Duterte ‘comfortable’ with 12 as minimum age of criminal liability
MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday said he is comfortable with 12 years old as the new minimum age of criminal liability.
Duterte made the remark after the House of Representatives approved on second reading a bill seeking to lower the age of criminal responsibility from 15 to 12 years old, and not nine years old as earlier proposed.
“If it’s the final decision, I’m comfortable with it,” Duterte told reporters in an interview in Pasay City.
READ: Amid public anger, House relents on criminalizing 9-yr-olds
“As long as.. above 12 below 16 ‘yung indeterminate sentence dun ang papasok, dun okay lang,” he added
However, Duterte said he would have agreed with Congress’ earlier proposal of nine years old as it was the “original” minimum age of criminal responsibility in the country.
“That was the original, binabalik ko ang original. So original was really below nine above nine below 12, above 12 below 16… ‘yun ang original binabalik ko lang,” he said.
“‘Yun ang original law bago pinakialaman, the one single Filipino lawmaker who did the greatest disservice sa country,” he added, apparently referring to Senator Francis Pangilinan, who authored the law setting the age of criminal liability at 15.
Duterte has been pushing for the amendment of Pangilinan’s Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006, which according to him, gave rise to “people of criminal minds.”
READ: Duterte blames Pangilinan…
Malacañang, however, insisted that the President would not interfere and would let Congress work and decide on the proposed bill.
At the Senate, Minority Leader Franklin Drilon filed Senate Bill No. 1603 seeking to lower the age of criminal liability to 12 years old, while Senate President Vicente Sotto III filed SBN 2026 seeking to lower the age to “above 12 years old.” These bills have been pending at the chamber’s justice committee.
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