‘Vote for bets in favor of lower criminality age’
Voters who favor the move to lower the threshold age of criminal liability from 15 to 12 years old should not elect in the coming midterm elections senatorial candidates who oppose it, Senate President Vicente Sotto III said on Sunday.
Sotto also said it would be better if voters chose candidates who had served in the local government, as they would have a better understanding of the issue regarding youth offenders.
“To those supportive of what we want to do, vote for the senatorial candidates who are in favor [of the measure]. Don’t vote for those who are against it,” the Senate leader said in an interview with dzBB radio.
Although the Senate was already working against the clock, Sotto expressed confidence that it would be able to pass the measure amending the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act before the 17th Congress closed in June as requested by President Duterte.
Sotto said Sen. Richard Gordon, chair of the Senate committee on justice, was expected to submit a committee report and start the plenary debate on the bill before the Senate broke up for the campaign period on Feb. 8.
He said the senators would still have at least two weeks to discuss the proposed legislation on second and third reading when they resumed sessions after the elections in May.
“There will be a new Congress in June. [If we fail to pass this], we have to refile it and hold hearings again. It will take us more time [to amend the law]. More crimes would be committed,” said the Senate President.
“It’s better to do it now so we could also allot budget for the construction of Bahay Pag-asa,” he said, referring to the rehabilitation centers where juvenile offenders would be held.
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