PNoy ‘crucified women’ by signing RA 10158 – Gabriela

Prostitution should be decriminalized, too, says Gabriela

GABRIELA calls President Aquino 'Anti-Women'

MANILA, Philippines – Women’s partylist group Gabriela is protesting Republic Act (R.A.) 10158, the act decriminalizing vagrancy. President Benigno Aquino III practically “crucified women” when he signed it into law last March 27, the group said.

What is so offensive about decriminalizing vagrancy? Nothing. What Gabriela found offensive is that the law retained prostitution as a criminal act.

Before the amendment, vagrancy and prostitution were considered under the Revised Penal Code as “offenses against decency and good customs.”

R.A. 10158 amends Article 202 of the Code to remove vagrancy but retained prostitution in the list.

“President Aquino affirmed that prostituted women are criminals when he signed RA 10158, thereby perpetuating the archaic view contained in Article 202 of the Revised Penal Code,” said Gabriela Rep Emmi De Jesus.

Failed veto call

Failing to block the bill in Congress, De Jesus called on President Aquino to veto the bill.

Gabriela has long been advocating for the decriminalization of prostitution.

De Jesus said the government has to see that prostituted women are victims of poverty, pimps, and customers. She  maintained that R.A. 10158 violates the Magna Carta of Women, which seeks to protect women from abuse and violence.

“Here is a President who, instead of ensuring programs that will protect the victims and ensure their social reintegration, further aggravated their situation by calling them criminals. By doing so, he is the modern-day Pontius Pilate out to crucify prostituted women to the cross of oppression,” De Jesus said.

Benefits of the law

On the other hand, R.A. 10158 was hailed for decriminalizing vagrancy. Rights groups often complained about police officers who cite the vagrancy law to defend reckless and arbitrary arrests.

Under the new law, the following persons are considered vagrants:

1. Any person having no apparent means of subsistence, who has the physical ability to work and who neglects to apply himself or herself to some lawful calling;

2. Any person found loitering about public or semi-public buildings or places or trampling or wandering about the country or the streets without visible means of support;

3. Any idle or dissolute person who ledges in houses of ill fame; ruffians or pimps and those who habitually associate with prostitutes;

4. Any person who, not being included in the provisions of other articles of this Code, shall be found loitering in any inhabited or uninhabited place belonging to another without any lawful or justifiable purpose;

Earlier version of Article 202

Below is the previous version of Article 202:

“Art. 202. Vagrants and prostitutes; penalty. — The following are vagrants:

1. Any person having no apparent means of subsistence, who has the physical ability to work and who neglects to apply himself or herself to some lawful calling;

2. Any person found loitering about public or semi-public buildings or places or trampling or wandering about the country or the streets without visible means of support;

3. Any idle or dissolute person who ledges in houses of ill fame; ruffians or pimps and those who habitually associate with prostitutes;

4. Any person who, not being included in the provisions of other articles of this Code, shall be found loitering in any inhabited or uninhabited place belonging to another without any lawful or justifiable purpose;

5. Prostitutes.

“For the purposes of this article, women who, for money or profit, habitually indulge in sexual intercourse or lascivious conduct, are deemed to be prostitutes.

“Any person found guilty of any of the offenses covered by this articles shall be punished by arresto menor or a fine not exceeding 200 pesos, and in case of recidivism, by arresto mayor in its medium period to prision correccional in its minimum period or a fine ranging from 200 to 2,000 pesos, or both, in the discretion of the court.”

Amended Article 202

But the amended Article 202 of the Revised Penal Code still punishes prostitutes.

“Article 202. Prostitutes; Penalty. – For the purposes of this article, women who, for money or profit, habitually indulge in sexual intercourse or lascivious conduct, are deemed to be prostitutes.

“Any person found guilty of any of the offenses covered by this article shall be punished by arresto menor or a fine not exceeding 200 pesos, and in case of recidivism, by arresto mayor in its medium period to prision correctional in its minimum period or a fine ranging from 200 to 2,000 pesos, or both, in the discretion of the court.” – Rappler.com