Senate panel suggests stricter penalties vs abusive employers
Senate panel suggests stricter penalties vs abusive employers
Senate panel suggests stricter penalties vs abusive employers
by Daylight Abas24 November 2023
Photo courtesy: Senate of the Philippines

A Senate panel has suggested stricter penalties for abusive employers, which would lead to up to 20 years of imprisonment and a fine of up to P5 million.

In a 100-page report of the Senate committee on justice and human rights, the recommendation was that the report also contained an investigation of the alleged severe battery and maltreatment of a household helper named Elvie Vergara, who was a victim who suffered partial blindness and other injuries.

Vergara experienced physical and emotional abuse from her employers in Occidental Mindoro.

However, Senator Francis Tolentino, who also led the committee, did not recommend filing criminal charges against the victim’s employers.

The panel report states, “Much as the committee would have wanted to recommend the filing of criminal charges against the Ruiz spouses, we note that there are already cases filed against them before the Office of City Prosecutor of Batangas City, which was already transferred to the Department of Justice Central Office by virtue of Department Order No. 611 dated November 6, 2023.”

Tolentino’s panel has found the necessity of amending Republic Act 10361 of the Batas Kasambahay Law to bolster and prevent further abuse and maltreatment of domestic helpers, particularly by providing particular criminal liability for abusive employers with penalties for any death or physical injuries that a helper sustains within the employment.

If the law may be amended, the committee suggested specific liabilities and penalties against abusive employers, which stated:

  • Up to a P250,000.00 fine against any employer “who shall willfully or negligently violate the provisions of the Batas Kasambahay law.”
  • up to a P500,000.00 fine and the penalty of up to four years imprisonment “if no injury or only minor injuries were caused” by any employer or any relative or member of the employer’s household.
  • “If by reason or on the occasion of such abuse, physical violence, or harassment inflicted, the kasambahay shall have become deformed, or shall have lost any body part, or shall have lost the use thereof,” the abusive employers could be jailed for up to 8 years and would be slapped with a fine of up to P2 million.
  • The penalty of up to 12 years of imprisonment and a fine of up to P4 million will be imposed against employers whose abuses could render house helpers “insane, imbecile, impotent, or blind.”
  • If the physical violence or harassment inflicted resulted in the death of house helpers, the abusive employers will have to suffer up to 20 years in prison plus a fine of P5,000,000.00.

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