Lapid files bill criminalizing abandonment of parents

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Senator Manuel “Lito” Lapid has filed a bill that proposes to criminalize the act of deprivation of support to incapacitated parents.

Lapid’s Senate Bill 2061 reinforces the duty of children to take care of their elderly, sickly or otherwise, incapacitated parents. The bill further states that children shall, within their means and capacity, maintain support for their father or mother, who by virtue of being over 60 years of age or suffering from a disease or disablity, are rendered incapabale of supporting themselves.

The bill also mentions that among the persons mentioned in Article 195 of the Family Code who are obliged to give support to each other are parents and their children. This means that the obligation to support cuts both ways- parents must support their children, especially during the years of their minority and dependency; on the other hand, children who are already capable must take care of their elderly, disease or disability-stricken parents who are in need.

Unfortunately, abuse against an elderly, disabled, or otherwise incapacitated parent, which includes physical, sexual, psychological, emotional and financial abuse, abandonment, neglect and serious loss of dignity and respect, has become an “invisible issue” in the Philippines, according to Commission on Human Rights.

“It is sad to think that our parents are the ones who work hard during their prime so they can support their children, who then abandon their parents when their parents are already old,” Lapid explained.

Senate Bill 2061 states that when an elderly parent appears to be in need, he/she may, by himself/herself through a representative of the Department of Social Welfare and Development, shall initiate the filing of a criminal action against his/her children for deprivation of support.

The bill defines “support” as everything indispensible for sustenance, dwelling, clothing and medical attendance.

Any person, who despite having the capacity, but neglects to maintain support to his or her parent shall be liable for deprivation of support to parent and shall be punishable by imprisonment, with proposed fines ranging from P200,000 to P500,000.

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