MANILA – House Deputy Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has filed a bill seeking to impose stricter penalties on graveyard robbers.
Arroyo authored House Bill 428, which seeks to amend the Revised Penal Code to include the crime of Grave Robbery.
"In cases enumerated in Articles 299 and 302, when the robbery consists in the taking of all or part of a tomb, coffin, monument, gravestone or all or part of a commemorative, decorative or other cemetery related article or committed in a cemetery, graveyard or burial ground, the culprit shall suffer the penalty next higher in degree than that prescribed in the said article," the bill said.
Articles 299 and 303 refer to robbery in an inhabited house or public building or edifice devoted to worship and robbery in an uninhabited place or in a private building.
In her bill's explanatory note, Arroyo said, "as we eagerly anticipated the time for remembering those who preceded us, there are unfortunate incidents where we find that the final resting place of our loved ones have been desecrated by grave robbers."
"The damage done goes beyond the measurable as it dishonors the deceased and causes anguish to those who survived them. It is the humble intent of this bill 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 note continued.