Press Release
June 6, 2013

Senate amends anti-grave robbers act

The Senate today approved on third and final reading a bill seeking to penalize grave robbers and thieves of cemetery articles.

Francis Escudero, chairman of the Committee on Justice and Human Rights and sponsor of Senate Bill 1689 or the Anti-Grave Robbers Act, said the measure seeks to create a separate act of robbery under Article 302-A of the Revised Penal Code for the robbery of cemetery items or the ones committed in cemeteries, graveyards or burial grounds.

"Grave robbery has always been a problem since time immemorial. In a culture as rich as ours, we have always honored our dead with many gifts to commemorate their lives as well as graves fit to be their final resting place," Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago, who introduced the bill, said.

Currently, Article 302 of the Revised Penal Code states that "any robbery committed in an uninhabited place or in a building other than those mentioned in the first paragraph of Article 299, if the value of the property taken exceeds 250 pesos, shall be punished by prision correcional.

The proposed amendment, Article 302-A, defines the circumstances involving grave robbery and reads as follows: ..."when the robbery consists in 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 culprit shall suffer the penalty next higher in degree than that prescribed in the said articles."

"The law needs to be more specific when it comes to robbery and desecration of graves and tombs. Apart from stealing or destroying property, grave robbers aggravate the grief of those who lost their loved ones and dishonor the final resting place of the deceased," Santiago said.

Under the proposed measure, grave robbers face imprisonment of six years and one day to twelve years while the maximum penalty imposed shall be 20 years and one day to 40 years.

"For a country that considers both All Saints Day and All Souls Day as national holidays, it is appropriate for our laws to reflect the Filipino's deep-seated culture of reverence and respect for the dead," Santiago said. (MAEJOY ALBANO-MIRANDA, PRIB)

News Latest News Feed