By Vanne Elaine Terrazola
“‘Pag may nang-rape o pumatay na 13 years old, okay lang (If a 13-year-old rape or killed someone, is it okay)? Tell that to the parents of the victim.”
Senate President Vicente Sotto III posted this on Twitter Tuesday amid the mounting opposition on the proposal to lower the minimum age of criminal responsibility (MACR) under the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act, or Republic Act 9344.
Sotto, who filed in Senate a bill that seeks to lower the age of criminal liability to above 12 years old, maintained that the MACR should be lowered as he cited that children, today, are involved not just in illegal drugs, but also in many other heinous crimes.
In a series of messages to reporters, he said critics of the proposed lowering of the MACR should not focus their protests against the proponents’ reason for pushing the measure that children are being used by syndicates to perform their illegal activities, particularly illegal drug pushing. Because children, Sotto said, could commit crimes on their own.
“It’s not all about drugs. Sidelight lang ‘yong ginagamit mga minors as couriers (The reason that minors are being use as drug couriers is just a sidelight), it’s the least of the problems. Rape, murder and theft ang matingkad (are rampant),” Sotto said.
“Bale wala ‘yong issue na ginagamit sila ng syndicates (The issue that they are used by syndicates is a non-issue). No one gets hurt directly. ‘Yong direct crimes ang issue (Direct crimes are the issue here),” he said.