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Senate urged to reject ‘draconian’ bills in last sessions 17th Congress

/ 03:44 PM May 21, 2019

MANILA, Philippines — The Senate should reject proposed “draconian and regressive” laws like the revival of the death penalty in the last few session days of the 17th Congress, Albay 1st District Rep. Edcel Lagman said on Tuesday.

The 17th Congress has barely eight days before it adjourns sine die on June 8.

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In a press statement, the leader of the House “Magnificent 7” bloc in the lower chamber urged the upper House to nix the revival of capital punishment. He argued that data have shown that the death penalty is “not a deterrent to the commission of crimes even as the crime rate has gone down,” and “not a precursor to judicial reforms.”

Lagman also said senators should block the bills seeking to lower the age of criminal responsibility.

Neuroscientific research proves that children’s brains do not fully develop until their early 20s, which means that children between the ages of 12 to 15 may still not have full discernment and the imposition of criminal culpability may not be justified, the lawmaker said.

He stressed that the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006 should be fully implemented with the assurance of adequate funding for non-penal institutions and programs for children in conflict with the law.

The Senate should also reject the amendments to the Public Service Act, which allows aliens and foreign corporations to own and operate public utilities previously reserved for Filipino citizens or corporations.

“A prior constitutional amendment is necessary and indispensable,” he said.

‘Opposition to federalism must continue’

Meanwhile, the Liberal Party member said Senate’s resistance to Charter change should “relentlessly continue” in the 18th Congress.

“A strong argument, if not the strongest, against constituting the House of Representatives and the Senate into a constituent assembly is that the supermajority solons will convert the constituent assembly into a virtual rubber stamp of President Rodrigo Duterte,” Lagman stressed.

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The lawmaker said “undue haste” in shifting from a unitary to a federal system of government would “further deteriorate the economy.”

He noted that even National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) Director-General Ernesto Pernia underscored the country’s lack of preparedness for a shift to federalism. Hence, implementing it hastily would be detrimental to economic growth.

The latest surveys from the country’s top pollsters also reveal that only 25 percent of Filipinos are aware of the proposed federal system while 70 percent of Filipinos have no knowledge or awareness at all of the system. (Editor: Eden Estopace)

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TAGS: age of criminal responsibility, Death penalty, Edcel Lagman, Senate
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