Alvarez to push for federalism, death penalty, juvenile law amendment
Presumptive Speaker Pantaleon “Bebot” Alvarez on Tuesday listed down the top three bills in President-elect Rodrigo Duterte’s incoming administration.
During the Meet the Inquirer Multimedia forum, Alvarez said as Speaker he would push for the passage of the bills that would reinstate death penalty, change the system of government to federal from unitary, and amend the Pangilinan law to lower the minimum age for criminal liability.
“Number one would be federalism. Number two, resorting to death penalty. And number three, the amendment to the Pangilinan law on juvenile delinquency,” Alvarez said.
He said he would amend the Pangilinan law to bring back the minimum age for criminal liability from 15 years old to the original nine years old as stated in the Revised Penal Code.
Alvarez said he has received complaints that minors are being used by syndicates because they would escape liability because of their age.
“We received a lot of complaints from law enforcement agencies tungkol dun sa mga minors na hindi pwedeng i-charge. Tinaasan ‘yung age ng 15. Originally I think it’s nine sa Revised Penal Code,” Alvarez said.
“I’m not questioning the law; it’s quite noble. But the problem is in its implementation. Nagkaroon tayo ng problema na ‘yung mga 15 years old ginagamit ng mga syndicates for committing crimes. (We have a problem with 15-year-olds being used by syndicates for committing crimes.) I think we have to address that problem,” he said.
The law called Juvenile Justice Welfare Act of 2006 or Republic Act 9344, authored by Sen. Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan, stated that persons aged 15 years old and below cannot be imprisoned for heinous crimes such as rape and murder.
The law was amended in 2013 through the Republic Act 10630 which mandates for an intensive juvenile intervention and support center called “Bahay Pag-asa.”
Although the law did not amend the minimum age of criminal liability, it however subjected the minor offender to a government intervention program.
The amended law states that a child above 12 years old up to 15 years old who committed parricide, murder, infanticide, kidnapping, serious illegal detention where the victim is killed or raped, robbery with homicide or rape, destructive arson, rape, or carnapping where the driver or occupant is killed or raped, as well as drug-related offenses, will be deemed a “neglected child” and mandatorily placed in the youth care faculty “Bahay Pag-asa,” which is an Intensive Juvenile Intervention and Support Center.
The law also requires the minor offender to pay the civil liabilities for his or her offense.
Alvarez said he would also push for complete revision of the 1987 Constitution to change the country’s system of governance from unitary to federal.
He said Duterte wanted to revise the charter completely through the constitutional convention, or through the election of delegates which would propose amendments to the charter to be ratified in a plebiscite.
Alvarez said he is looking at coinciding the election of delegates to the barangay elections this year, which he said he wanted to postpone for a few months.
He said the proposal to revise the constitution for a federal form of government would need go to through the usual legislative mill through the House committee on revision and amendments of laws.
“Mayroong darating na barangay elections. Tingnan natin pwedeng isabay ‘yung election of delegates ng con con para isang gastusan nalang. Baka pwede nating i-delay ng kaunti ‘yung election ng barangay… to save money for the government,” Alvarez said.
(There will be barangay elections. Let’s see if we can have the election of delegates of the con con and the barangay elections at the same time so that we can cut costs. Maybe we can delay the barangay elections for a bit… to save money for the government.)
Alvarez said under his proposed federal state, the Philippines will have different states that will have its own set of laws and even its own court system.
“‘Yung idea ko d’yan, kung sa America, may courts sa bawat state and different set of laws in different states. Mayroong states na pwede ang same-sex marriage; ‘yung iba may pabor sa abortion. Depende na sa culture and tradition nung isang state,” Alvarez said.
(My idea is that in America, there are courts in every state and different set of laws in different states. There are states that allow same-sex marriage; there are others who are in favor of abortion. It depends on the culture and traditions of the state.)
He said through federalism, provinces and other administrative regions such as the Cordillera Administrative Region and the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) will have the opportunity to manage its own economies.
“Cordillera and ARMM, of course, magbabago ‘yun. Magkakaroon ng different states; mas gaganda pa ‘yung mga privileges nila. (Cordillera and ARMM, of course, it will change. There will be different states; they’ll have better better privileges.) They’ll have the chance to manage their own economy, manage their own natural resources, chair their own destinies,” Alvarez said.
As for death penalty, President-elect Duterte earlier said he would prefer death penalty by hanging.
Alvarez said he wanted these pieces of legislation passed within the first two years of the Duterte administration. JE
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