MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The House committee on justice overwhelmingly approved the bill that would lower the minimum age of criminal responsibility from 15 years old to 9 years old.
No nominal voting happened on Monday, January 21.
Instead, then-deputy speaker and now Majority Leader Fredenil Castro first moved to approve the substitute bill. Gabriela Representative Arlene Brosas and Antonio Tinio of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers tried to object to the vote. But justice panel chairperson Salvador Leachon explained they do not have the power to do so, as they are not official members of the committee.
Leachon then repeated Castro’s motion. When no other committee member objected, Leachon approved the bill. (READ: In lowering criminal liability age, ‘Congress becoming a bully’ – lawmakers)
Agusan del Norte 1st District Representative Lawrence Fortun then spoke up and said he is voting against the bill.
The other lawmakers present – who are either justice panel members or ex-officio members – did not oppose Castro’s motion, which means they supported the bill.
Agri Representative Orestes Salon later withdrew his vote, but only after the hearing was adjourned.
Including Fortun, a total of 25 legislators registered their vote for the bill. Only 6 of them are justice panel members, while the rest are ex-officio members. Ranking members of the House – the Speaker, majority and minority leaders, and their deputies – automatically become members of other committees.
Here is the list of House committee on justice members and ex-officio members present during the hearing, and how they voted:
- Lawrence Fortun, Agusan del Norte 1st District
- Orestes Salon, Agri
Justice committee members:
- Salvador Leachon, Oriental Mindoro 1st District and committee chairperson
- Romeo Acop, Antipolo City 2nd District
- Xavier Jesus Romualdo, Camiguin
- Federico Sandoval, Malabon City
- Jerry Treñas, Iloilo City
- Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, Pampanga 2nd District
- Rolando Andaya Jr, Camarines Sur 1st District and majority leader at the time of voting
- Frederick Abueg, Palawan 2nd District and deputy speaker
- Fredenil Castro, Capiz 2nd District and deputy speaker at the time of voting
- Evelina Escudero, Sorsogon 1st District and deputy speaker
- Mylene Garcia Albano, Davao City 2nd District and deputy speaker
- Sharon Garin, AAMBIS-OWA and deputy speaker
- Ferdinand Hernandez, South Cotabato 2nd District and deputy speaker
- Linabelle Ruth Villarica, Bulacan 4th District and deputy speaker
- Arthur Defensor, Iloilo 3rd District and deputy majority leader
- Alexandria Gonzales, Mandaluyong City and deputy majority leader
- Ann Hofer, Zamboanga Sibugay 2nd District and deputy majority leader
- Vini Ortega, Abono and deputy majority leader
- Wilter Wee Palma, Zamboanga Sibugay 1st District and deputy majority leader
- Harlin Neil Abayon, Aangat Tayo and deputy minority leader
- Luis Campos Jr, Makati City 2nd District and deputy minority leader
- Joseph Stephen Paduano, Abang Lingkod and deputy minority leader
- Yedda Romualdez, Leyte 1st District and committee on accounts chairperson