Senator Manuel Lapid on Friday proposed to criminalize the act of withholding support to elderly, sickly and incapacitated parents.
Lapid’s proposed Senate Bill 2061 reinforces the duty of children to take care of their elderly, sickly or otherwise incapacitated parents.
The bill further says 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 disability, are rendered incapable of supporting themselves.
The bill also says among the people 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,” said Lapid.
Unfortunately, he noted that 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, had become an “invisible issue” in the Philippines, according to the Commission on Human Rights.
Senate Bill 2061 says 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 indispensable 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 and shall be punishable by imprisonment of arresto menor as the minimum and arresto mayor as the maximum.
There are also respective fines of not less than P200,000 but not more than P500,000 at the discretion of the court.