Filipino lawmaker wants to criminalise ‘ghosting’, proposes community service as punishment

·1-min read
Malay Mail
Malay Mail

PETALING JAYA, July 27 — A Filipino politician is on a mission to legally declare “ghosting” as a form of emotional abuse.

In a bill made public yesterday, Negros Oriental district representative Arnolfo Teves Jr argued that ‘ghosting’ should be a punishable offence as it amounted to emotional cruelty.

‘Ghosting’ is when someone cuts off all communication without any explanation — in other words, vanishing suddenly like a ghost.

“Studies have shown that social rejection of any kind activates the same pain pathways in the brain as physical pain, meaning there’s a biological link between rejection and pain.

“That goes for friends and partners, alike,” said Teves in his explanatory note, according to ABS-CBN News.

The bill defines ghosting as a phenomenon that only occurs in a ‘dating relationship’ with someone from the opposite sex, causing emotional distress to the victim.

While the bill does not include any proposed penalties, Teves told ABS-CBN News on Wednesday that “light reprimands” or community service could serve as punishments.

“I leave it up to suggestions of the majority, what they think would be good penalties,” he said.

Teves’ proposed measure has been met with disbelief on social media, with Filipinos questioning the necessity of the bill amidst larger national concerns.

Others pointed out that the bill’s vague definitions could be used against victims who cut off contact with their abusers.

This is not Teves’ first controversial legal proposal — earlier this month, he filed a bill to rename the Ninoy Aquino International Airport to Ferdinand E. Marcos International Airport, in honour of the late ousted president.

When filing the bill, Teves wrongly claimed that the airport was constructed during Marcos’ presidency.

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