Last week, Marijuana.com reported that a Philippines Senator had introduced a bill to legalize medical marijuana and other illicit substances in the Southeast Asian country. The bill, presented by Senator Risa Hontiveros, was submitted in an effort to curb the brutal drug war that has been in place since President Duterte took office in 2016 — a war which has claimed almost 8,000 lives in a literal shootout on the streets of Manila.
Unfortunately, the President has other ideas with a bill of his own. If adopted, Duterte’s proposed legislation would lower the age of criminal responsibility to include children as young as nine. The bill states that it’s necessary to avoid “the pampering of youthful offenders who commit crimes knowing they can get away with it.”
This disturbing twist in an already overly-violent horror show could be a reality by June if the Philippines Congress provides its support.
Meanwhile, the extra-judicial killing of potential drug dealers and users continues with police blaming most of the deaths on vigilantes. These vigilantes have received full support for the murders from their country’s leader.
Fredenil Castro is the house representative who co-authored the bill. In an interview with Reuters, he stated that lowering the age of criminality was necessary due to the fact that many children are “in cahoots” with drug users and dealers.
Duterte and his supporters believe that making children responsible for their actions will discourage drug dealers and traffickers from exploiting local children.
It should be noted that Duterte has received extreme criticism and condemnation from the international community over his actions throughout this rampage. The President’s response was to suggest that the Philippines will simply leave the United Nations if they continue to comment on his actions.
As the world watches in disgust, citizens openly kill each other in the Philippines with the excuse that it’s okay, because the President told them to. Soon, children as young as nine could be fair game in a battle with no winner.