American Busted on Bantayan Island for Child Abuse

I’m pretty amazed by what this American has been whining about since he was arrested for shacking up with a twelve year old at a resort in Bantayan Island, Philippines.  He’s complaining because he wasn’t read his rights!  Is he really engaged in this kind of activity and know so little about the Philippines?  I hope that’s not your best defense because you are not in the USA..  I doubt this “I was not read my rights” is going to get you very far in the Philippines.

From various sources, it appears that the parents of the child had given the girl permission to go with the man.  They all claim the girls family was to join them in Bantayan but for some unexplained reason, they were unable to join the girl and the man.

The man immediately started talking of how much he has helped the family with the school uniforms or shoes and such.

From the sounds of it the American, Preston Jay Kuntz, has already admitted he is in violation of a law aimed at protecting child from abusive situation.  The Inquirer wrote:

Senior Insp. Rolando Evalle, Sta. Fe’s police chief, said Kuntz would be charged with violations of Republic Act 7610 or the Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act that prohibits an unrelated adult from keeping in his company a minor 12 years or under, in public and private places, including beach resorts.

That is an important law for all of us to be aware of.  You don’t have to even be  found to have engaged in untoward acts, just being in the company of a child is reason enough to be jailed. The law also applies to any minor that is more than 10 years younger than the adult. The law can be view in its entirety here.

Important Law for All Of Us

Article VI of Republic Act 7610 makes it illegal for any non-retaliative to be in the company of a minor:

Any person who shall keep or have in his company a minor, twelve (12) years or under or who in ten (10) years or more his junior in any public or private place, hotel, motel, beer joint, discotheque, cabaret, pension house, sauna or massage parlor, beach and/or other tourist resort or similar places shall suffer the penalty of prison mayor in its maximum period and a fine of not less than Fifty thousand pesos (P50,000): Provided, That this provision shall not apply to any person who is related within the fourth degree of consanguinity or affinity or any bond recognized by law, local custom and tradition or acts in the performance of a social, moral or legal duty.

What does the term “in the company of” mean?  Alone?  Another provision of the law holds one to be guilty of attempted rate if found in a secluded area.

Common Sense Still The Rule In The Philippines

I have observed on numerous cases that in the Philippines, you’re still required to have common sense.  The provision above though says “In the company of.”  Even more worrisome to me is that there is another provision covering being alone with.  The exact working is in “secluded place” and that law assumes attempted child prostitution:

Any person who shall keep or have in his company a minor, twelve (12) years or under or who in ten (10) years or more his junior in any public or private place, hotel, motel, beer joint, discotheque, cabaret, pension house, sauna or massage parlor, beach and/or other tourist resort or similar places shall suffer the penalty of prison mayor in its maximum period and a fine of not less than Fifty thousand pesos (P50,000): Provided, That this provision shall not apply to any person who is related within the fourth degree of consanguinity or affinity or any bond recognized by law, local custom and tradition or acts in the performance of a social, moral or legal duty.

This seems as if it would put most any of us in jeopardy.  Still though, the Philippines seems to be bound by common sense.  It would seem to me that Kuntz could be charged prison_guardwith this but so far, all published reports indicate that he is charged only with being in the company of the minor.

The Freeman is reporting that the parents have also been charged.In this situation, it seems that wrong doing is involved..  I’m not buying the claim that the entire family was to join the man and the child.  That just doesn’t make sense.

Also, it has been reported that Kuntz was offered the older sister of the girl.  He turned down the 17 year old because the younger girl had lighter skin!  If that is true, I think it makes things very clear.

Governor Garcia of Cebu Province has taken an interest in the case and reportedly indicated the parents should be charged as well.

When one is living in the Philippines, or any other foreign country you become subject to the laws of that country and usually of your home country as well.

Statements reportedly made by Kuntz indicate to me he does not yet understand the extent of the trouble he is in.  He has commented that he was going to start a solar panel business in Cebu but that he now doubts that will go forward.

I would agree, its very unlikely that he will be starting a business here.  Both he and the parents could likely spend a significant amount of time in a Philippine prison.  Probably the best Kuntz can hope for is to be deported and blacklisted.  The laws imposes the possibility of life in prison.

I wish to make it clear that I have no issue with the actions of the government in this case.  The provisions stating that a non-family members cannot be in the company of a minor are troubling.  Perhaps someone has a Filipino lawyer, judge or other official that can expand on the meaning of that section.

Tagged with:

Filed under: Living In The Philippines

Like this post? Subscribe to my RSS feed and get loads more!