Malilong: Lotharios and jail time

SEX tours are old hat. The punishment is not. Those Koreans whom the police arrested in a resort hotel in Lapu-Lapu City last Saturday are in serious trouble.

It used to be that the man who pays or grants favors for sex can go on a binge without fear of being jailed. On the other hand, the woman, who accepted the money or the favors, faced the possibility of spending between six months to six years in jail.

It’s not so anymore. The term prostitute has practically been erased by the new law. She or, in some cases, he is now called a trafficked person, who now seems to be no longer in any danger of criminal liability because the law considers them as victims “and as such, shall not be penalized for unlawful acts” related to prostitution, even if he or she willingly consented to his or her being “trafficked.”

It is now the Lothario who, along with the traffickers, faces stiff penalties. A person “who buys or engages the services of a traffic person for prostitution” now faces imprisonment of between six years to twelve years.” If the trafficked person is a minor, his fate is worse: seventeen years to forty years in jail.

The first time the law punished the act of buying sex, the penalty was a slap in the wrist: six months of community service the nature of which depended on the judge for the first offense and one year imprisonment for the second and subsequent offenses.

In both the original and the amendatory law, if the offender was a foreigner, he would be deported and forever barred from entry to the Philippines but only after he has served his sentence.

Understandably, the penalty is higher for the traffickers: 15 years and life imprisonment depending on whether the crime committed was qualified or not.

Between being charged and being convicted is a wide gap. Many cases do not prosper because the witnesses or even the accused themselves could no longer be found. Then there is the case of the law enforcement agency losing interest in prosecuting because of delays.

It is therefore important that all those involved in the justice delivery system should work with particular urgency. Our problem has been our ningas cogon mentality.

Change has come, hasn’t it?

•••

The SunStar report on the condition of the police detention cells is disturbing. If it is that bad, why wasn’t the attention of the local authorities called? Or do they already know but have done nothing about it because building additional jails Is not in their list of priorities?

That does not seem to be the case in Cordova because according to the police chief, the mayor has given money to build an extension to the local prison. Still, the facility is so overcrowded that he had to resort to transferring some male detainees to a smaller stockade shared by female detainees.

Holy cow, if it’s that bad and no further help is forthcoming, perhaps we should just stop arresting suspects?
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