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PALACE SAYS

Duterte unmoved by 55% of Pinoys rejecting lower age of criminal liability


President Rodrigo Duterte is unmoved by the latest Pulse Asia Survey showing 55 percent of Filipinos being in favor of keeping the minimum age of criminal liability (MACL) at 15, according to Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella.

In a statement on Saturday, Abella said lowering the age of criminal liability was part of Duterte's legislative agenda as a means for youth to "accept responsibility for their actions and be subjected to government intervention programs."

"It will also protect them from being utilized by criminal elements as frontline perpetrators of criminal acts," Abella added.

Abella said the survey showed that Filipinos lack the information to comprehend Duterte's stand on the issue and the rational behind lowering the MACL to a pre-pubescent age.

"What the survey shows is that there is still a lot of work to be done, especially in explaining to Filipinos, on the rationale behind lowering the minimum age of criminal liability," Abella said.

Poll results showed that 55 percent of 1,200 adult respondents believe the MACL should remain at 15; 20 percent think the lowest age for MACL should be 12; and nine percent agreed to lower the age to nine.

Most respondents from Luzon, 63 percent, are in favor of keeping the current MACL, compared to those from Metro Manila and Visayas, with 45 and 47 percent, respectively.

Duterte's allies have previously expressed the administration's lack of compromise in the lowering of the MACL.

House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez said they would maintain their position on prosecuting erring nine-year-olds in spite of calls from lawmakers asking to raise the age to 12 instead. — Rie Takumi/MDM, GMA News

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