Philippines senator demands ‘heavier penalties’ for anti-gay hate crimes

Bam Aquino says the number of LGBTI murders will continue to rise if harsher punishments are not introduced

16 October 2014 | By Darren Wee

Philippine Senator Bam Aquino said number the of LGBTI murders would rise if harsher penalties were not introduced.

Philippine Senator Bam Aquino has called for harsher punishments for hate crimes against LGBTI people in the wake of the murder of transgender woman Jennifer Laude.

‘We should impose heavier penalties so that these discriminatory and inhumane acts will be eradicated,’ Aquino said in a press statement.

Citing data from the Philippine LGBT Hate Crime Watch, he there were 164 cases of LGBTI murders in the country between 1996 and June 2012.

‘This number will continue to rise unless we do something about it immediately,’ said Aquino, who authored the Anti-Discrimination Act of 2014.

The bill seeks to ban and punish discrimination on the basis of ethnicity, race, religion or belief, gender, sexual orientation, civil status, HIV status and other medical conditions.

Under the bill, persons found guilty would be fined from P100,000 to P500,000 ($2231-11156) and jailed for up to 12 years.

The Commission on Human Rights will be tasked to investigate and recommend the filing of complaints against any person committing a hate crime.

‘If the Commission has reasonable cause to believe that any person or group of persons is engaged in discrimination under this Act, the Commission shall recommend a legal action in the appropriate prosecutor’s office or court,’ the bill states.