Ex-human rights chair hits Batang Bilanggo Bill
A former Commission on Human Rights chairperson expressed her disapproval on the bill that seeks to send juvenile offenders to jail.
During the forum titled, “Diskursong Tomasino: Martial Law Chapter” last Saturday, March 11, Etta Rosales pointed out that children has a different way of thinking compared to adults.
“Because they are still children, they do not think like an adult. They do not have the capacity to make social decisions correctly.”she said.
House Bill 2 or “Minimum Age of Criminal Responsibility Act” filed by Representative Fredenil Castro and House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, seeks to lower the minimum age for criminal liability from 15 to nine years old.
Rosales suggested that there is another way to reduce the juvenile delinquents in the country.
“Babawasan natin ang juvenile delinquents on the approach of restorative justice. Ibig sabihin noon, hindi naman natin sila basta ikukulong. Ilalagay natin sila dun sa intervention program kung saan magagabyan sila sa kanilang mga pagkakamali.” She added.
She emphasized that the child will still have a liability but not to the extent of a criminal’s.
“Meron silang civil liability but not criminal liability. That is best for justice, to restore to them the right to develop themselves. The attitude must be: to help them correct themselves.”
Reviewing Martial Law
Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism Executive Director Malou Mangahas said that the government should develop an image that would hone today’s youth.
“A government, a nation that will take care of our children […] Cares, respects and has decency towards everyone. Hindi yung tokhang image ang nasa screen ng tv mo, ‘tokhang na walang warrant of arrest, walang search warrant pero napapatay agad sila.”
Oplan Tokhang is part of President Rodrigo Duterte’s campaign against drugs wherein the local police spearhead “knock and plead” operations in villages.
More than a million suspected drug users and pushers surrendered as a result of the warrant-less operation.
With the fear of Duterte declaring Martial Law, the veteran journalist encouraged the youth to review the atrocities happened during the administration of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
“I think it should start with mastering the story of the Filipino people from martial law people to the present by understand what defines those stories by way of rule of law, principles of law, etc. and kung ano ang lessons.”
She added, “Kung hindi tayo ang kikibo, sino ang kikibo? Kung hindi tayo kikilos, sino ang kikilos. Kung hindi ngayon, kailan pa? Kaya sama-sama at sabay-sabay tayong kumibo at kumilos.”
The forum was organized by the Thomasian Debaters Council. – M.W. dela Paz
Photo by Kevin Alabasa