“THE President wants it.”
This is the reason why Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is supporting the measure that lowers the minimum age of criminal liability from 15 years old to nine.
In a related development, House Bill 8588 which proposes the age reduction for criminal responsibility was passed yesterday on second reading, a prelude to final approval by the Lower Chamber on third reading.
The House members agreed to 12 years old as the age of criminal liability.
In an interview, Arroyo reiterated that she is seriously pushing for the priority agenda of President Rodrigo Duterte.
“Because the President wants it. From the beginning, I said that my agenda is the President’s agenda,” Arroyo told reporters in an ambush interview.
When asked if she’s amenable to penalizing children aged nine, Arroyo said she’s leaving the final decision to Congress.
“To me whatever the Congress will eventually come up with. I dictate on the deadlines but I don’t dictate on substance. Let the legislative process determine that,” Arroyo added.
Earlier, the House Committee on Justice submitted to the plenary a committee report for House Bill 8858 which provides the lowering of the minimum age of criminal liability.
Most members of the opposition bloc expressed strong objection to the measure.
The House of Representatives has started the plenary debates and intends to approve it before the long adjournment next month.
Chairman of House justice committee Oriental Mindoro Rep. Salvador “Doy” Leachon claimed that this measure is aimed at “protecting children from being used by ruthless and unscrupulous criminal syndicates to evade prosecution and punishment.”
Meanwhile, San Jose del Monte Rep. Rida Robes have joined other members of the House who are for 12 years old instead of nine.
Robes said she is expecting a better version of the bill, when it reaches the bicameral conference committee.
In the Senate, led by Senate President Sotto, most senators are amenable to 12.