Sotto slams Social Weather Stations survey on minimum age of criminal responsibility

Vicente Sotto III
Vicente Sotto III

SAYING that the survey questions were leading, Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III yesterday chided the Social Weather Stations (SWS) over the results showing that the poll majority of their respondents reject the lowering of the minimum age of criminal responsibility (MACR).

Sotto said that the survey questions were wrong after most of the respondents expressed approval on sending to jail minors 15 years old and above.

“Wrong report on the survey. Who says our bill will jail them? The question was leading,” Sotto said.

The Senate head insisted that in lowering the MACR, 12-year-olds and above will not be sent to jail directly but will undergo processes to reform them.

Meanwhile, Senator Sherwin Gatchalian said that the survey results should be included in the deliberations of the bill on MACR.

He said that the survey results are a sign for the government to be more careful in handling cases of minors involved in crime.

Gatchalian insisted that the proper implementation of the current Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act is enough to reform children-in-confilict-with-law (CICL).  The most critical aspect of the implementation of the law is the construction and development of Bahay Pagasa per municipality and city.

“Our experience in Valenzuela City shows that a functioning Bahay Pag-asa can go a long way towards helping CICL turn their lives around and nurture them into responsible young Filipino citizens,” Gatchalian said.