Despite stiff opposition from human rights groups, the committee on justice of the House of Representatives approved on Monday a controversial bill lowering the age of criminal liability from 15 years old to 9 years old.

House justice panel okays bill lowering age of criminal responsibility to 9

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Despite stiff opposition from human rights groups, the committee on justice of the House of Representatives approved on Monday a controversial bill lowering the age of criminal liability from 15 years old to 9 years old.

The committee’s approval of the substitute bill was near-unanimous with the only objection coming from Agusan del Norte Rep. Lawrence Fortun.

The body quickly approved the motion of Deputy Speaker Fredenil Castro to have the bill approved for plenary consideration.

Gabriela Rep. Arlene Brosas initially objected but was overruled as she’s not a member of the panel.

Oriental Mindoro Rep. Doy Leachon defended the bill during his opening remarks, saying it intended to protect children from being used by ruthless and unscrupulous criminal syndicates to evade prosecution and punishment.

Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo was present during the deliberations.

She called an executive session ahead of the hearing.

“Let it be understood that we are not putting these children in jail but in reformative institutions,” Leachon said.

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Poe alarmed by Covid-19 surge: ‘Vaccines must be delivered quicker’

Senator Grace Poe on Monday expressed alarm at the reported surge in Covid-19 infections in Metro Manila and other high-risk areas, calling on the vaccination managers to speed up the rollout of the inoculation program.

“The alarming surge in Covid-19 infections must be addressed with quicker action to deliver the shots to our health workers and other priority groups as we anticipate the arrival of more vaccines in the coming days,” the chair of the Senate public services committee said.

“We should vaccinate faster than the virus can spread. This is taking into account that the supply of the government-procured and donated doses will reach the Philippines on time,” Poe said.

“We count on the task force to continue equitable negotiations for the purchase of safe and efficient vaccines, complemented by a smooth implementation of the inoculation program,” she added.

“The challenge is to speed up and harmonize processes to ensure that all Filipinos will have an access to the vaccine to banish Covid-19 and help steady the economic ship,” Poe said.

Weh, di nga? Roque thinks gov’t has done ‘excellent’ job managing Covid-19

By Prince Golez

One year after national lockdown to stop the spread of coronavirus disease (Covid-19), Malacañang believes the government has performed excellently at managing the pandemic.

In a virtual presser on Monday, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the Duterte administration did a “very good” job of containing Covid-19.

“We were excellent. Nakontrol po natin ang pagkalat ng sakit lalong-lalo na kung ikukumpara tayo sa mas mayayaman at mga bansa na mas marami at mas modernong ospital,” said Roque.

“We did a very good job, given na kulang talaga ang ating health facilities at kulang yung pondo na binubuhos natin para sa health sector,” he added.

As of March 7, the Philippines recorded a total of 594,412 cases of Covid-19. Out of these cases, 545,853 recovered and 12,516 died.

Pangilinan: Body-cams could have prevented Calabarzon killings

Senator Kiko Pangilinan on Monday said the “suspicious killings” of activists in Calabarzon over the weekend could have been prevented if the security forces involved in the raids were wearing body cameras.

“As a person, I find the killings very disturbing. Every life is precious. Peace and order, not killings, ang mandato ng mga pulis. Ang dami ng namamatay sa Covid, sa mga bagyo, sa kung anu-anong sakuna. Huwag nang maging dahilan ang pulis sa pagkamatay pa ng kababayan natin,” he said.

“Bilang tao, parang naubos na ang luha at galit ko sa nangyari. Condemnation and outrage would be an understatement over the fate that befell the victims. Have we become a nation of butchers of our fellow Filipinos? Is there no more respect and value for life, rights, and due process?” Pangilinan added.

He said that to prevent such obvious disregard for human life, the Philippine National Police (PNP) should have used the P289-million body-worn cameras that it purchased in 2019.

“Without the body cameras, the ‘nanlaban’ excuse of the police for killing their captives would always be under a cloud of suspicion,” he said.

Pangilinan said the PNP and other law enforcement agencies should explain what happened to the budget for body camera appropriated to them as early as 2017.

He said the PNP and other concerned law enforcement agencies should explain why up now, body cameras are still not part of requirements of police operations.

“Why are these cameras not being used? It should not be too complicated to use one. Is there a deliberate delay in utilizing these cameras?” he asked.

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