A LAWMAKER has filed a bill increasing the age of statutory rape to 16 years from 12 years.

Tingog Party-list Rep. Yedda Marie Romualdez’s House Bill 4160 will impose a life sentence for the crime of statutory rape against minors who are under 16 years old.

“If this measure is passed into law, any adult who has sexual intercourse with a minor below 16 years old is guilty of rape,” Ms. Romualdez said in a statement yesterday. “Even if the minor has given his or her consent to the sexual act, it is still rape.”

Ms. Romualdez said minors below 16 years old have no “power to resist to give their genuine and fully informed consent to any sexual activity.”

“Under the bill, the subsequent valid marriage between the offended party and the offender shall not automatically extinguish the criminal action or the penalty imposed,” according to the lawmaker.

It also redefined the crimes of qualified seduction, simple seduction, forcible abduction and consented abduction in relation to minors as victims.

The measure provides that qualified seduction involves a minor who is 16 years old and under 18 years, committed by a person in public authority, a priest, a guardian or teacher.

The penalty for qualified seduction was raised to two years and four months to six years imprisonment.

Simple seduction is committed by means of deceit and will be punishable by a maximum term of six months, while forcible abduction will be punishable by 12 years to 20 years in jail.

Meanwhile, those guilty of consented abduction will be sentenced to 6 months to four years in jail.

Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri earlier filed a bill that seeks to raise to 15 years the age of sexual consent. — Vince Angelo C. Ferreras