/ 25 July 2021

GABRIELA Partylist Rep. Arlene Brosas urged the Senate to approve its counterpart version of the bill seeking to raise the age of sexual consent to 16, while it welcomed the calls issued by Miss Universe Catriona Gray and actress Anne Curtis-Smith to end child rape.

“We laud Catriona and Anne in bringing the issue of age of sexual consent in the country to the fore. We enjoin other celebrities and influencers to join efforts to #EndChildRape and amplify our #LabananAngAbuso campaign,” said Brosas.

The solon explained that in the country, the legal age to register and vote is 18 years old, but the age of sexual consent remains at 12.

She added this glaringly reflects the magnitude of child sexual abuse going under the radar and the government needs to fix the decades-old flaw in the Anti-Rape Law which makes it easier for sexual offenders of minors to evade prosecution.

“We in the Lower House have done our part in approving House Bill 7836 last year. We hope our counterparts in the Senate will act double time once Congress opens its third session next week,” she added.

Under House Bill 7836 of which Rep. Brosas is among the principal authors, the age of determining statutory rape is set below 16 years old, and lack of consent is presumed in all cases of rape.

Physical overt act and incapability of giving consent are no longer required as grounds for rape.

Brosas explained the House version also defines grooming, which is a predatory conduct or act committed against a minor by establishing a relationship, trust or emotional connection to elicit sexual favors.

Gabriela said the Senate should waste no time in tackling the measure ahead of the budget deliberations and before the conduct of electoral campaigns by legislators.