Asia and the Pacific

The Straits (Singapore)
7 October 1996

Special Courts to Hear Child Sex-abuse Cases in Philippines

MANILA -- Special courts would soon start hearing child sex-abuse cases in response to an increasing number of reports by children of sexual molestation, a senior government official said.

The courts would finish hearing a case within 60 days of it being referred to them, with a decision 15 days after the trial ends, chief presidential legal counsel Renato Cayetano said on Saturday.

The special courts were originally set up to handle major murder and drug trafficking cases.

Mr Cayetano said he had written to the Supreme Court to issue the necessary instructions to the special courts amid increasing complaints from children accusing adults of sexually molesting them.

Last month, an 11-year-old girl and a teenager accused a congressman and a town mayor, respectively, of rape.

Lawyers said extending the scope of special courts would hasten the prosecution of child-abuse cases and discourage paedophiles.

Cardinal Jaime Sin, head of the Philippines' Roman Catholic church, was "horrified" by increasing complaints of child abuse and blamed a "breakdown in moral values both in family life and in government". -- AFP.

Copyright 1996 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. All rights reserved.

Return to PANGAEA HomePage.