MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte said he was “comfortable” with the House of Representatives decision to lower the age of criminal liability to 12 years old instead of nine under the earlier proposal.
Speaking to media in Pasay City the other night, Duterte said he has no contention with the amended House bill, which was approved on second reading on Wednesday evening.
“If it’s the final decision of the House of Representatives, I’m comfortable with it,” the President said. “It’s ok with me. Twelve years old. Okay na.”
While he was fine with the toned down House measure, Duterte said there is also nothing wrong with the original proposal of nine years old since it was the original law.
“‘Yun ang original law bago pinakiilaman ni [Sen. Francis Pangilinan],” he said. “Return to the original law but if you have some other ideas in mind, I’m open to it. Suggestion ko lang.”
Duterte added: “I wanted it pegged at nine years old so that the parents would be conscious of the criminal accountability already since will be ultimately responsible. Sila ‘yung tatamaan e.”
On Wednesday, the House changed the proposed age of liability to 12 years old from nine due to the consensus of the majority of the lawmakers, House Justice Committee chair Salvador Leachon said.
“So, when there was a consensus already of, ang sabi nila, ‘Ano ba, gusto nyo ba sa 15?’ Ayaw naman nila. ‘Gusto nyo ba sa 9?’ And many of them had reservations,” Leachon said.
“Tinanong ko silang lahat and when we got the more than majority of members [to agree], we decided to have it at uniform 12 years old instead of the original proposal of 9 years old,” he added.
Aside from the age bracket, other amendments made on the proposal was the replacement of the term “criminal” with “social” responsibility. A provision for the construction and funding for Bahay Pag-asa was also inserted.
Meanwhile, those above 12 years old but under 18 years old would be exempted from liability and be subjected to intervention program unless the minor acted with discernment./PN