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House panel approves bill protecting elderly from abuse

The House committee on population and family relations this week approved a substitute bill seeking to protect senior citizens from violence.

House Bill 7030 or the “Anti-Elder Abuse Act” provides penalties for abuses committed against the elderly.
The bill defines elderly abuse as a single or repeated, or lack of appropriate action, occurring within any relationship where there is an expectation of trust, which causes harm or distress to a senior citizen.
Such abuse includes any act or series of acts committed by any person against a senior citizen, within or without the family abode, which results or is likely to result in physical or psychological harm, suffering or distress, or neglect, including threats of such acts, battery, physical assault, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty.
These acts include physical violence, psychological or emotional, economic or domestic violence and neglect or abandonment.
Domestic violence refers to acts or threats of violence on a senior citizen committed by the current or former spouse of the victim; a person related by blood or marriage to the victim; a person who is cohabiting with or has cohabited with the victim; a person with whom the victim shares a child in common; a person who is or has been in the social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim, and a person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim or by any other person, if the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction of the victim provide for legal protection of the victim.
An act of violence is committed against a senior citizen when there is physical abuse or infliction of pain or injury, physical harm, pain or impairment, suffering or distress; psychological, mental or emotional abuse causing mental or emotional suffering or distress; material exploitation through legal or improper use of funds or resources of the senior citizen and economic or financial abuse through acts that makes the senior citizen financially dependent, and sexual abuse or the non-consensual contact of any kind with the senior citizen.
Likewise, there is an act of violence against a senior citizen if there is neglect by refusal or failure to fulfill obligations or duties of a person who has fiduciary responsibility to provide care for the senior citizen, to include failure of a home service provider to provide necessary care, refusal to provide a senior citizen, and abandonment or desertion by leaving a senior citizen unattended at a place for such a considerable length of time, as may likely to endanger the health and welfare of a senior citizen, by an individual who has assumed responsibility for providing care for the senior citizen, or by a person with custody of the senior citizen.
The commission of said acts of violence against the elderly shall be considered an aggravating circumstance due to the vulnerability of a senior citizen.
The following penalties shall be imposed: 1) Acts of violence constituting attempted, frustrated or consummated parricide or homicide shall be punished in accordance with the provisions of the Revised Penal Code; 2) Acts of violence under this Act resulting in mutilation shall be punishable in accordance with the Revised Penal Code, provided that those resulting in serious physical injuries shall be punishable with the penalty of prision mayor; 3) Those resulting in less serious physical injuries shall be punishable with prision correccional and those resulting in slight injuries shall be punished with arresto mayor, and 4) And all other acts of violence under this bill shall be punishable with prision correccional and a fine of P100,000 to P300,000.

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