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Bill establishing national sex offender registry filed in Senate

A bill creating a national sex offender registration database has been filed in the Senate.

Senator Jinggoy Estrada filed Senate Bill 1291 "in order to allow the public to obtain relevant information and data on convicted and suspected sex offenders."

Estrada said this registry may be of use not only to the general public but particularly to various non-government organizations working for the protection of women and children who more often than not are target victims of sex-related offenses.

"Studies suggest that many sex offenders, albeit apprehended and convicted previously, continue doing heinous activities and are able to do so by relocating elsewhere so they may not be detected," Estrada said in his explanatory note.

"This is unfortunate. Certainly, the many special penal laws against sex-related offenses so enacted of late shall be futile, unless ample public protection and warning is provided for," he added.

Estrada emphasized the importance of the measure, saying the "disturbing increase" in the number of reported sex-related offenses in the country over the years has "tremendously caused public panic and alarm, particularly amongst the vulnerable sector of women and children."

"Indeed, it seems that despite the many legal instruments for the protection of women and children, and despite stricter measures implemented by law enforcement agencies, the problem not only continues, but also worsens, with many sex offenders able to consummate their fiendish schemes against unsuspecting victims," he said.

Under SB 1291, the Department of Justice will be mandated to establish the National Sex Offender Registry, which makes available and accessible to the Philippine National Police and to concerned law enforcement agencies all information necessary to determine which registered sex offenders are currently residing within a  radius, as specified by the user of the registry, of the location indicated by the user of the registry.

The registry will contain the names and other pertinent details of sex offenders who reside or sojourn in the country regardless of nationality or citizenship.

The DOJ shall allow immediate information-sharing between local and foreign jurisdiction for each sex offender.

The information in the National Sex Offender Registry Database will include:

  • Full name and aliases
  • Permanent and present residential addresses
  • Employment history
  • Fingerprints and DNA samples
  • Complete criminal history
  • Education information
  • Recent photograph

Sex offender is defined under the bill as any person who was convicted by final judgment of rape, crimes committed against chastity, and those who violated Republic Act 9262 or the Anti-Violence Against Women and Children Act of 2004.

The term shall also include persons convicted of final judgment before foregn courts for rape, sexual assault, acts of lasciviousness, or other similar crimes involving sexual violence or activity.

Prior to being released from imprisonment, convicted sex offenders shall register in each province, city, or municipality where they are residing, employed or studying.

Sex offenders shall be required to regularly update their registration and those who change residence, employment, or school shall update registration within 10 days from the said change.

The inclusion of sex offenders in the registry would be permanent and they will be required to appear at least once a year before the local police in his/her place of residence.

Further sex offenders must verify their information in person.

Sex offenders who "knowingly and willfully" fail to register or update their information will be slapped with one to five years of imprisonment and a fine of P10,000. —Hana Bordey/KBK, GMA News