Stiffer penalties sought for theft, robbery inside places of worship

Senator Manuel Villar has filed a bill that seeks to increase the penalties for theft or robbery committed in a place of worship.

Senate Bill 1096 seeks to increase by two degrees the penalty for theft or robbery committed within any church, temple, or public museum that is currently stated in the law.

"This type of larceny (theft or robbery) threatens the gains attained in establishing our people's links to its past. Where religious objects are stolen, it also outrages our people's sense of the sacred and the holy," Villar said in his explanatory note.

Article 308 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC) states that theft is committed by "any person who, with intent to gain but without violence against or intimidation of persons nor force upon things, shall take personal property of another without the latter's consent."

On the other hand, Article 293 states that robbery is committed by "any person who, with intent to gain, shall take any personal property belonging to another, by means of violence or intimidation of any person, or using force upon anything shall be guilty of robbery."

Article 311 states that if the property stolen is that of the National Library or of the National Museum, the penalty shall be arresto mayor or imprisonment from one to six months while Article 299 of the RPC states that robbery committed in an "inhabited house or public building or edifice devoted to worship" shall be punishable by reclusion temporal or imprisonment from 12 years and one day to 20 years. - Kimberly Jane Tan/KBK, GMA News

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