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Nilagari! Tinio accuses Arroyo Speakership of railroading proposed lowering of MACR

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By JOHN CARLO M. CAHINHINAN

ACT Teachers Partylist Rep. Antonio Tinio accused the House leadership of railroading the approval of the proposed lowering the minimum age of criminal responsibility (MACR) in the country under House Bill 8858.

Tinio said the Arroyo Speakership fast-track second reading passage of HB8858 on Wednesday afternoon after some officials of the House leadership ‘forcibly’ terminated the period of debates despite several lawmakers have yet to interpellate including him.

Tinio stressed that he House leadership deprived legislators from interpellating the highly-controversial measure which seeks to lower the age of criminal responsibility in the country from 15-years old to 12-years old.

“Despite strong public clamor against the lowering of the minimum age of criminal responsibility, the House of Representatives has yet again passed a bill that aids the Duterte administration’s war against the poor,” said Tinio.

Through a viva voce voting during Wednesday’s plenary proceedings, majority of the legislators present on the floor heeded for the approval of the proposed amendments to the Juvenile Welfare Act or also known as the Pangilinan Law.

Tino warned that bill only punishes poor and marginalized children for “being victims of state neglect.”

He explained that the answer to the increasing rate of criminality among minors is not to jail children but “to address the roots of poverty.”

Meanwhile the bill’s primary sponsor, Mindoro Oriental Rep. Salvador “Doy” Leachon alredy clarified that the approved amendments to the so-called ‘Pangilinan Law’ will not put minors in jails but rather in the so-called ‘Bahay Pag-asa’—a reformative institution under the local government units (LGUs) which seeks to correct their ways and bring them back to the community.

Leachon explained that 12 to 17 years-old offender will not be treated as criminals but rather “Children in conflict with the law.”

The Mindoro solon also stressed that compare to a regular detention facility, Bahay Pag-asa “do not punish individuals.”