Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has filed a measure seeking to impose stiff fines and heavy penalties for failure to register and/or falsify entries for birth, marriage and death certificates in civil registry. De Lima has filed Senate Bill No. (SBN) 1665 amending Section 9 of Presidential Decree (P.D.) No. 651, which mandates the immediate registration of births and deaths, and civil status, and penalties for violation of the said provision.
“It is [an] affront to our way of life to intentionally fail to register or falsify the entries in civil registries,” she said.
“P.D. No. 651 was enacted specifically to preserve the integrity of our civil registry, which is one of the most essential components of our bureaucracy and governance, but it has undergone zero amendment or updating,” she explained.
Under Section 9 of P.D. No. 651, any person required under this decree to report for registration any fact concerning his or her civil status and who fails to do so, or who deliberately makes false statements in the birth or death form and presents the same for registration, shall pay a fine of not less than ?500 nor more than ?1,000.
Likewise, any person who violates any rule or regulation which may be issued pursuant to this decree and any local public health officer who fails to perform his duties as provided for in this decree, or violates any rule or regulation which may be issued pursuant to this decree, shall also pay the abovementioned fine.
Under SBN 1665, De Lima proposed to increase the penalty for failure to register or falsification of the civil status per persons with a fine ranging from ?40,000 to ?1,200,000–which is the corresponding range of fines on correctional penalties under the Revised Penal Code (RPC) pursuant to Republic Act (R.A.) No. 10951.
“As a country, we need to be able to properly document our citizens in order to ensure that everyone will be accounted for and thus have access to all the blessings of democracy,” De Lima said.
The former justice secretary noted early this year, Congress enacted R.A. No. 10951, which adjusted that the penalties and fines imposed under the RPC to ensure that the level of punishment will remain commensurate to the crimes.
De Lima underscored the need for separate legislation to adjust the penalties under P.D. No. 651 to the current levels imposed under the RPC.