Estrada wants database of sex offenders

(THE MANILA TIMES) SEN. Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada has proposed the establishment of a national database of sex offenders to help the public be informed of their movements or whereabouts.

The senator described the sex offender database as “a piece of easily available and accessible information to local law enforcement agencies and their foreign counterparts.”

Under Senate Bill (SB) 1291 or the proposed “National Sex Offender Registry Act,” convicted sex offenders, prior to being released from imprisonment, “should register” and regularly update the province, city, or municipality where they are residing, employed or studying.

“The many special penal laws against sex-related offenses so enacted of late shall be futile unless ample public protection and warning is provided for,” Estrada said.

“It’s unfortunate that a number of sex offenders who have been apprehended and convicted were still able to consummate their fiendish schemes against unsuspecting victims by relocating elsewhere,” he said.

SB 1291 aims to establish a national sex offender registration database that may be of use not only to the general public but also to various nongovernment organizations working for the protection of women and children who more often than not are the target victims of sex-related offenses.

The National Sex Offender Registry Database proposed to be set up and handled by the Department of Justice (DoJ) should contain the names and other pertinent details of sex offenders who reside or travel to the country.

It will be available and accessible to the Philippine National Police (PNP), the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and concerned law enforcement agencies. The list can be shared between countries and respective law enforcement agencies if deemed necessary for the proper registration and identification of sex offenders.

Those convicted in local and foreign courts shall remain in the registry for life and will be required to appear at least once a year before the local police in their place or residence to personally verify their information.

The measure mandates the holding of an information and education campaign to be spearheaded by the DoJ and the PNP to raise public awareness of the existence of the registry and ensure that law enforcement agencies are able to access and use it.

Estrada said a number of countries have enacted similar legislation after the United States passed its national-level sex offender registration law in 1994.