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Robredo opposes lowering the age of criminal liability from 15 to 9 years old

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It’s okay the way things are with the present age criminal accountability. This was the opinion VP Leni Robredo gave about the issue on whether to lower the age of criminal accountability from 15 to 9 years old.

She was firm about going against any move to lower the age limit. “Kokontra ako kapag merong moves na babaan ito (I will oppose moves to lower it),” she said a day after the 17th Congress commenced—and after House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez urged the passage of three bills which comprised the priority measures of the PDP Laban and the Duterte administration.

The other priorities are federalism and re-imposing the death penalty.

Robredo explained her position: “Isa ako doon sa mga sumulong ng Juvenile Justice Law (I was one of those who militated for the Juvenile Justice Law) and I think (the) criminal liability under the law is sufficient.”

She assured that the current age for crime accountability was thoroughly deliberated on in Congress before its passage into a law.

Having been one of those who supported the passage of the bill, she felt obligated to stand by it. Besides, she found no cause to further lower the age when a child can be liable to be answerable for a committed crime.

“Pinag-isipan ito nang matagal. Hindi naman ito something na ipinili lang natin randomly out of the numbers. Maraming dahilan kung bakit ito ‘yung age of criminal liability, (This was studied a long time. This was not something randomly chosen out of many. There are many valid reasons why this age limit was decided on)”,   Robredo said.

Alvarez and Rep. Fredenil Castro of Capiz filed House Bill 002 seeking to return the minimum age of criminal accountability to nine years old. They claim that doing this will be a deterrent against using minors in crime by criminal syndicates. The lawmakers believe that kids 9 years old and above are “already fully informed” about the crimes they are to engage in, because of information technology.

But Robredo found this alarming especially when there are moves to re-impose the death penalty.

“Nakakatakot ‘yung sitwasyon, na halimbawa ibalik ‘yung death penalty, tapos i-lower pa ‘yung age of criminal liability. Nakakatakot na meron tayong mga bata na ise-sentence to death (It’s a scary situation—the death penalty and lowering the age of criminal accountability working together. It’s terrifying to have kids sentenced to death),” Robredo said alarmingly.

Robredo is also openly against the revival of the death penalty, and she was confident the Duterte administration would respect her opinion.

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UNICEF emphasizes detrimental effect on kids

According to the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), lowering the age of criminal liability will have ill-effects on the well-being of the kids as it “goes against the best interests of the child and threatens the well-being of the most vulnerable children.”

“An effective juvenile justice system puts the rights and welfare of the child at its heart. It seeks to understand how a child develops and tackles the underlying reasons why they commit crimes. It recognizes the detrimental effects of incarceration on children,” UNICEF said in a statement released on Monday, found here.

UNICEF also noted how research shows that brain function only reaches maturity at around 16 years old, although kids exposed to violence and dysfunctional families usually deal with ‘toxic stress that ruins their brain’s architecture.

Its statement also brought the focus to the harms of putting kids in jail, including damage to their overall development and the increased risk of repeat offense due to the stigma of being tagged as criminals.

UNCEF called on to treat children with a “sense of dignity and self-worth” and for the Philippines to “create an environment where the youth will acquire non-criminal attitudes.”

The organization reminded the government of being a signatory to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, even providing this link.

UNICEF also noted how much progress the Philippines has done where juvenile justice and welfare system is concerned since the signing of the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act a decade ago.

UNICEF warned about how penalizing the children is actually neglecting their rights and welfare.

“If children who have been exploited by criminal syndicates are penalized instead of the adults who had abused them, we fail to uphold the rights and well-being of children. If we fail to understand the underlying reasons why they commit crimes, we fail children,” UNICEF said.

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Netizens slam Duterte for saying women ‘could not stand threats and intimidation’

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President Rodrigo Duterte drew flak for another controversial comment involving women after he remarked on May 24 that women “could not stand threats and intimidation.”

Duterte said that while he believed in women’s competence, it does not necessarily ring true in all aspects of life.

“I believe in the woman, the competence and capability, pero hindi lahat sa buhay dapat.Hindi ka, hindi, hindi. Dapat lang. It’s not appropriate when you cannot stand threats and intimidation,” he said in his May 24 speech.

He also said that women should be “prim and proper” and talked about his reservation in sending women police and soldiers to the field because unlike men, they did not grow up with a mindset that involves violence.

“Ang mga babae, sundalo pati pulis, ayaw ko ‘yan sa bukid. Unlike men kami, maliit pa lang, suntukan, bakbakan, barilan. And we grew up with a sort of a mindset na sometimes prone to violence. Itong mga babae, prim and proper man ‘yan, isang tingin lang sa nanay niyan, wala na tunaw na ‘yan. Tapos gawin mong pulis, ipaaway mo doon. Naku,” Duterte remarked.

Netizens then took to social media to react to Duterte’s most recent statements, making #BabaeAko trend again on Twitter.

“Mr. President, you just horrifyingly disrespected your own mother who bravely fought against the Marcos dictatorship. She withstood threats and intimidation. Siya ay babae! #BabaeAko,” a Twitter user remarked.

Forensic expert Dr. Raquel Fortun spoke out, too, saying “I am threatened and intimidated a lot. All my life. Don’t me. #BabaeAko.”

So did film and theater actress Chai Fonacier, who said, “Encouraging women — and I mean including those who identify as women — and our friends from the entire spectrum to share your #BabaeAko statements to fight the misogyny that the President and his ilk normalize through their behavior. Make them remember the feminine strength.”

KABATAAN Partylist Rep. Sarah Elago also reacted, saying she refused to be stereotyped.

Former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay urged other Filipinos to protest against Duterte’s misogynistic statements.

Other Twitter users weighed in on the issue.

Duterte’s previous misogynistic remarks

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His remarks in his speech on May 24 seemed to have sought to explain another controversial remark he made on May 16 when he said that he did not want a politician, especially a woman, to become the next Ombudsman.

“Mag-nominate sila, pero I choose, but gusto ko ‘yung bilib ang tao sa integrity niya. Of course it could not be a politician, lalo na hindi babae,” he said during a chance interview.

This gave birth to the launching of the #BabaeAko movement on social media on May 21 by women activists and other people who also want to protest Duterte’s misogynistic and sexist statements.

One of  the women who joined the #BabaeAko campaign was former Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo who said, “Akala ko taumbayan ang boss ni Duterte. Yun pala sina Marcos, Gloria, Trump at China. Para sa bayang makatarungan at malaya, lalaban ako.”

In February, he was also slammed for telling his audience of former NPA rebels that he told his soldiers to shoot female rebels in the vagina.

Sources: ( rappler.comphilstar.com )

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New DOT chief to ask Montano why he rushed official New York engagement to watch Broadway show

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Newly installed Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said she plans on talking with Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) COO Cesar Montano to ask for his side on certain accusations that were hurled against him.

Among these accusations came from an Abante report where Montano was said to have rushed a speaking engagement staged by the DOT in New York to watch the Broadway musical show “Hamilton.”

DOT reportedly launched the Philippine Tourism Presentation and Dinner Reception on May 9 to showcase Philippine tourism and fashion at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York. Montano was introduced as the event’s keynote speaker, but he was said to have only spoken for a bit before hurriedly leaving the venue, disappointing the guests, which also included US officials.

Montano was said to have been invited to the event in behalf of the now-resigned Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo. He was also named as one of the two hosts, the other being Teo, of the said event.

In reaction to this report about Montano, Puyat said she would talk to Montano as well as the Tourism attache and other DOT officials who attended the event to verify the accusation in the report mentioned above.

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Puyat said that she would investigate into the “Buhay Carinderia” program that the TPB is set to implement. This was after Philippine Star Boo Chanco accused Montano of issuing P80-million worth of three checks to the event proponent and organizer.

“I still don’t have the papers. I will be asking [and] will be arranging a meeting with Mr. Cesar Montano to ask about ‘yung mga nabasa ko sa ‘Buhay Carinderia’ – kung totoo ba na walang bidding ‘yung P80 million na advance,” Puyat said on May 15.

“I’m planning to talk to him and ask his side. I want to ask all those who were there if it actually happened,” Puyat added.

In March 2017, TPB employees filed a complaint against Montano for his alleged corruption and mismanagement of the agency. These include hiring friends and relatives, using TPB’s funds for personal trips, and showing incompetence in fulfilling his obligations as the agency’s COO.

Sources: ( tnt.abante.com.phphilstar.comrappler.com )

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Eldest Tulfo vows to help Wanda clear her name, berates ‘black sheep’ Ben over controversial P60-M DOT ad deal

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Inquirer columnist Ramon Tulfo spoke up about the controversy involving his siblings, now resigned Tourism Secretary Wanda Tulfo-Teo and hosts Ben and Erwin Tulfo, over the P60 million tourism ad deal.

The eldest Tulfo wrote in his Inquirer column on May 10 that while President Rodrigo Duterte himself advised the Tulfo family to avoid talking to the media, he took it upon himself as the family’s acting patriarch to tell the story behind the controversy.

First up, Ramon blamed Teo for not hiring smart staff members who could have advised her against inking a deal with PTV 4, where one of the Tulfo brothers, Ben, was a blocktimer.

As a blocktimer, Ben pays for his TV show’s airtime on the state-run channel.

According to Ramon, Wanda was only complying with President Duterte’s injunction for his Cabinet secretaries to support PTV 4, adding that she did not know Ben’s company would get most of the multimillion advertising contract with DOT.

He also hit Ben, whom he called a “black sheep” with a “middle child” syndrome as the fifth child out of 10 siblings, for signing the P60-million advertising contract with PTV 4 despite knowing that there would be a conflict of interest on Wanda’s part.

Ramon also said that Wanda still tried to save Ben, who insisted on his innocence amid the controversy, leading her to resign from her post. He also explained that Wanda seemed to have forgotten the fact that her husband was on the board of director of the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (Tieza), a part of DOT, when Duterte appointed her as tourism chief. He added that it should have been up to her husband to step down from his post upon his wife’s appointment.

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In the same column, he also slammed Wanda’s lawyer, Ferdinand Topacio, whom he said did not even consult the Tulfo brothers on returning the P60-million funds from the ad deal. He also described the lawyer as “all talk,” a counsel who’s only focused on gaining publicity for himself.

Unlike what has been previously reported about Wanda resigning out of delicadeza amid the controversy, Ramon let it slip that he commended President Duterte for “sacking Wanda,” prompting some people to ask whether Wanda was fired instead of resigned.

Before he ended his column, he vowed to support “Wanda’s fight to clear her name, but not Ben’s.”
Wanda resigned on May 8 to show delicadeza and to spare everyone, especially Duterte, from the pain caused by the controversy, according to her lawyer.

The issue started with the Commission on Audit’s report showing the DOT paying P60 million worth of commercials to PTV 4, which in turn, tapped Ben’s Bitag Media Unlimited Inc. to air the tourism ads during Ben and Erwin’s show “Kilos Pronto.”

Malacañang said that Teo’s resignation does not mean that she is off the hook since the Ombudsman is still looking into her and other government officials involved in the controversial ad deal.

Sources: ( inquirer.netnews.abs-cbn.com , nnphilippines.com )

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