation, which may be a subtle attempt at harassment,” he sad

Currently, Senator Manuel Villar is the only proponent of anti-stalking bill in the Senate.

He filed Senate Bill 2442 inAugust 2010 wherein he also similarly described stalking as disguised intimidation.

There is no mention if actions of media practitioners, including paparazzi, are included in the bills.

There is no mention of criminal culpability when using the Internet and mobile phones for harassment, however, the proposals do identify “communications equipment” in transmitting harassing materials as part of the attempts at harassment.

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