MANILA, OCTOBER 28, 2013 (INQUIRER) By Christian V. Esguerra - By Jeannette I. Andrade - The Palace on Sunday threw its support behind the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s effort to “reach out” to folk singer Freddie Aguilar’s 16-year-old girlfriend and her family.

Quoting DSWD Secretary Corazon Soliman, Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma said the agency was “reaching out to counsel the parents and the person concerned, the minor who is involved here.”

“This is part of their mandate to reach out to those affected in this issue,” he said in Filipino in the weekly Malacanang radio forum.

Coloma said he had also been told by Soliman that the DSWD would likewise “reach out” to the 60-year-old Aguilar.

The folk singer has been vocal — and adamant — about continuing his relationship with a minor, despite legal issues.

Among them is the possible violation of Republic Act No. 7610 or the Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act.

“We are mandated by law to protect minors but we are approaching this with sensitivity, so dialogue is the mode,” Coloma quoted Soliman as telling him.

Freddie Aguilar on seduction rap: PH has bigger problems By Jeannette I. Andrade Philippine Daily Inquirer October 25, 2013 | 6:43 am 11

60-year-old legendary singer Freddie Aguilar admits to dating and ready to marry his 16-year-old girlfriend Jovie Albao.. "We're talking abouthaving a baby. Yung ang pinaguusapan namin." "Anak" hitmaker Freddie Aguilar openly admitted that he is in a relationship with a 16-year-old woman. The 60-year-old singer made the confirmation early this week, shortly after he was given the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 5th Star Awards for Music. "'Yung kasama ko, girlfriend... 'Yung [girlfriend ko, ano... 16 lang siya, eh," Aguilar was quoted as saying by entertainment news site Philippine Entertainment Portal in a report published Wednesday.

MANILA, Philippines—“Nobody’s crying for help. So how come somebody’s trying to help? Our country has a lot of problems bigger than this.”

This was Freddie Aguilar’s response to the criminal complaint filed against him by a lawyer who claimed he was scandalized by the news that the music icon was planning to marry a 16-year-old girl who is also 44 years his junior.

The complainant, Fernando Perito, took the online jeering that greeted Aguilar’s revelation to the next level by suing him for qualified seduction in the Quezon City Prosecutor’s Office on Thursday.

Perito, who said he had the obligation as a member of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines to do what is right and prevent wrongs, was severe in denouncing Aguilar in a two-page complaint, calling him a “predator” from whom children should be “spared.”

In the lawyer’s view, the 60-year-old singer, an acclaimed artist in the local music industry since the 1970s, just “want(ed) to take advantage of the adulation of the child by pretending to be loving her and allegedly marrying her later.”

“The offender … has an authority and moral influence over the child because of his popularity,” he added.

Perito figured in the news last year when he asked the Senate impeachment court then trying Supreme Court Justice Renato Corona to cite the House prosecutors in contempt for presenting their evidence in the media. The complaint was set aside.

In 2011, he also asked the Supreme Court to disbar Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte after she punched a court sheriff. Last year, he sought the disbarment of Justice Secretary Leila de Lima.

In the complaint, the lawyer said he had seen photos of Aguilar and his teenage girlfriend on the Internet, which he found “lewd.” He also dismissed as “hogwash” Aguilar’s claim that they were already in a relationship when he learned that the girl, who looked tall and mature for her age, was still a minor.

The Revised Penal Code defines qualified seduction under Article 337 as “the seduction of a virgin over 12 years and under 18 years of age, committed by any person in public authority, priest, home-servant, domestic, guardian, teacher, or any person who, in any capacity, shall be entrusted with the education or custody of the woman seduced.”

Reached for comment, Aguilar reiterated that his five-month-old relationship with the girl had the “blessing” of her parents and that of his family.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development, he said, had talked with the parents “and they also told the DSWD that they had given their consent and would even fight for (ipaglalaban) the relationship.”

“From what I understand, qualified seduction involves force (pamimilit) or deception (panloloko),” he said in Filipino. “I have never forced or deceived a child.”

“I don’t have any regrets. After more than a decade, I fell in love again. Is it really our fault that our age gap turned out to be that big?”

He said he thought the girl was already “in her 20s” when they first met and learned about her true age later when they were already dating.

Aguilar recalled that he was also hounded by intrigue when it was reported in the late 1990s that he was going out with a 17-year-old girl.

But unlike that earlier controversy, this one involving the 16-year-old apparently refused to die down, he noted.

Freddie Aguilar ready to ‘suffer’ consequences of love affair with minor By Julliane Love de Jesus INQUIRER.net October 24, 2013 | 6:33 pm

MANILA, Philippines—After being sued for “loving” a minor, Freddie Aguilar said he was ready to face the music and “suffer” the consequences of his actions.

The 60-year-old folk singer was charged Thursday afternoon with qualified seduction by a member of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines before the Quezon City Prosecutor’s Office.

Aguilar and his 16-year-old girlfriend have been drawing criticisms from the Church, the social media, and various sectors of the society since they made public the “love they shared.”

Although he regarded the law as “stricter than Martial Law,” Aguilar said he was willing to part ways with his underage girlfriend because, still, “no one is above the law.”

“Kung iyan ang akda ng batas, wala po kaming magagawa. Magtitiis po kami hanggang tumungtong siya sa tamang edad. Pero syempre magsu-suffer po kaming dalawa kasi paglalayuin kami [If that’s what the law says then we cannot do anything about it. We will wait until she reaches the legal age. But of course, we will suffer because we will be separated],” he said in a radio interview.

According to Aguilar, his girlfriend, who will turn 17 this November 29, also wanted to take their relationship to the next level and tie the knot once she reaches 18.

He said his Mindoro-native girlfriend lamented: “Why is this happening? Why are the bashers calling the person who loves me and protects me ‘Dirty Old Man,’ and ‘Cradle Snatcher’?”

The “Anak” singer defended that the parents of his girlfriend gave him their blessing and even told the Department of Social Welfare and Development in its visit to the parents’ house that they have nothing against their daughter’s relationship with Aguilar.

Aguilar also said the parties, even his family, approve of their much-debated relationship.

“When two people, one being older than his partner, love each other, and they have the consent of their families, do people have a right to meddle with them?” he said.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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