MANILA, Philippines – Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo urged Miss Universe Catriona Gray to study the bill lowering the age of criminal responsibility from 15 to 12 years old, saying her recent remarks about it may have been "misinformed."
"She should be educated on the – hindi, ibig sabihin ng educated, she may have been misinformed of the facts given that the opposition to the lowering comes from 'yung mga dating kritiko ng administration," said Panelo on Thursday, February 21.
(She should be educated on the – no, what I mean is, she may have been misinformed of the facts given that the opposition to the lowering comes from the critics of the administration.)
Gray had said on Wednesday, February 20, that the government's response to children who commit crimes must focus on the external factors that push them to commit such crimes, instead of on labeling them as criminals.
Panelo echoed pro-administration lawmakers by saying the bill on lowering the minimum age of criminal responsibility does not send minors to jail but to a Bahay Pag-asa for rehabilitation.
Lawmakers supportive of the bill said it seeks to protect minors from being used by criminal syndicates.
"'Let's focus on the problem'? We are precisely focusing on the problem," said Panelo.
"But I'm glad that she mentioned it. It only means she is also concerned which every Filipino citizen should have, a kind of concern," said Duterte's spokesman.
Panelo is an unabashed fan of Gray's and of Miss Universe pageants in general. He was quick to issue a Malacañang statement on Gray's victory and took photos of himself with her when she paid a courtesy call on President Rodrigo Duterte. – Rappler.com
Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.