MANILA, Philippines -- A bill lowering the minimum age of criminal liability of a child offender from 15 to 10 years of age has been filed at the House of Representatives.
Baguio Representative Mauricio Domogan said he filed House Bill 3370, which seeks to amend Republic Act 9344 known as ?the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006,? to prevent exploitation of teenage offenders aged 10 to 14 by criminals and/or terrorists.
?Exempting the age brackets of 10-14 from criminal liability could be used by unscrupulous minds to justify the offender?s criminal acts and thus become his grounds and defense, which would be unfair to innocent victims,? Domogan said in a statement on Monday.
He also pointed out that moral law demanded moral responsibility on children, who have reached the age of reason, which would normally be 7 years old.
?There is a disparity of age or liability based with the limitation to age 15 set by the civil law of our country,? he said.
?At least for the civil law to lower such liability age to 10 would come close to the moral liability age of 7 considering the fact that civil law is generally an expression of the higher, which is the moral law,? Domogan said.
Domogan also believes that the present minimum age of 15 for criminal liability is no longer in accord with today?s reality.
?In these times, children aged 10 to 14 or even as low as 9 years, most often are highly informed and usually know what they are doing and n are much aware of the consequences of their actions,? he said.
Domogan said that modern communications like radio, television, and even Internet coverage on almost every subject mater, including violence, rapes, robberies and criminal incidents, have massive influence on the public, especially kids.
Such influences, Domogan said, have given these children enough knowledge to make them freely and advertently do criminal acts against society.