According to Malacañang, Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray has been misinformed about the bill which seeks to lower the minimum age of criminal responsibility from 15 years old to 12.
Last February 20 at the Novotel Hotel in Quezon City, Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray held a press conference.
During her interview with GMA News on lowering the minimum age of criminal responsibility, she pointed out that the government should focus first on the reasons why these children continue doing crimes; believing that the ages from 9 to 12 years old, children are not yet developed cognitively.
“I would rather that the efforts be refocused on why these children may be committing those crimes. Because working with kids, you know that when they’re that young–when they’re 11, 12, or nine years old–they’re not developed in that way, cognitively, to make decisions knowing full well the consequences,” Gray said in an interview with GMA News.
After Catriona spoke expressing her disagreement with the said bill, presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo also made a statement.
A day after the Filipina beauty queen’s press conference, Panelo said Gray should be educated about the bill but still agrees with her that the problem of the delinquent children should be addressed as well.
“She should be educated. She may have been misinformed of the facts given that the opposition to the lowering comes from yung mga dating kritiko ng administrasyon (old critics of the administration), “Yung sinasabi niya na focus on the problems, kasama yun eh (She’s saying that we should focus on the problems. That’s part of it). When you lower the criminal liability, kasama yun (that’s already part of it),” he said.
Panelo also clarified that what is stated in the law is that children in conflict will not be put in jail together with the adult criminals, but rather rehabilitated before sending them off to society.
“Sa batas nakalagay doon yung rehabilitation. Ang focus nga rehabilitation, eh (Rehabilitation is what is stated in the law. So the focus is rehabilitation). So you are solving precisely the problem why these people are engaged in crimes,” Panelo said.
He really emphasized to Catriona that the government is already focusing on the problem because the children will not be jailed but instead will be rehabilitated to know why they have committed crimes and in time they will be put back in society.
“Miss Universe hindi naman ikukulong. Ire-rehabilitate nga natin. Kaya tama ka doon (Miss Universe, they will not be jailed. We will rehabilitate them. So you are right when you said that), let’s focus on the problem. We are precisely focusing on the problem. Because the problem is they’re engaged in crimes, So what will we do? We will have to rehabilitate them. Learn why they have committed these crimes, and then put them back to society,” he continued.
Despite being misinformed, accordingly to the Palace, they much-admired Catriona for speaking out her opinion on the matter which shows the evidence that she is truly concerned with the children.
“But I’m glad she mentioned it. It only means that she’s also concerned, which every Filipino citizen should have been – with a kind of concern,” Panelo said.
It has been the passion of Miss Universe Catriona Gray to work with children, even before winning the Miss Universe pageant – as fighting for the rights of the children appears to be one of her advocacies.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana expressed that he is open to the possibility of having Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray as a military reservist in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
According to Lorenzana, he’ll try to talk to Gray and ask her if she’s interested in becoming a reservist.
“I’ll talk to her kung gusto niyang mag-reservist. Dapat Army siya ah, haha!”
— DZMM TeleRadyo (@DZMMTeleRadyo) December 20, 2018
He added that a visit from Gray to the military camps would also be welcomed.
“It would be honor to have her visit our camps.”
According to the AFP Reservist Act of 1991, reservists are assigned to provide the base for the expansion of the AFP in the event of war, invasion, or rebellion; to assist in relief and rescue during disaster or calamities; to assist in socioeconomic development; and to assist in the operation and maintenance of essential government or private utilities in the furtherance of the overall mission.