Filipino Lawmaker Proposes Legal Penalties for Ghosting, ‘An Emotional Offense’

Who hurt you, my guy??? Sounds like it was pretty bad.

Filipino Lawmaker Proposes Legal Penalties for Ghosting, ‘An Emotional Offense’
Photo:Patrick Pleul (Getty Images)

If you’ve ever envisioned a reality in which leaving someone on read could be legally punishable, you’re in luck—and very likely the victim, rather than the perpetrator—because this week, a bill from Filipino lawmaker, Arnolfo Teves Jr., proposed that “ghosting” should be considered an abusive act and allotted an unnamed penalty.

In the document entitled “An act declaring ghosting as an emotional offense,” Teves Jr. opines that ghosting is none other than a form of cruelty that’s become all the more common in today’s modern world. “The realm of dating has changed exponentially compared to previous years,” he writes, and, as a callous consequence of emerging technology, it’s never been easier to cut off communication without considering another person’s feelings.

“Ghosting has adverse effects on the mental state of the one being ghosted and his or her emotional state is still adversely affected as he or she will be constantly thinking of the welfare or the unexplained reasons of the one who ghosted,” the bill explains.

While most people who’ve attempted to participate in the current hellscape that is modern dating would probably agree, Teves Jr.’s motives for the legislation become increasingly questionable—perhaps even revelatory—in its second section. “Ghosting,” as he explains it, isn’t just a form of emotional abuse; it’s one that occurs only once a person “engages in a dating relationship with the opposite sex.” Interesting…

Now, I know what you’re wondering (besides who wounded Arnolfo, of course): Aren’t there other things for lawmakers in the Philippines to be fretting over apart from this pressing phenomenon? Actually, yes.

Yesterday, a 7.1 magnitude earthquake, which not only caused an estimated $687 million in infrastructure damage, but claimed the lives of 5, injured 130 and impacted 21,000 people. Inflation surged to its highest level in almost four years last month. Abortion is effectively illegal and unsafe procedures are performed daily on poor and working class Filipinos. And a former mayor, Rose Furigay, was just murdered in a targeted shooting at her daughter’s graduation ceremony.

Obviously the internet has had its share of fun with the legislation, and as a chronic ghoster and occasional ghostee, I would argue it does seem rather futile. Modern dating, otherwise known as getting to know new people and repeatedly discovering how utterly boring and/or stupid most of the human race is, seems like punishment enough for all of us.

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