MANILA - Has singer-composer Freddie Aguilar violated any law by being in a relationship with a minor?
University of the Philippines College of Law Dean Danilo Concepcion said in his DZMM news program Usapang de Campanilla that if a minor is over the age of 12 but under 18, a case can be filed for seduction if the girl was a virgin.
Aguilar, renowned worldwide for his hit song "Anak," has admitted to being in a relationship with a 16-year-old girl.
Under the Revised Penal Code, seduction of a virgin over 12 and under 18 is considered a crime against chastity.
"Kung ang naging karelasyon mong sexual ay menor de edad, below 18 at ang mga karelasyon mong babae ay virgin, ang kaso mo naman ay seduction. Kahit ba pumayag siya, pero kung siya ay virgin, seduction yan," he said. "On top of that, baka may kaso pang child abuse."
However, Concepcion said seduction is not considered a public offense. Thus, only a private party--not the government--can pursue a case against an accused.
Child abuse, on the other hand, is considered a public offense, meaning agencies like the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) can file a case for victims under the Republic Act No. 7610, or the Special Protection of Children against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act.
"Sino magrereklamo eh pumapayag naman ang magulang? Pwede ang DSWD," he said.
RA 7610 makes it a state policy to "protect the family and its members particularly women and children." One of the acts considered "sexual violence" is prostitution of women or children.
What's clear, Concepcion said, is that if a man has sexual relations with a minor who is less than 12 years old, the man can be sued for statutory rape.
"Halimbawa ikaw ay isang lalake na matanda na. Nasa tamang edad ka na pero ang iyong karelasyon ay less than 12 years old. Ang kaso mo doon ay rape. Maski pa yung bata ay kusang loob na nagpapagamit sa lalake, eh rape pa rin yun--statutory rape," said Concepcion.
Concepcion also added that only those aged 18 and above can marry, whether or not there is consent from parents or guardians.
Aguilar said he still cannot marry his girlfriend since she is still not yet 18 years old.