By Hannah Torregoza
Senate President Vicente Sotto III on Sunday urged the public to vote for senatorial candidates running in the May 2019 midterm elections who support the proposal to lower the minimum age of criminal liability (MACR) from 15 to 12 years old.
Sotto made the call as he also expressed his frustration against critics of the measure, saying the laws on crime should be crafted with the victims in mind, and not always the criminal.
The Senate leader said it would be better to have public officials supportive of the bill should it fail to be approved in the present Congress.
“The people who are in favor of what we (in Congress) want to do, should vote for senatorial bets who are in favor of the bill; don’t vote for those who oppose,” Sotto said in a DZBB interview.
“Iboto nyo ang pabor, wag niyo iboboto ang kontra (Vote for those in favor; don’t vote those who are against the bill),” Sotto added.
The House of Representatives has already approved on second reading House Bill 8858 which lowers the age of criminal liability from 15 to 12 years old.
In the Senate, the bill is still being deliberated on by the Committee on justice and human rights. Congress has only a few session days left before the 17th Congress ends.
Sotto, likewise, reiterated that 12 years old is the “international standard” of criminal responsibility.
He also said critics of the bill should first look at the salient points of the measure before thumbing down the proposal and voicing their concerns on it.
“Basahin niyo muna bago kayo mamintas, yung pinipintas niyo wala sa batas. Mali. nakakabwisit na eh. Subukan nyong iyakan ang magulang na ginawan ng krimen. (Read the measure first before criticizing. That’s wrong. It’s frustrating already. Try to sympathize with the parents of the victims),” Sotto appealed.
“Ang pagagawa ng batas tungkol sa krimen dapat pabor sa naaapi di dapat pabor sa gumagawa ng krimen. Baligtad ang utak ng iba, proteksyon ng kriminal ang iniisip eh (Making laws on crime should be favorable to the oppressed, not on those who committed the crime. The others think differently, they think of protecting the criminal),” the Senate chief lamented.