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Albay Rep. Edcel C. Lagman, principal author of RA 11596 or the “Prohibition of Child Marriage Law”, lauded the arrest of Jay Rence Quilario and 12 other cult leaders for qualified trafficking in persons, facilitation and solemnization of child marriages, and child abuse. 

Lagman urged that the cult leaders be swiftly prosecuted under Section 4 of RA 11596 which declares as unlawful the facilitation of child marriage, solemnization of child marriage,and cohabitation of an adult with a child outside wedlock.

Lagman explained that the penalties for the above unlawful acts are the following: 

  1. For the facilitation of child marriage, the penalty is prision mayor in its medium period and a fine of P40,000.00. However, should the perpetrator be an ascendant, parent, adoptive parent, step parent, or guardian of the child, the penalty shall be prision mayor in its maximum period or fine of not less than P50,000.00, and perpetual loss of parental authority;

  2. Any person who performs or officiates a child marriage shall suffer the penalty of prision mayor in its maximum period and a fine of not less than P50,000.00 and should the perpetrator be a public officer he or she shall be dismissed from the service and may be perpetually disqualified from holding office; and

  3. Cohabitation of an adult with a child outside wedlock is penalized with prision mayorin its maximum period and a fine of not less than P50,000.00.

Lagman underscored that “child marriage is a patent violation of girls and an affront to their basic human rights.”

He added that the full and speedy implementation RA 11596 is crucial in promoting gender equality and equity and the vital for the elimination of violence against girls.

The Albay solon maintained that “it is a practice that not only infringes on children’s fundamental rights but also poses significant perils to their overall well-being and development.”

Lagman added that “it cheats them of their childhood; robs them of their entitlement to education; and deprives them of their right to choose their own future. It denies them the opportunity to grow, explore, and fulfill their potential.”