Reelected Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman on Tuesday called on the Senate to reject the “draconian and regressive” measures prioritized by the Duterte administration in the remaining session days of the 17th Congress.
In particular, the leader of the Magnificent 7 bloc said the Senate should reject two measures: the death penalty bill and the lowering of the age of criminal responsibility.
He enumerated his reasons for his opposition to the two bills.
“The unsubstantiated claim that the death penalty is a fitting response to criminality, will restore respect for laws, is a path to achieve justice, and is geared towards genuine reform in the criminal justice system, are not impressed with compelling reasons because:
Data show that the death penalty is not a deterrent to the commission of crimes even as the crime rate has gone down.
Punitive justice is not the avenue to achieve justice because vengeance is never justice.
The imposition of capital punishment is not a precursor to judicial reforms.
As for the bill lowering the age of criminal responsibility, Lagman cited the following reasons:
Neuroscientific research documents that the brains of children do not fully develop until their early 20s meaning children between the ages of 12 to 15 may still have reduced discernment to justify the imposition of criminal culpability on them.
It will not result in lower crime rates. Data show that children commit only 1.72% of reported crimes and most of them are poverty-induced crimes like theft.
The present Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006 must be fully implemented with the assurance of adequate funding for non-penal institutions and programs for children in conflict with the law.
Children must not be exposed to the adversities of prosecutory and judicial processes just because government has failed to implement the juvenile justice law.
Children in conflict with the law are bound to be confined in jail-like facilities, and no prison is fit for a child.