Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago has filed a bill to define and penalise the crime of stalking in the Philippines.
Santiago said it had become easier to stalk people in modern times through social networking sites, improved hacking progammes, and devices like cameras, microphones, and remote phone tapping.
Under Senate Bill #2552, a person who makes repeated unsolicited telephone calls, communicates anonymously or at inconvenient hours, visits the victim’s home or workplace, and maintains physical presence to the victim in a public place could be prosecuted.
If a complaint of harassment is proven – involving bothering, frightening a victim as well as interference of a person’s private life – will be jailed for up to six months. An additional alternative to the penalty of stalking would be one day’s imprisonment and a fine ranging from 1,000-5,000 peso.
Santiagao said that Article 2, Section 5 of the Constitution stated that “the maintenance of peace and order, the protection of life, liberty, and property, and promotion of the general welfare are essential for the enjoyment by all the people of the blessings of democracy.”
“Every person shall respect the dignity, personality, privacy and peace of mind of his neighbors and persons,” Santiago said, citing Article #26 of the Civil Code.
Sorsogon Representatives Evelina Escudero has filed a similar bill in the House of Representatives.
Under House Bill 5064, or the proposed Anti-Stalking Act, any convicted person of the crime of stalking shall be jailed for six months and one day to six years or a penalty of 500,000 pesos or both at the discretion of the court.