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Bill lowering criminal age set to be passed

The House Subcommittee on Correctional Reforms is set to approve next week a bill seeking to lower the minimum age of criminal liability to 12-years-old.

The panel, chaired by Misamis Occidental Rep. Henry Oaminal, is expected to pass the substitute bill, which seeks to expand the scope of the Juvenile Justice and Welfare System and strengthen the social reintegration programs for children in conflict with the law on May 23.

In February, the Oaminal panel shelved its approval of a substitute bill after its technical working group, led by Kabayan partylist Rep. Ron Salo, appealed for another week to thresh out the provisions of President Duterte’s priority measure.

Salo said during their TWG meetings, “Everyone is in agreement that Children in Conflict with the Law below 15 should be made accountable and responsible for their actions.”

“However, almost all the resource persons, and many other members of Congress who attended the meetings, are opposed to “branding” these CICLs as criminals,” he noted.

The TWG conducted three meetings to consolidate all the six measures and craft a substitute bill, considering the inputs of the authors, committee members, and resource persons.

The bills were authored by House Deputy Speaker and Cadiz Rep. Fredenil Castro, House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, Tarlac Rep. Victor Yap, Navotas City Rep. Toby Tiangco, Antipolo City Rep. Romeo Acop, and Nueva Ecija Rep. Estrellita Suansing.

Salo said the TWG adopted the proposal made by House Deputy Speaker and Taguig City Rep. Pia Cayetano to rephrase the title “so as not to label the CICLs as criminals but still make them accountable and responsible to their actions.” (Charissa L. Atienza)

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