By: Elena Grace Flores Atty. Glenn Chong sees lowering of criminal age as a way to move children away from adult criminals and syndicates. “By lowering the age, we actually remove more of these children away from them,” he said. Chong added that rehabilitation facilities should also be given adequate funding to ensure that children are “well” rehabilitated. “If our goal is to rehabilitate, there must be enough funds necessary to bring back their dignity,” he said. This is contrary to Bam Aquino’s stand who disagrees with the bill. He explains that syndicates or parents should be punished instead of children. z
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[VIDEO]: #Harapan2019: Glenn Chong on age of criminal responsibility
The House Approves the Bill
The House committee on justice approves the bill that would lower the minimum age of criminal responsibility from 15 years old to 9 years old. Last January 21, the justice panel gave its thumbs up to the substitute bill. This would amend Republic Act (RA) 10630, the law that currently retains the minimum age of criminal liability at 15. However, it allows children as young as 12 to be in youth care facilities or Bahay Pag-asa for serious crimes only. These include rape, murder, and homicide, among others.
Glenn Chong Got the Ultimate Purpose
House justice panel chairperson and Oriental Mindoro 1st District Representative Salvador Leachon said the bill primarily seeks to protect children from being used by syndicates to commit crimes. “Let it be understood that with the present bill, we are not putting these children in jail but in reformative institutions to correct their ways and bring them back to the community. They are not branded as criminals but children in conflict with the law,” said Leachon. The controversial, clean election advocate and lawyer, Glenn Chong explains this better than anyone else.
“Reformative institutions do not punish individuals. Instead, they are set to help the children to be integrated back to the community after they have committed criminal acts,” Leachon added. This is why Atty. Chong insists that it is necessary to have substantial funding if it’s rehabilitation that we are after for the children to have better opportunities in the future.
The Same Stand but Different Mindset
Former Metro Manila Development Authority chairman Francis Tolentino agrees to lower the age to 12 or 13. He said that the country needs a “reformative justice system” for children accused of crimes. Broadcast journalist Jiggy Manicad also said that law enforcers should go after “masterminds” and “drug lords” that use children in crimes.
No Funding from Marcos
Running alongside hong is another lawyer Lorenzo “Larry” Gadon. He agrees to lower the age to 12. Children already have “discernment at such age, ” he said. “Today’s kids are smarter, they know what’s wrong and right,” Gadon added. “They will commit a crime because they have in mind that no punishment is at stake, Both Gadon, and Chong are in line with the administration’s objectives. Better yet, their advocacies pave the way for Bongbong Marcos to have a better stand in his electoral protest against the presumptive Vice President, Leni Robredo. The two also deny that they get any financial support from the Marcoses. They claim that their findings just coincide with Marcos’ fight.