Press Release
October 31, 2010


Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago wants to create a separate act of robbery under the Revised Penal Code for the robbery of cemetery items and robbery committed in cemeteries, graveyards or burial grounds.

"The law needs to be more specific when it comes to robbery and desecration of graves. The damage done by grave robbers is immeasurable as it not only dishonors the deceased, it also causes anguish to those who survived them," Santiago said.

Santiago's Senate Bill No. 1689 defines grave robbery as "the taking of all or part of a tomb, coffin, monument, gravestone, or all or part of a commemorative, decorative, or other cemetery-related article or committed in a cemetery, graveyard or burial ground." The bill was originally filed in the Thirteenth Congress.

Santiago also cited a U.S. case where the court found that "the gravamen of an action for desecration of a grave is the mental suffering caused by the disturbance of a loved one's final resting place."

Also known as the Anti-Grave Robbers Act, Santiago's bill increases the penalty for robbing graves. Grave robbers face imprisonment of six years and one day to 12 years.

Santiago also said that her proposed law empowers law enforcement authorities to go after thieves who steal artifacts and corpses from ancestral graves and burial grounds of indigenous peoples to be sold to collectors, like the reported theft of skeletal remains in Mangyan burial caves last August.

"For a country that considers both All Saints Day and

News Latest News Feed