Gutoc on lowering age of criminal liability: Punish adults who exploit children
MANILA, Philippines — Adults who exploit children should be held liable for their crimes instead of the children who were used for criminal activities.
This was the call on Sunday of youth protection advocate and peace builder Samira Gutoc to the government as the House Committee of Justice is set to finalize lowering the age of criminal liability to nine years old.
Gutoc also urged Congress to reject the proposal of lowering the age of criminal liability as it violates the right of the youth.
“I call on our legislators and representatives to nix these proposals that violate the right of our youth and further victimize our vulnerable children. This is a big mistake that runs counter to the best interest of our nation’s children. Rather than letting them rot in prison cells, let’s protect and nurture our children and the youth,” Gutoc, an opposition senatorial aspirant, said in a statement.
“I reject this legislative priority of the Duterte administration. This proposal is nothing but a sham and a scapegoat for the administration’s failure to strengthen the country’s justice system. Let’s punish adults who use and exploit children for criminal activities; not the exploited and abused children,” Gutoc added.
Gutoc also described the measures stated under the proposal as “the height of legislative irresponsibility.”
“These House bills are no different from the the administration’s brutal drug war where the leaders of big drug syndicates remain unscathed and free, while the small-time poor and powerless are punished and mercilessly killed,” she added.
Gutoc also said that “reformative justice” should be the guiding principle of lawmakers when it comes to criminal liability.
With this, she urged the government to strengthen the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Law or Republic Act 9344 to ensure the welfare of the youth.
“The government should work on continuously addressing the root causes of poverty which often push the youth to engage in criminal activities,” Gutoc said.
“Wala ka na ngang makain, wala ka nang makapitan, pagkatapos ang tugon sa iyo ng gobyerno ay itapon sa kulungan sa musmos na edad pa lamang? Paano pa magkakaroon ng pag-asa ang ating mga pag-asa ng bayan sa ganitong sistema?” Gutoc lamented. /je
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.