MANILA, Philippines - Former President and now Pampanga 2nd District Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and her son, Camarines Sur 2nd District Rep. Diosdado Arroyo, are seeking passage of a law that will penalize grave robbers.
House Bill 6606 or the proposed "Anti-Grave Robbers Act of 2012 seeks to penalize acts of dishonoring the deceased. The bill was filed by the younger Arroyo and co-authored by the former President.
In a statement, the younger Arroyo said grave robbery is a desecration of the dearly departed and has been a perennial problem in the country.
"In Philippine society, we have always paid our respects to our dead. More often than not, we adorn many gifts in their final resting places or provide them with sprawling mausoleums to commemorate their lives," he said.
Mrs. Arroyo said the bill seeks to create a separate act of robbery under the Revised Penal Code for the robbery of cemetery items or the ones committed in cemeteries, graveyards or burial grounds.
The bill describes grave robbery as "taking of all or part of a tomb, coffin, monument, gravestone, or all part of a commemorative, decorative, or other cemetery-related article or committed in a cemetery, graveyard or burial ground."
It said a person found guilty of grave robbery shall suffer the penalty next higher in degree than that prescribed in Articles 299 and 302 of the Revised Penal Code.
Presently, Art. 299 provides a punishment of reclusion temporal if the value of the property taken by any armed robber from an uninhabited house or public building or edifice devoted to religious worship, shall exceed P250.00. When the offenders do not carry arms, and the value of the property taken exceeds P250.00, the penalty next lower in degree shall be imposed.
Meanwhile, Article 302 provides that for any robbery committed in an uninhabited place or in a building other than those mentioned in the first paragraph of Article 299, if the value of the property taken exceeds P250.00, it shall be punished by prision correccional. When the value of the property taken does not exceed P250.00, the penalty next lower in degree shall be imposed.