With the increasing number of crimes involving teenagers, there is a constant call to lower the age of criminal liability from 15 to 9.
Vice president Leonor Robredo aired her side opposing the move, saying the current law is already sufficient. This means Robredo don’t want teenagers below 15 years old to be held responsible for their crimes, despite of call for action by the victims.
The Philippine National Police last July alone recorded 12 incidents of juvenile crimes involving teenagers aging below 15, with as young as 9 years old committing homicide.
“Ako, kontra ako doon. Isa ako doon sa mga sumulong ng Juvenile Justice Law and I think ‘yung criminal liability under the law is sufficient,” Robredo said.
[“I’ am against that (lowering criminal liability). I was one of those who pushed Juvenile Justice Law and I think the criminal liability under the law is sufficient.”]
“Kokontra ako kapag merong moves na babaan ito (I will contradict if there will be a move to lower it),” she added.
Robredo made the statement the day after the opening of the 17th Congress after the new House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez called on the passage of three top priority measures which includes the lowering of the age for criminal responsibility.
House Bill 002, which is filed by Alvarez alongside with Capiz Rep. Fredenil Castro, seeks to bring back the minimum age of criminal responsibility to nine years old, to limit the use of youth in committing crimes.
An article by Kristine Dela Cruz for DZRH News said that the lawmakers believe children at nine and up are “already fully informed” given their access to information through technology.
However, Robredo said the measure is alarming, especially when there is a possible return of death penalty.
“Nakakatakot ‘yung sitwasyon, na halimbawa ibalik ‘yung death penalty, tapos i-lower pa ‘yung age of criminal liability. Nakakatakot na meron tayong mga bata na ise-sentence to death,” she said.
[“The situation is frightening, given death penalty is back, then the age of criminal liability is lowered. It’s frightening that we will have children to sentence to death.”]
The Vice President reasoned out that the age currently set for criminal responsibility was deliberated on thoroughly. Robredo is also strongly against the proposed return of death penalty, and said she thinks it’s “something that the administration will respect.”
President Rodrigo Duterte vowed to go after all types of criminals regardless of race, age, gender, religion, when he assumed office on July 1. /Ian Cruz/
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