Malacanang sees nothing wrong with the move of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to intervene in the relationship of 60-year-old singer Freddie Aguilar with a 16-year-old girl.
“All the actions of state agencies are in line with overall direction of the national government,” Presidential Communications Secretary Hermini Coloma said in a radio interview.
The singer-composer of the worldwide hit Anak caused a stir after he admitted his relationship with the minor.
Aguilar said he did not know the girl’s age when he was courting her. He added that their relationship had the consent of the girl’s parents.
Reports said he could be sued for child abuse or seduction.
Under the Revised Penal Code, seduction of a girl who is under 18 years of age is considered a crime against chastity. The DSWD can file a child abuse case on behalf of minor victims under Republic Act 7610, or the Special Protection of Children against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act.
Quoting Social Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman, Coloma said DSWD staff have been instructed to reach out to both the girl and her parents in an effort to get a “better understanding of the situation.”
However, Coloma emphasized that the agency will handle the issue “with sensitivity.”
The DSWD, he said, is “mandated by law to protect minors but [they]are approaching this with sensitivity, so dialogue is the mode.”
CATHERINE S. VALENTE