SPOT.ph’s Top 20 Crazy Laws in the Philippines

Some laws are just wide open to misinterpretation.

 

(SPOT.ph) There are controversial laws-and then there are laws that are just plain baffling. There are those that may require a bunch of lawyers to interpret correctly and there are those that are wide open for everyone to misinterpret. There are laws that have us cheering on the lawmaker who filed it and there are laws that make us laugh out loud or cringe in shame. Yes, we have some lawmakers who come up with laws that make us go, "Where the hell did that come from?" Perhaps, their good intentions just don’t translate well.

 

Most of the laws on this list are from 2004 to 2012. Thankfully, only a few of them have been passed. Then again, the fact that lawmakers filed them in the first place is quite disturbing. The list also has a few "classics" thrown in-with stipulations that seem to be wrought from the Dark Ages. We’re pretty sure that there are more nutty laws out there, but, so far, these are the ones we dug up. Read ’em and weep.

 

Note: For brevity, we’re using the word "laws" in this article to also refer to bills, resolutions, and such. The dictionary definition of the word "law" is that is refers to "a rule of conduct or procedure established by custom, agreement, or authority." It is that general term that is in effect here. Please check with legitimate sources for the more specialized legal (or lawyer-ly) definitions of these terms.

 

Law low-down: In 2010, Representative Augusto Syjuco, Jr., Ph.D. of Iloilo’s second district, filed House Bill No. 886. The bill is "An Act Declaring the First Working Day of Every Year, Beginning on the Year 2010, a National Day of Peace and Unity."

Legal status: It’s been pending with the Committee on Revision of Laws since July 8, 2010. It’s like saying "Peace be with you" to the whole nation. It’s a very a nice thought...but should it really become a law?

 

 

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Legal status: It’s getting older by the minute. It’s been pending with the House Committee on Labor and Employment since August 30, 2008.

OK, this guy definitely deserves a reward for being assaulted by crazy pedestrians.

18. Good drivers win

Law low-down: In 2010, Representative Godofredo V. Arquiza filed House Bill No. 2010, "A Reward Scheme for Deserving Filipino Drivers." The law pushed for a discount to be granted to "good drivers" renewing their licenses.

Legal status: It’s been pending with the Committee on Transportation since September 7, 2010. The law sounds good in theory. But then determining who would qualify as "deserving drivers" is another story.

 

 

Law low-down: In February this year, House Bill No. 5655, which aims to have the Waling-waling orchid declared as a national flower, went through its second reading. The bill’s principal author is Representative Mylene Garcia-Albano of Davao City’s second district.

Lagal status: The law is backed by the National Museum, which said in a letter cited by Manila Bulletin Online: "Waling-Waling can either be designated as the national orchid of the country or as another national flower (considering) that other countries such as Indonesia have more than one national flower." Wow...we have time for this? How many textbooks have to be pulled out and revised to accomodate a second national flower? Why can’t we just love one flower?

You can have as many Earth Hours as you like even without a law telling you to do it.

16. Earth Hour all the way

Law low-down: In March this year, Businessworld Online reported that Senator Manuel "Lito" M. Lapid filed Senate Bill No. 3159, the "Monthly Earth Hour Act of 2012." In the explanatory note, Lapid said that the bill aims to "raise awareness on climate change by requiring everyone to turn-off their non-essential lights for one hour every last Saturday of the month."

Legal status: This law still hasn’t seen the light. Besides, do you really still have to be told to turn off the lights you don’t use? Unless you’re an informal settler who’s illegally tapping someone else’s power line or a corrupt politician practically rolling in cash, chances are you’re mindful about your electricity bill.

 

 

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15. Junk food blues

Law low-down: In 2010, Senator Lito Lapid filed Senate Bill No. 2517, the "School Nutrition and Balanced Diet Act of 2010." Lapid wanted to ban junk food from schools. Inquirer.net had reported then that under the so-called law, the quality of food being served in schools would be monitored by a multi-agency body that included the Department of Science and Technology, the Department of Education, and various school boards.

Legal status: We have not been able to find any updates about this particular law. In this case, you could say it isn’t crunch time yet.

GMA News Online reported that Sen. Lito Lapid filed Senate Resolution No. 635, to congratulate and commend boxer-lawmaker Manny Pacquiao for defending on his World Boxing Organization welterweight title via majority decision against Mexican Juan Manuel Marquez in Las Vegas, Nevada. In the explanatory note, Lapid pointed out: "By winning this fight, (Pacquiao) has shown to the world the unrelenting spirit of Filipino competitiveness and excellence. This outstanding performance by our Filipino boxer deserves to be commended for the honor and recognition he has brought to the our country."

Legal status: Apparently, this is not the first time that Lapid has filed a Senate Resolution to congratulate someone. He’s filed many such congratulatory resolutions in the past. His latest one, which was filed in March this year, is Senate Resolution No. 752, "A Resolution Congratulating and Commending Filipino Actresses Eugene Domingo and Shamaine Centenera-Buencamino for Winning the People’s Choice Best Actress and the Best Supporting Supporting Actress Awards, Respectively, at the 6th Asia Film Awards in Hong Kong, Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China on 19 March 2012." Lapid, though, isn’t the only senator who’s filed resolutions to congratulate people. Other senators have done it to. Unfortunately, they just don’t get as much press as Lapid. Our advice to Lapid and the congratulatory posse: Send an email or a text message to the person you want to commend.

 

 

Will Lito Lapid protect Dora the Explorer from her heavy backpack even if she’s not Filipino?

13. Overloaded school bags

Law low-down: Inquirer.net reported in 2010 that Senator Lito Lapid filed Senate Bill No. 2179, "An Act Limiting the Amount of Weight of Bags Carried by Children in School and Implementing Proactive Measures to Protect School Children’s Health From the Adverse Effect of Heavy School Bags."

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Legal status: So far, there are no new updates about this law. Maybe it just doesn’t have enough weight. The good news is that there’s no law restricting the use of common sense. Parents are free to think of ways to prevent their kids from experiencing the trauma of carrying school bags that are "too heavy."

Law low-down: In 2008, Representative Vincent P. Crisologo of Quezon City’s first district filed House Bill No. 4797, "An Act Renaming Del Monte Avenue in Quezon City as Reynaldo A. Calalay Avenue." Then, in 2010, Crisologo filed House Bill No. 2964, "An Act Renaming Roosevelt Avenue, Quezon City to Cong. Reynaldo A. Calalay Avenue."

Legal status: The bill to rename Del Monte Avenue was approved by the House on September 2, 2008 and received by the Senate on September 16, 2008. Meanwhile, the bill to rename Roosevelt Avenue has been pending with the Committee on Public Works and Highways since September 8, 2010. For the record, Calalay is the former congressman of Quezon City’s first district who died in 2003. But isn’t there some other way to pay homage to him other than trying to rename two avenues that are so close to each other with his name? Isn’t that overkill? To be fair, though, Crisologo obviously isn’t the only lawmaker who’s into changing street names.

 

 

If you’re a museum thief, are you a cut above all other kinds of thieves?

11. Criminal discrimination

Law low-down: In 2009, Representative Luis Villafuerte Sr. of Camarines Sur’s third district filed House Bill No. 1641, "An Act to Increase the Penalty for Theft or Robbery Committed Within the Premises of Churches, Temples, and Museums."

Legal status: It was approved by the House on September 9, 2009 and received by the Senate on September 15, 2009. Why not just increase the penalty for robbery in general? Are the robbers who target churches, temples, and museums more "special" than robbers who target sari-sari stores?

Law low-down: In 2008, Representative Glenda B. Ecleo of Dinagat Island filed House Bill No. 2811, "An Act Penalizing Any Advertising Agency, Television or Radio Station, and Publication Which Glorify Sexual Violence in Its Advertisements."

 

>Legal status: It was approved by the House on February 5, 2008 and recived by the Senate on February 11, 2008. In theory, this is a good law. However, the law’s explanatory note says that it would also penalize "sexual exploitation" in ads, which, according to the definition therein, "shall include any portrayal or attitude of an individual or an object as sexually attractive or stimulating which portrayal or attitude are naturally calculated to excite impure imaginations and are not germane to the goods or services that are advertised." It’s kind of wandering into Extreme Puritan Country. We can’t help it if there are people who get impure thoughts when they see a beautiful model drinking coffee.

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Legal status: It’s been pending with the Committee on the Welfare of Children since Augsut 2, 2010. In the explanatory note, it says that the law covers ads as well, but not the news or documentaries. This law bites off more than it can chew. Arguably, there is a lot of violence in Looney Tunes and even Spongebob Squarepants installments. Plus, there’s more graphic violence (not to mention indiocy) in the news than crime shows like CSI. Just ban TV altogether while you’re at it.

Legal status: It’s a bonafide Philippine law. The emphasis on the victim being a "virgin" is problematic. So, if the girl isn’t a virgin anymore she shouldn’t be protected by the law?

 

 

Legal status: This law is still in effect. If you’re a widow, don’t fall in love to quickly. If you do, be prepared to go to jail or pay ?500 so you can remarry before 301 days are over. This issue can be easily discussed on Face to Face. We don’t need this law. As such Representative Pedro Palarca of Camiguin has filed House Bill No. 1556 in an attempt to repeal this particular law. The bill has been pending with the House Committee on Justice since August 2, 2010.

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6. Relativity

Law low-down: Article 332 of Chapter 10 of the Revised Penal Code discusses the "Exemption From Criminal Liability in Crimes Against Property." It stipulates, "No criminal, but only civil liability, shall result from the commission of the crime of theft, swindling, or malicious mischief committed or caused mutually by the following persons: 1. Spouses, ascendants, and descendants, or relatives by affinity in the same line; 2. The widowed spouse with respect to the property which belonged to the deceased spouse before the same shall have passed into the possession of another; and 3. Brothers and sisters and brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law, if living together."

Legal status: It’s a law that basically says, you have to be kinder to relatives who steal from you. It points out: "The exemption established by this article shall not be applicable to strangers participating in the commission of the crime."

 

 

ABS-CBNNews.com reported: "The bill penalizes the possession with intent to distribute and production of any device for the physical stimulation of human genitals for anything of pecuniary value. In other words, sex toys like vibrators. The bill penalizes those producing or selling sex toys with imprisonment and or fines of up to ?30,000."

Legal status: It’s probably still in the legal foreplay stage. In any case, if you want to get sex toys, just shop online. They didn’t say anything about penalizing sex toy aficionados.

ABS-CBNNews.com report, Golez said he was "an Apple man and a Steve Jobs admirer since Macintosh in 1984 when he was one of the first few Filipinos who made a leap of faith and bought a Macintosh when most looked at it with skepticism." In the law’s explanatory note, Golez wrote: "Steve Jobs also immensely enhanced the legislative process in Parliaments worldwide including in the Congress of the Philippines, elevated the quality of debate through easier access to crucial information."

Legal status: It’s not yet a law. Somebody please Force Quit this thing ASAP.

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Legal status: Nobody is taking this bill seriously except Castelo himself. This goes to show that there are congressmen with too much time on their hands. Idle hands may be the devil’s tools, but idle minds are the devil’s comedy bar.

2. Condom condemnation

Law low-down: Bararangay Ayala Alabang’s Ordinance No. 1, entitled "Protection of the Unborn Child of 2011," requires residents "to present prescriptions to buy condoms and contraceptive pills."

Legal status: The ordinance basically says, if you want to have sex without worrying about an unplanned pregnancy, the you’re one sick individual. So, go to the doctor and say, "Please prescribe me some condoms so I can have sex with my wife that’s not geared for reproduction." It says nothing about penalizing residents who hoard condoms from other locations though. Well, at least it didn’t go all the way to the Dark Ages...just three-fourths of the way.

 

 

Legal status: It’s been pending with the House Committee on Justice since July 27, 2004. Only God knows what earth prompted the congressman to come up with this law. In 2004, one movie that dealt with clones was The Stepford Wives remake starring Nicole Kidman. Maybe he watched that and got scared? It’s good to know that he’s optimistic enough to think we could actually clone humans here during his lifetime and so he’s taken the precaution to ensure there won’t be any clones walking around the Philippines at all. If that’s not patriotism, we don’t know what is.

 

Art by Warren Espejo

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