Bam ‘absolutely doubts’ bill lowering age of criminal liability would pass Senate
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Bam Aquino on Monday said that the bill seeking to lower the age of criminal responsibility to nine years old would not pass through the Senate even if it was approved by the House of Representatives.
According to Aquino, there are enough people in the Senate to repeal the “crazy, cruel, and immoral proposal.”
“I absolutely doubt that this would pass the Senate. I think there is enough, in the Senate currently, who know that lowering the age of criminal liability to nine years old is just completely out of bounds,” the senator said during a program in San Juan.
“Hindi ko maisip na ang isang ten years old ay kakasuhan mo ng krimen na ikakaso mo sa adult,” he added.
Earlier, the House’s justice panel approved the bill despite strong opposition from children’s rights advocates and other lawmakers. House members including Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo said that it is a priority measure, aligned with President Rodrigo Duterte’s legislative agenda.
People supportive of the bill claimed that organized syndicates and crime groups have been using children to spread illegal activities.
Previously, Duterte called Senator Francis Pangilinan — who authored the Juvenile Justice law which exempted children 15 years old and below from criminal liability to — as the “most stupid” lawyer.
But despite the backing from no less than Duterte and Arroyo, Aquino said that he believes there are lawmakers who would stand up against the bill.
“Even pagdating sa plenaryo, palagay ko may mga ibang congressman siguro na ipaglalaban ‘yong ating mga kabataan. Hindi na ho siguro to kailangang tignan on a legal basis or constitutional basis, siguro common sense lang,” Aquino explained.
He also questioned the administration if nine year old children would also be given capital punishment should bills on the death penalty and lowering the age of criminal liability are both enacted.
“Kung isama mo pa dyan ‘yong push ng administration na isama ‘yong death penalty, ang ibig ba sabihin n’yan ‘yong mga 10 years old gusto talaga nilang i-death penalty pa?” he asked.
“Hindi na kasi nagkakatugma ‘tong mga tinutulak na polisiya, and I think medyo basic naman siguro sa Pilipino na kapag 10 years old, dapat ‘yon tinutulungan natin, hindi kinukulong,” he said. /je
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