THE chairman of the House committee on justice yesterday welcomed the open full support of Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to the passage of a proposed law lowering the minimum age of criminal liability from 15 to nine years old.
“This will expedite the passage of the measure. Workaholic talaga si Speaker Arroyo to personally attend the hearing,” said Oriental Mindoro Rep. Doy Leachon, the panel chairman, on the measure, which is one of the priority measures of President Rodrigo Duterte.
In support of the request of Duterte, Arroyo will move this morning for the passage of the pending bills that will lower the age of criminal liability from 15 to nine years old.
Arroyo decided not to watch the fight yesterday of Sen. Manny Pacquiao in Las Vegas against American boxer Adrien Broner to personally attend the Leachon panel hearing. She was personally invited by Pacquiao.
Bagong Henerasyon (BH) party list Rep. Bernadette Herrera-Dy, chairperson of the House committee on women and gender equality, appealed to the panel “to please introduce more safeguards to prevent abuse and injustice against children in conflict with the law (CICL).”
“First, I ask the House committee on justice to include among the provisions of House Bill (HB) 2009 of [Antipolo City] Rep. Romeo Acop, the creation of Juvenile Courts which will have original and exclusive jurisdiction over all criminal and civil cases involving youth offenders,” said Herrera-Dy, one of the major authors of the new Anti-Hazing Law.
“I also appeal to the House committee on justice to give the DSWD (Department of Social Welfare and Development) a major role in protecting CICL. Given the lower age of criminal responsibility, it would be necessary for the DSWD to assign social workers who will be on duty at every police station on a 24-hour basis. It would be the duty of those social workers on duty to make sure the rights of minors are protected from the time an arrest is happening and until their cases are pending,” she said.
Leachon said the pending measures seek to amend the “Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006” or Republic Act (RA) No. 9344, which set the minimum age for criminal liability at 15 years old.