Creation of sex offender registry sought

Paolo Romero - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - A lawmaker has proposed requiring all convicted sex offenders, including foreign nationals, to register in a national database so that law enforcers will have sufficient information on possible threats that may arise from sexual predators.

 ACT-CIS party-list Rep. Samuel Pagdilao, vice chairman of the House committee on public order and safety, filed House Bill 6301, which seeks to establish a National Sex Offender Registry System.

The registry shall include the following information for each sex offender: name, address, employment, fingerprints, DNA sample, complete criminal history, recent photograph, in addition to any other information that will be deemed necessary for the proper registration of sex offenders.

Pagdilao said that having a sex offender registry would boost the country’s capability to monitor the activities of foreign pedophiles and warn communities that a sexual predator may be in their midst. 

“The aim is not to humiliate or embarrass convicted sex offenders. However, the high risk of recidivism in sex offenders calls for this drastic and serious measure, which is necessary for the protection of children and society from sex-related crimes,” said Pagdilao, a lawyer and former head of the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group. 

The Bureau of Immigration (BI) had stated that foreign nationals who are sex offenders shall not be allowed entry to Philippine territory. 

The BI earlier deported a foreigner in Dumaguete City who had been a fugitive for 10 years in connection with a sexual assault. 

“True enough, these sex offenders are threats to public safety, most especially to children who, by reason of their economic status, are prone to sexual exploitation and abuse. Unfortunately, government’s efforts to totally ban their entry to the country are not enough to protect the general public,” Pagdilao said.

House Bill 6301 mandates the state to protect the physical, moral, and social wellbeing of its citizens, hence it shall adopt every measure that aims to ensure their safety from any form of sexual abuse and exploitation by making the community and law enforcement agencies aware of sexual offenders that are possible threats to the personal safety and wellbeing of all Filipinos, especially children.

 The bill defines “sex offenders” as any person convicted by final judgment of rape under Article 266 of the Revised Penal Code; crimes committed against chastity as defined under Book 2, Title XI of the Revised Penal Code; and violations of Section 5 (g) of Republic Act 9262, as amended, as well as other forms of sexual violence as defined therein.

 Sex offenders shall also include persons convicted by final judgment before foreign courts for the crimes of rape, sexual assault, acts of lasciviousness, or other similar crimes involving sexual violence or activity.

 The bill provides that every convicted sex offender, prior to being released from prison, shall register in each province, municipality, or city where the offender resides, is employed, or is a student. 

Each offender shall regularly update the registration. A sex offender who changes residence, employment, or school should update the registry within 10 days.

 The Department of Justice shall be mandated to create and maintain the necessary database, computer system, and software to establish the National Sex Offender Registry System which shall allow immediate information-sharing between local and foreign jurisdictions, including law enforcement agencies.

The database, computer system and software created shall be shared and distributed to local government units for the operation of a uniform registry and Internet websites.

The general public shall not have access to the detailed information of the registered sex offender, but a website shall be made available which will include relevant information about sex offenders, such as their name, recent photograph, and the crime committed.

Every local government unit shall be required to maintain its own online registry, which shall be accessible to the general public.

Under the bill, any sex offender who shall knowingly and wilfully fail to register or update his information shall suffer the penalty of one to five-year imprisonment.

In the event that an unregistered sex offender commits a crime, regardless of its nature, the penalty of five to 10 years’ imprisonment shall be imposed, in addition to penalty imposed by reason of the crime committed.


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