Solon wants to increase the penalty vs crimes committed against elderly

MANILA, (PNA) — A lawmaker has filed a bill increasing the penalty against persons who commit crimes against senior citizens.

Rep. Susan Yap (2nd District, Tarlac) said House Bill 408 will enable the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) to conduct a study relating to crimes against seniors in order to assist in developing new strategies to prevent and reduce the incidence of these crimes.

“The measure seeks to develop strategies to deter or prevent crimes against elderly and increase the penalty for such offense,” Yap said.

Yap said the study shall include analysis of the nature and type of crimes perpetrated against seniors with special focus on the most common type of crimes, the nature and extent of elder abuse inflicted, and the nature and extent of health care fraud and abuse targeting seniors.

Yap said included in the study are issues on the risk factors associated with seniors who have been victimized.

She said a centralized computer database on the incidence of crimes against seniors shall be created.

Yap said the study shall also include crime risk factors for seniors, the time and locations at which crimes against seniors are most likely to occur and the specific characteristics of the victims like their age, gender, race or ethnicity and socio-economic status.

Under the bill, the DOJ shall review existing sentencing guidelines and recommend the possibility of increased penalties for persons convicted of offenses in which the victim was a senior in appropriate circumstances, given the serious economic and physical harms associated with criminal activities targeted at seniors due to their vulnerability.

The DOJ shall consult with individuals or groups representing seniors, law enforcement agencies, victims organizations and the judiciary as part of the review.

All agencies of the government including Local Government Units (LGUs) and Government-Owned and Controlled Corporations (GOCCs) shall endeavour to strengthen all present and existing service and support mechanisms to senior citizens.

The bill also seeks to establish a senior’s desk in all government offices in the national and local levels.