Philippine Laws: August 2010

Again, P-Noy was not able to approve any new law in August 2010, the second month of the 15th Congress. It may be interesting to note some of the bills that have already been submitted for the consideration of Congress. This month, I will discuss those filed in the Senate.

The first Senate bill for the 15th Congress was filed on July 1, 2010 by Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile, Sen. Antonio “Sonny” F. Trillanes, and Sen. Ralph G. Recto. Senate Bill No. (“SBN”) 1 is the “COMPETITION ACT OF 2010”, which is an act penalizing unfair trade and anti-competitive practices in restraint of trade, unfair competition, and abuse of dominant power.

On July 1, 2010, the first day of the 15th Congress, 101 bills were filed. Top-notchers were Senators Trillanes, Ramon A. Revilla, Manuel “Lito” M. Lapid, Edgardo J. Angara, Manny B. Villar, Jinggoy P. Ejercito-Estrada, and Miriam Defensor Santiago, who each sponsored 10 bills. Sen. Ralph G. Recto co-sponsored 10 bills. Senators Loren Legarda and Vicento Soto III sponsored 7 bills; Sen. Francis “Chiz” G. Escudero sponsored 4 bills; and Sen. Enrile sponsored 3 bills. 10 other bills appear to have no specific sponsor.

In August, only 2 bills were filed:

1.     SBN-2377, RESETTING THE BARANGAY AND SANGGUNIANG KABATAAN ELECTIONS, filed on August 10, 2010 by Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos (an Act amending Sections 1 and 4 of Republic Act No. 9340 and resetting the Barangay and Sanguniang Kabataan Elections, among others); and

2.     SBN-151, INDIGENT SENIOR CITIZENS, filed on August 3, 2010 by Senators Recto and Escudero (an Act appropriating the sum of P3,500,000,000.00 as supplementary appropriations for the fiscal year 2010 to finance the monthly social pension for indigent senior citizens, as provided for by Republic Act No. 9994 or the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010)

Environment

In July, several bills were filed relating to the protection of the environment.

On July 27, Sen. Companera Pia S. Cayetano filed several bills, declaring as Protected Areas the following: (a) Besang Pass Natural Monument, in Ilocos Sur (SBN-2143); (b) Pasonanca Watershed Forest Reserve, in Zamboanga City (SBN-2144); (c) Apo Reef, in Occidental Mindoro (SBN-2145); (d) Malampaya Sound Protected Landscape and Seascape, in Palawan (SBN-2146); (e) El Nido-Taytay Managed Resource Protected Area, in Palawan (SBN-2147); (f) Turtle Islands Wildlife Sanctuary, in Tawi-Tawi (SBN-2148); (g) Mt. Balatukan Range, in Misamis Oriental (SBN-2149); and (h) Northern Negros Forest Reserve, in Negros Occidental (SBN-2150).

Sen. Angara filed the following bills relating to the environment:

1.     SBN- 2021, SUBIC-BATAAN NATURAL PARK ACT OF 2010, filed on July 26 (an Act establishing the Bataan Natural Park and the Subic Watershed Forest Reserve, in Bataan and a portion of the Subic Bay Special Economic Zone, as a Natural Park);

2.     SBN-2020, AURORA INTEGRATED PROTECTED LANDSCAPE ACT OF 2010, filed on July 26, 2010 (an Act establishing the Aurora Integrated Protected Landscape);

3.     SBN-2018, TREE FOR LEGACY ACT OF 2010, filed on July 26, 2010 (an Act instituting a self-sustaining forest management program, by providing incentives to tree planters on private lands, forest lands and other public lands); and

4.     SBN-2008, CORDILLERA TERRACES AUTHORITY OF 2010, filed on July 26 (an Act creating the Cordillera Terraces Authority, defining its powers and functions, and providing funds therefor).

Sen. Santiago filed the following bills relating to the environment, pollution, and wildlife:

1.     SBN-1798, DOLPHIN PROTECTION CONSUMER INFORMATION ACT, filed on July 21, 2010 (an Act protecting dolphins by informing consumers of the origin of tuna products);

2.     SBN-1779, GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSION ATMOSPHERIC REMOVAL ACT, filed on July 21, 2010, (an Act to facilitate the development, demonstration, and implementation of technology for use in removing greenhouse gases from the atmosphere and creating a Greenhouse Gas Emission Atmospheric Removal Commission);

3.     SBN-1685, ENVI-PROTECTION CLEANING AGENTS ACT, filed on July 21, 2010 (an Act regulating the distribution for sale or use of cleaning agents which contain phosphorus);

4.     SBN-1690, ANTI-MUFFLER MODIFICATION ACT, filed on July 21, 2010 (an Act prohibiting modifications of mufflers to increase noise emitted from exhaust systems);

5.     SBN-1684, EXOTIC ANIMAL PROTECTION ACT, filed on July 21, 2010 (an Act to prohibit certain conduct relating to exotic animals);

6.     SBN-1666, CARBON MONOXIDE DETECTORS, filed on July 20, 2010 (an Act requiring the installation of carbon monoxide detectors in school buildings); and

7.     SBN-1667, INDOOR AIR QUALITY, filed on July 20, 2010 (an Act to protect indoor air quality).

Criminal Law

Several senators filed bills relating to criminal law, which either amend the Revised Penal Code and existing special laws, or enact new special laws.

Sen. Pia Cayetano sponsored  SBN-2078, ANTI-DRUNK DRIVING ACT OF 2010, filed on July 27, 2010 (an Act prohibiting drunk driving, providing for strict penalties therefor, amending for the purpose the Revised Penal Code);

Sen. Revilla sponsored the following bills:

1.     SBN-1997, CRIME OF PLUNDER, filed on July 26, 2010 (an Act amending Section 12 of Republic Act No. 7659, as amended, the Act defining and penalizing the crime of plunder);

2.     SBN-1988, ANTI-DRUNK DRIVING ACT OF 2010, filed on July 26, 2010 (an Act defining as a crime the act of driving under the influence of alcohol and/or prohibited drugs and substances and providing for penalties therefor); and

3.     SBN-1980, CRIMES RELATING TO FIREARMS AND LIGHT WEAPONS, filed on July 26, 2010 (an Act providing for stiffer penalties for crimes relating to firearms and light weapons, further amending Presidential Decree No. 1866, as amended).

Sen. Angara sponsored the following bills:

1.     SBN-2053, REVISED PENAL CODE (ART. 355, 356, 357 & 360), ABOLISHING THE PENALTY OF IMPRISONMENT IN LIBEL CASES, filed on July 26, 2010 (an Act to abolish the penalty of imprisonment in libel cases, amending for the purpose Acticles 355,356,357 and 360 of the Revised Penal Code);

2.     SBN-2052, ANTI-RAPE LAW, AMENDMENT ADDING THE WORD: OR ANY OTHER PART OF THE BODY, filed on July 26, 2010 (an Act amending Republic Act No. 8353, otherwise known as “The Anti-Rape Law of 1997”);

3.     SBN-2033, ART FORGERIES ACT OF 2010, filed on July 26, 2010 (an Act defining the crime of art forgery, providing penalties thereof, and creating the Art Authentication Board);

4.     SBN-2016, REVISED PENAL CODE (ARTI. 156, 223 AND 224, R.A. NO. 3815), RE CUSTODIAL INFIDELITY, filed on July 26, 2010 (an Act prescribing stricter penalties on the crime of delivering prisoners from jail and infidelity in the custody of prisoners, amending for the purpose Articles 156, 223 and 224 of the Revised Penal Code); and

5.     SBN-2014, REVISED PENAL CODE (ARTICLE 88), filed on July 26, 2010 (an Act authorizing the court to require community service in lieu of imprisonment for the penalty of Arresto Menor, amending for that purpose Article 88 of the Revised Penal Code).

Sen. Escudero sponsored the following bills:

1.     SBN-2095, REVISED PENAL CODE (ART. 365), CRIMINAL NEGLIGENCE COMMITTED BY COMMON CARRIERS, filed on July 27, 2010 (an Act increasing the penalty for criminal negligence committed by common carrier, further amending Article 365 of the Revised Penal Code);

2.      SBN-2100, ANTI-CABLE TELEVISION AND CABLE INTERNET PILFERAGE ACT, filed on July 27, 2010 (an Act prohibiting and penalizing the pilferage and theft, unauthorized use, interconnection or reception of any signal or service offered over a cable television (CATV) or cable internet system and/or network or through any unauthorized installation, access or connection thereto through the use of cable or other equipment, and prescribing penalties therefor);

3.     SBN-2113, PENALIZING ANY MEMBER OF LAW ENFORCEMENT WHO REFUSE TO TESTIFY AS WITNESS IN CRIMINAL PROCEEDINGS, filed on July 27, 2010 (an Act penalizing any member of law enforcement agencies, or any other government official or employee who fails or refuses to testify as witness in any criminal proceedings);

4.     SBN-2112, WHISTLEBLOWER PROTECTION ACT, filed on July 27, 2010 (an Act providing for protection, security and benefits of whistleblowers);

5.     SBN-2107, USURPATION OF AUTHORITY OR OFFICIAL FUNCTIONS, filed on July 27, 2010 (an Act amending Article 177 of the Revised Penal Code);

6.     SBN-2122, PENALIZING ILLEGAL USE OF UNIFORM AND INSIGNIA, filed on July 27, 2010 (an Act providing stiffer penalties for the illegal use of AFP and PNB uniforms, insignia or dress, amending for that purpose Article 179 of the Revised Penal Code);

7.     SBN-2121, LAW ON RAPE, QUALIFIED SEDUCTION AND SIMPLE SEDUCTION, filed on July 27, 2010 (an Act modifying the definition of the crimes of rape, qualified seduction and simple seduction involving minor children and rationalizing penalties therefor, amending for the purpose certain sections of the Revised Penal Code);

8.     SBN-2117, INCREASE PENALTY FOR SLANDER BY DEED, filed on July 27, 2010 (an Act amending Article 359 of the Revised Penal Code);

9.     SBN-2123, ANTI-SMUGGLING ACT OF 2010, filed on July 27, 2010 (an Act amending certain provisions of Presidential Decree No. 1464, otherwise known as the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines, as amended);

But nobody can beat Sen. Santiago who sponsored the following bills:

1.    SBN-1969, PROBATION LAW, filed on July 22, 2010 (an Act amending Section 4 of Presidential Decree No. 968, otherwise known as the Probation Law of 1976, as amended, on the grant of probation);

2.   SBN-1963, ANTI-SPYWARE ACT, filed on July 22, 2010 (an Act to regulate the unauthorized installation of computer software and to require the clear disclosure to computer users of certain computer software features that may pose a threat to user privacy);

3.   SBN-1962, ANTI-RACKETEER INFLUENCED AND CORRUPT ORGANIZATIONS ACT, filed on July 22, 2010 (an Act penalizing racketeers and criminal enterprises, prohibiting such criminal enterprises and racketeer influenced and corrupt organizations from infiltrating, controlling or otherwise influencing Philippine commerce);

4.   SBN-1961, ACADEMIC HONESTY ACT, filed on July 22, 2010 (an Act prohibiting the unlawful sale and purchase of dissertations, theses, term papers, essays, reports, or any other assignment); and

5.   SBN-1960, ELIMINATING GENDER BIAS IN QUALIFIED SEDUCTION, filed on July 22, 2010 (an Act amending Article 337 of the Revised Penal Code, eliminating gender bias in qualified seduction and increasing the imposable penalty).

6.     SBN-1955, PREVENTION OF EQUINE CRUELTY ACT, filed on July 22, 2010 (an Act prohibiting certain conduct relating to the use of horses for human consumption);

7.     SBN-1951, CRIME OF AGRI-BIOTERRORISM, filed on July 22, 2010 (an Act defining and penalizing the crime of Agri-Bioterrorism);

8.     SBN-1941, ANTI-SEXUAL HARASSMENT ACT, filed on July 22, 2010 (an Act amending Republic Act 7877, also known as the Anti-Sexual Harassment Act, as amended, Section 7 on the penalties);

9.     SBN-1940, ANTI-CABLE TAPPING ACT, filed on July 22, 2010 (an Act penalizing unauthorized interception and reception of cable television services);

10.     SBN-1939, ANTI-STUDENT EXTORTION ACT, filed on July 22, 2010 (an Act penalizing refusal to enrol students, release cards and other documents for clearance purposes, in public schools for failure to pay miscellaneous and other fees);

11.     SBN-1935, VEHICLE ACCIDENTS ACT, filed on July 22, 2010 (an Act imposing higher penalties for vehicular accident);

12.     SBN-1933, ELIMINATING GENDER BIAS IN ADULTERY AND CONCUBINAGE, filed on July 22, 2010 (an Act amending Article 333 and 344, and repealing Article 334, of the Revised Penal Code, eliminating gender bias in adultery and concubinage);

13.     SBN-1913, ILLEGAL GAMBLING AND/OR BETTING, filed on July 22, 2010 (an Act rationalizing the law against gambling and/or betting by providing stiffer penalties, forfeiture and confiscation provisions and establishing a prima facie presumption for violations therefor, amending for these purposes Presidential Decree No. 1602);

14.     SBN-1904, ECONOMIC ESPIONAGE AND PROTECTION OF PROPRIETY INFORMATION ACT, filed on July 22, 2010 (an Act defining the crime of economic espionage and providing penalties therefor);

15.     SBN- 1898, DRUG DEALER LIABILITY ACT, filed on July 22, 2010 (an Act providing the civil liability of drug dealers in favour of persons injured by illegal drugs);

16.     SBN-1894, CHILD FIREARM ACCESS PREVENTION, filed on July 22, 2010 (an Act penalizing parents or guardians who fail to secure their firearms from being accessed by children);

17.     SBN-1883, WHISTLEBLOWER PROTECTION ACT, filed on July 22, 2010 (an Act establishing a whistleblower bill of rights);

18.     SBN-1879, ANTI-CYBERSEX ACT, filed on July 22, 2010 (an Act classifying cybersex operations as a form of prostitution, and imposing penalties on cybersex den operators, personnel, and protector/coddlers);

19.     SBN-1863, FALSIFICATION OF TORRENS CERTIFICATE OF TITLE, filed on July 22, 2010 (an Act amending the Revised Penal Code, Articles 171 and 172, imposing stiffer penalties for the falsification of Torrens Certificates of Title);

20.     SBN-1853, INTERNET GAMBLING PROHIBITION ACT, filed on July 22, 2010 (an Act prohibiting internet gambling);

21.     SBN-1833, UNATTENDED CHILDREN IN MOTOR VEHICLES SAFETY ACT, filed on July 21, 2010 (an Act prohibiting the leaving of children unattended inside motor vehicles);

22.     SBN-1825, ANTI-INJURIOUS ANIMALS ACT, filed on July 21, 2010 (an Act to prohibit importation or shipment of mammals, birds, fish (including molluscs and crustacean), amphibian, and reptiles, that may be injurious to the Philippine ecosystem, providing penalties and exceptions);

23.     SBN-1803, PENALIZING THE FAILURE TO REPORT ACTS OF HAZING, filed on July 21, 2010 (an Act penalizing the failure to report acts of hazing, amending Republic Act No. 8049);

24.     SBN-1778, ANTI-STALKER ACT, filed on July 21, 2010 (an Act defining the crime of stalking and providing the penalties therefor);

25.     SBN-1771, ANTI-CARNAPPING ACT, filed on July 21, 2010 (an Act requiring the immediate return of carnapped vehicles to the lawful owners thereof, amending for the purpose Republic Act No. 6539, otherwise known as the “Anti-Carnapping Act of 1972”);

27.     SBN-1760, ILLEGAL/UNLAWFUL IMPORTATION, MANUFACTURE OF EXPLOSIVES AND CHEMICALS, filed on July 21, 2010 (an Act providing for strict regulation and stiffer penalties for the illegal/unlawful importation, manufacture, acquisition, sale, disposition or possession of explosives and chemicals or accessories used in the manufacture of explosives, repealing Executive Order No. 522 and amending certain provisions of Presidential Decree No. 1866);

28.     SBN-1745, ANTI-DISRUPTIVE CELLPHONE USE ACT, filed on July 21, 2010 (an Act prohibiting the use of cellular or mobile telephones in certain public areas of hospitals, medical centers, or any other treatment center);

29.     SBN-1712, USING FICTITIOUS NAME AND CONCEALING TRUE NAME, filed on July 21, 2010 (an Act penalizing any person who induces or causes another to use a fictitious name, or conceals his true name, or usurps the civil status of another person, amending for the purpose Articles 178 and 348 of the Revised Penal Code);

30.     SBN-1708, VEHICULAR ACCIDENT AGGRAVATING ACT, filed on July 21, 2010 (an Act aggravating the punishment for the crime of reckless imprudence if committed by a person driving a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or prohibited drugs);

31.     SBN-1689, ANTI-GRAVE ROBBERS ACT, filed on July 21, 2010 (an Act amending the Revised Penal Code penalizing the robbery of cemetery articles);

32.     SBN-1652, ANTI-EXPLOITIVE CHILD MODELING ACT, filed on July 20, 2010 (an Act defining the crime of exploitive child modelling and providing penalties therefor);

33.     SBN-1651, ANTI LOOK-ALIKE FIREARMS ACT, filed on July 20, 2010 (an Act prohibiting the manufacture and sale of imitation firearms);

34.     SBN-1650, PENALIZING CRIME OF MURDER UNDER EXTRAORDINARY CIRCUMSTANCES, filed on July 20, 2010 (an Act amending the Revised Penal Code, Section 248, to define and penalize the crime of murder committed under extraordinary circumstances);

35.     SBN-1647, ANTI-VANDALISM ACT, filed on July 20, 2010 (an Act prohibiting vandalism and imposing penalties thereto);

36.     SBN-1639, ANTI-DISCRIMINATION ACT, filed on July 19, 2010 (an Act to establish criminal liability for unlawful discrimination based on disparate treatment);

37.     SBN-1636, SAVE OUR CHILDREN ACT, filed on July 19, 2010 (an Act increasing the penalty on crimes against children and establishing a separate DNA database for violent predators against children):

38.     SBN-1628, CRIME OF TAMPERING A TAXIMETER, filed on July 19, 2010 (an Act punishing the crime of tampering with a taximeter);

39.     SBN-1627, STOP SMUGGLING ACT, filed on July 19, 2010 (an Act punishing various forms of smuggling, prescribing penalties therefor, granting incentives and rewards for assistance of witnesses and informants leading to successful prosecution thereof);

40.     SBN-1612, NATIONAL EMERGENCY ANTI-PROFITEERING ACT, filed on July 19, 2010 (an Act to protect the national security by prohibiting profiteering of essential commodities during periods of national emergency);

41.     SBN-1609, MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY ACT, filed on July 19, 2010 (an Act prohibiting a person from knowingly permitting a motor vehicle owned or controlled by him to be driven by a person who is not authorized to drive under the law);

42.     SBN-1603, ANTI-GRAFT AND CORRUPT PRACTICES ACT, filed on July 19, 2010 (an Act strengthening the Republic Act No. 3019, otherwise known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act);

43.     SBN-1569, WEAPON ACCIDENT PREVENTION ACT, filed on July 19, 2010 (an Act penalizing the unsafe storage of weapons);

44.     SBN-1563, INCREASING PENALTIES FOR ELECTION OFFENSES, filed on July 19, 2010 (an Act increasing the penalties for election offenses attended by violence, coercion, intimidation, force or threats and for other election offenses);

45.     SBN-1561, ANTI-COMPUTER PORNOGRAPHY ACT, filed on July 19, 2010 (an Act to punish transmission of indecent material by computer to minors);

46.     SBN-1559, ANTI-SEXUAL ORIENTATION DISCRIMINATION ACT, filed on July 19, 2010 (an Act prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and providing penalties therefor);

47.     SBN-1556, UNSOUGHT CELLULAR MOBILE PHONE SERVICES ACT, filed on July 19, 2010 (an Act prohibiting cellular mobile phone providers from conveying unsought services that are automatically and involuntarily charged against the account of subscribers, imposing penalties on unlawful acts of the providers);

48.     SBN-1544, PROHIBITING UNATTENDED CHILDREN IN MOTOR VEHICLES, filed on July 19, 2010 (an Act to prohibit unattended children in motor vehicles);

49.     SBN-1513, AGE OF STATUTORY RAPE AND ACTS OF SEXUAL ABUSE ACT, filed on July 19, 2010 (an Act increasing the age for determining statutory rape and other acts of sexual abuse and exploitation to provide stronger protection for children, and amending for this purpose the Revised Penal Code);

50.     SBN-1512, CRIMES OF RECKLESS ENDANGERMENT OF THE PUBLIC HEALTH, filed on July 19, 2010 (an Act defining and penalizing the crimes of reckless endangerment of the public health and offering a false statement which endangers the public health);

51.     SBN-1503, CRIME OF BETRAYAL OF DUTY IN THE CUSTODY OF PRISONERS, filed on July 15, 2010 (an Act defining the crime of betrayal of duty in the custody of prisoners providing for additional rules on the imprisonment, detention, confinement and custody of prisoners and detainees, specifying additional work and responsibilities of government personnel charged with the custody of such prisoners and stating the penalties therefor); and

52.     SBN-1500, ANTI-INCEST ACT, filed on July 15, 2010 (an Act criminalizing incestuous sexual relations).

Finally, it may be worth noting the several bills filed by Sen. Santiago (who, by the way, was my professor at the UP College of Law) that seeks to address common day-to-day irritants. See if you are one of those who hope the following bills become law:

1.     SBN-1775, EXACT CHANGE ACT, filed on July 21, 2010 (an Act requiring business establishments to give exact change to consumers);

2.     SBN- 1870, CHILD PASSENGER PROTECTION ACT, filed on July 22, 2010 (an Act providing for the creation of safety standards for child restraints in motor vehicles and requiring the use of such restraints by child passengers);

3.     SBN-1724, SLOW-MOVING VEHICLES ACT, filed on July 21, 2010 (an Act requiring a vehicle proceeding upon a highway at a speed less than the normal speed of traffic to drive in the right-hand lane for traffic or as close as practicable to the right-hand edge or curb);

4.     SBN-1678, AGGRESSIVE DRIVING, filed on July 20, 2010 (an Act to regulate aggressive driving);

5.     SBN-1597, PROHIBITING ALL FORMS OF CORPORAL PUNISHMENT, filed on July 19, 2010 (an Act amending Article 218, 220 and 223 of the Family Code to prohibit all forms of corporal punishment); and

6.     SBN-1590, NOISE EMISSION OF MOTORCYCLES, filed on July 19, 2010 (an Act to regulate the noise emission of motorcycles).

If P-Noy will still not be able to approve any new law next month, I will discuss some of the more interesting bills filed in the House of Representatives.

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