MANILA – 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.
Castro’s motion was immediately seconded despite objections from Gabriela Rep. Arlene Brosas and Agusan del Norte Rep. Lawrence Fortun.
The committee report harmonized six bills lowering the of age criminal responsibility: House Bill Nos. 2, 505, 935, 1609, 2009 and 3973.
Human Rights group have cited that the Bill is a flagrant display of hypocrisy in the Philippine justice system as other politicians who were implicated in multi-billion peso plunder were freed, pardoned or allowed bail on non-bailable offense.
JUAN PONCE ENRILE
The Supreme Court (SC) in 2015 granted Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile’s plea to post bail in connection with his plunder trial stemming from his alleged involvement in the pork barrel scam.
Voting 8-4, the high court ordered the Sandiganbayan to allow Enrile to post bail at P1-million for his liberty.
In his bail petition, Enrile argued that the evidence linking him to the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam is weak, and that he is not a flight risk.
He also pointed out 2 mitigating circumstances: advanced age and his voluntary surrender, which, under the law, puts the prescribed penalty for plunder at reclusion temporal (12 years and 1 day to 20 years), not reclusion perpetua (20-40 years).
Those who dissented in the decision were Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno and Associate Justices Antonio Carpio, Estela Perlas-Bernabe, and Marvic Leonen.
Former President Joseph Estrada, who was ousted in a people power revolt in 2001 and was subsequently tried and convicted on charges of corruption, accepted on October 27, 2007 the full pardon granted by President Arroyo citing of old age and health issues.
In July 16, 2016, Voting 11-4, the Supreme Court dismisses the plunder case against former Philippine president Gloria Arroyo and orders her immediate release from a 4-year hospital arrest. The SC cited health issues for the release order.
In November 16, 2018, the Sandiganbayan 5th Division has granted the request of Ilocos Norte Rep. Imelda Marcos to post bail and file post-conviction remedies, including going to the Supreme Court, where she plans to challenge the decision finding her guilty of 7 graft cases. Mrs. Imelda Marcos was found guilty to 7 counts of graft & corruption charges. However, the Philippine National Police was adamant to arrest Mrs. Marcos due to old age and health issues.