Opposition bets slam congressional moves to lower age of criminal responsibility

Adrian Ayalin, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 23 2019 02:41 PM

Opposition senatorial bets Romulo Macalintal and former Quezon Rep. Erin Tanada joined various groups in opposing the passage of the amendment to the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act to lower the minimum age of criminal liability from 15 to 9 years old. 

Tañada pointed out statistics from the Philippine National Police that only 2 percent of crimes involve minors, only 8 percent of which are serious crimes while 92 percent are petty crimes.

“So bakit ba tayo magfo-focus sa mga krimen na ginagawa ng 2% ng ating populasyon? Dapat nagfo-focus tayo sa 98 percent,” Tañada said.

“Wala pa silang konsepto kung ano ang tama o mali, kapag iutuuusan ang bata susunod agad yan,” he said.

Running after children who are being used by criminal syndicates signals a defeatist attitude on the part of the government, Macalintal noted.

“Bakit ba ang mga bata ang sisishin? Kasi para daw hindi magamit ng criminal syndicate? Why run after the children? Why not run after the criminal syndicates?” he asked.

The 2 are both lawyers running under the Otso Diretso coalition, composed of the Liberal Party, Tindig Pilipinas and other opposition groups. 

Both recognized that they are lagging behind in surveys and it is a huge challenge to run against other candidates who have better funding.

“Tumaas na po ang mga awareness level. At least it has gone up, so the next step is how to make people know us more,” Tanada said.

“Lahat ng pagkakataon ginagawa namin makakita na ako ng 5 tao, nangangampanya na ako,” Macalintal said.