Sotto: Senate to scrutinize measure lowering age of criminal liability
MANILA, Philippines—The measure seeking to lower the minimum age of criminal liability from 15 to 12 years old will be properly debated and scrutinized in the upper chamber, Senate President Vicente Sotto III said on Thursday.
“Just like any other bill in the Senate, this proposal will be debated, scrutinized and the views of both those against and in favor will be taken into consideration,” Sotto said in a statement.
“These are challenging times and we need to offer timely solutions,” he added.
The Senate leader made the assurance after the House of Representatives on Wednesday approved on second reading a bill seeking to lower the age of criminal responsibility from 15 to 12 years old despite widespread opposition.
In the Senate, Minority Leader Franklin Drilon filed Senate Bill No. 1603 seeking to lower the age of criminal liability to 12 years old, while Sotto filed SBN 2026 seeking to lower the age to “above 12 years old.” These bills have been pending at the upper chamber’s justice committee.
Sotto insisted that the prevailing juvenile justice law has failed to bring down the number of crimes committed by minors, “many of which were violent in nature.”
“This is the sad reality and one that we cannot afford to just accept or turn a blind eye to,” he added.
The senator also reiterated that the objective of the measure is not to jail children, but to place them in Bahay Pag-Asa facilities across the country where they would be rehabilitated and given a chance to enjoy normal lives.
Sotto also noted that part of the bill is to upgrade these facilities which the current law failed to address. /muf
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