Members of Akbayan party-list together with child rights advocates today trooped to the House of Representatives to call on legislators to abandon plans to pass a proposed measure that would lower the minimum age of criminal responsibility from the current 15 to 9 years old.
"This bill misses the point -- that poor kids are often used by syndicates for their illegal activities, and children who comes into conflict with the law should be rehabilitated, not incarcerated," said Akbayan Rep. Tom Villarin, a father of two teenage girls, and is opposing the bill.
"Malupit sa bulilit ang panukalang batas na ito, at mahihirap ang siguradong tatamaan na naman dahil sila ang walang kakayahang kumuha ng abogado para ipagtanggol ang sarili."
"We need to pause and seriously reflect for a moment if we are willing to sacrifice the future of our children just to feel a sense of security, just to feel safe," added Villarin. "This mindset is inhumane, and we can be better than this."
"We call on all citizens to exercise empathy, and draw the line at children," pleaded Villarin. "This bill, when taken together with the bill reviving the death penalty through hanging, lethal injection or firing squad are cruel, degrading mean-spirited measures that cheapen life and destroys our sense of community."
Akbayan supports the decision of the Vice-President to resign from the Duterte Cabinet. VP Robredo's principled stance against the thousands of extra judicial killings, the reinstatement of the death penalty by hanging and firing squad, lowering the age of criminal responsibility to 9 years old, among others, stands in stark contrast to the culture of fear, violence, and death that this administration has come to stand for.
Her staunch opposition to the burial of Marcos as a hero is an embarassment to an administration that against all moral and legal logic has defended and pursued in order to fulfill a personal campaign promise to a financier.
It is worthy to revisit the facts that surround Leni Robredo's ascent to the Vice-Presidency: a champion of good local governance who lawyered for poor people's causes such as that of the Mapalad farmers, who embarked on a cashless campaign that rode on the goodwill of ordinary people who saw in her a platform to pursue the welfare of those at the laylayan.
Akbayan joins the rest of the country in denouncing the unilateral, treacherous burial of the dictator Marcos as a hero.
President Duterte needs to stop abetting the sanitation of the Marcos history by glorifying and honoring a murderous despot. Duterte can never simply reduce the Marcos burial to a question of legality – even as laws exist, such as the Marcos human rights victims’ compensation law recognizing that Marcos is anything but a hero.
But this act of patronage for a family that contributed to the President’s campaign kitty is only the latest in a growing list of actuations that point to a worrying and very costly tendency for an authoritarian bent.
In condoning extra judicial killings, Duterte is normalizing death as the most effective methodology for addressing societal ills. With no perpetrators in jail, impunity has become the norm. And with thousands of dead, due process and the rule of law have taken huge hits. And government is yet to display any signs of seriously pursuing perpetrators. Instead the country was threatened with the proposal to suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, which raises the spectre of warrantless arrests.
Such recklessness is tantamount to an inception of the idea that the times call for an iron fist. The hero’s burial for Marcos does not only glorify and justify the reign of terror Marcos inflicted on us -- it reinforces an inauthentic demand for its repetition.
Akbayan Partylist Rep. Tom Villarin today warned President Rodrigo Duterte about settling on China’s terms and giving up the fishing rights of poor Filipinos, in the guise of environmental conservation.
“Don’t take the easy way out. Just because you couldn’t give the Filipino fisherfolk their slice of the pie doesn’t mean you should take the whole pie from them all together,” he said.
Earlier today, it was reported that President Duterte plans to issue an executive order that will declare the inner waters of Panatag Shoal as a no-fishing zone.
This, despite last month’s celebrations that Filipinos can fish again in the vicinity, after President Duterte sought for China’s permission over Philippine territorial waters.
“Ano to? Pinatikim lang ang mga mangingisda natin?” Villarin interjected.
The enemies of freedom who bury Marcos today will be held accountable tomorrow
Quote: Tom Villarin, Representative
Muling igigiit ng Akbayan, kasama ng malawak na hanay ng mga mamamayang Pilipino ang pagtutol sa paglilibing kay Marcos bilang isang bayani. Ang pagtutuloy ng planong ito sa illim ng administrasyong Duterte ay isang lapastangang pagyurak sa kasaysayan at panawagan para sa hustisya.
Lahat tayo biktima ni Marcos. Nasa unahan ang mga tinortyur, mga dinukot, naglaho at pinatay. Ngunit tayong lahat ay ninakawan, di lamang ng yaman ng bayan, kundi ng isang lipunang alinsunod sa batas at malaya sa takot, gutom at pahihirap.
Tinakot, ginutom at ninakawan ni Marcos ang bayang PIlipinas sa ilalim ng Martial Law. Ito ang totoo.
Marcos is a plunderer, a murderer and a fake hero. No amount of state-sponsored revisionism will erase the fact that he is a dictator who was ousted by popular will, and died in ignominy and infamy as a villain.
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