What lawmakers & the DDS think:
The House Committee on Justice approved on Monday a bill lowering the age of criminal liability from 15 to nine years old, which amends Republic Act 9344 or the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006.
The panel only took about five minutes to approve the committee report containing the still unnumbered substitute bill after Capiz Rep. Fredenil Castro motioned for its approval, following the opening remarks of panel chair Oriental Mindoro Rep. Salvador “Doy” Leachon.
For Malacañang, 9-year-old children are already capable of discernment due to the modern technology they use.
“For me, 9 is fine. Considering the modern technology, nine is like the equivalent of 12, 15 years old. They have discernment already,” Salvador Panelo, Palace spokesperson, said.
This is contrary to the recommended minimum age of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Child or UNCRC, wherein the Philippines is one of the signatories.
The minimum of criminal responsibility or MACR should be at 12 years old and above, according to its provisions.
Senate President Vicente Sotto similarly filed Senate Bill 2026 that seeks to lower the MRAC to 13 years old.
Sotto cited a study from the CRIN for this measure, but the organization eventually countered it and described the lawmaker as “misguided.”
The UN had been calling out the country’s justice system since 2016 during the filing of House Bill 2, a previous proposal to lower MRAC to nine years. House Bill 2 was eventually merged with the new one.
These plans are backed by President Rodrigo Duterte who has since opposed the Juvenile Justice Law and perceived it as the cause of the rising crimes in the country.
Lawmakers have also cited this law as the reason why children are being used by drug syndicates as peddlers on the streets.
DUTERTE CONFESSING IN SEXUALLY ASSAULTING THEIR FAMILY’S MAID
Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte has confessed to sexually assaulting his family’s maid as a schoolboy (10 years old).
The claim, which his spokesman later said was made up, came during a speech in which he described making the confession to a priest while he was a teenager.
Mr Duterte recalled lifting the blanket and touching the woman while she slept, according to a transcript provided by the president’s office.
“I went to the room of the maid,” Duterte said. “I lifted the blanket. I tried to touch what was inside the panty. I was touching. She woke up. So I left the room.”
He then described going to the toilet for “the usual” before returning to the room where the maid was sleeping to assault her for a second time.