Trillanes rejects ‘unjust’ lowering age of criminal liability
MANILA, Philippines — Opposition Senator Antonio Trillanes IV thumbed down on Tuesday a bill seeking to lower the age of criminal liability from 15 to nine years old.
“It is anti-family, anti-poor and simply unjust. Moreover, it will promote a heartless and ruthless society that has no regard for its own people,” Trillanes said in a statement.
“As somebody who has been imprisoned, I know that such a harsh environment will severely traumatize those children and would lead them further to a life of crime once they have served their sentence. Kahit na ihiwalay pa sila ng selda.,” he said.
Trillanes said children below 15 years of age “have yet to fully mature psychologically and emotionally enough to be able to fully discern what is right from wrong or to totally grasp the consequences of their actions.”
“Those kids must be able to recover from those early mistakes in life through rehabilitation and counseling,” the senator added.
House leaders who led the approval of lowering the age of criminal liability to nine have stressed that children in conflict with the law would not be put in regular prisons but in “reformative institutions.”
“We are not putting these children in jail but in reformative institutions to correct their ways and bring them back to the community,” said House justice committee chair Rep. Salvador Leachon.
He said lowering the age of liability was meant “to protect our children from being used by ruthless and unscrupulous criminal syndicates to evade prosecution and punishment.”
Other opposition senators — Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan, Risa Hontiveros, and Bam Aquino — are also opposing the proposal.
Even members of the Senate majority bloc are either wary or against the bill like Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto and Nancy Binay.
In contrast, Senate President Vicente Sotto III said majority of the senators agree that the age of criminal liability should be lowered.
The bill seeking to lower the minimum age of criminal responsibility to nine years old has already been approved by a panel of the House of Representatives.
Opposition from various sectors met the move the congressmen.
In the Senate, the committee on justice and human rights joint with the committee on finance is set to tackle this Tuesday morning a similar proposal.
Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III has a pending bill seeking to lower the age of liability to 12 years old and above. /cbb
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