Criminalization ‘ruinous’ for children — LP
MANILA, Philippines – Criminalizing children as young as nine years old could be “ruinous” to the their future, the Liberal Party (LP) on Tuesday said as it opposed moves in Congress to lower the minimum age of criminal liability.
The political party issued the statement after the House of Representatives justice panel approved a bill seeking to lower the age of criminal liability from 15 to nine years old.
“At this young age, the child offender will already have a criminal record – a mark that he will carry when he returns to his family, when he goes back to school, when he finds employment and tries to turn over a new leaf,” the LP said in a statement.
“The cruel punishment that criminalization will have on them could be ruinous to their future — a point of no return,” they added.
LP also stood by several studies cited in the Republic Act 9344 or Juvenile Justice Welfare Act of 2006, which state that nine-year-old children do not have the same emotional, mental, or cognitive maturity as adults.
The group also expressed fear that the violation of the Dangerous Drugs Law, which is one of the offenses covered in the proposed measure, could be the “catch-all crime,” knowing how the Duterte administration handled its campaign against illegal drugs.
“We take note that among these offenses include the violation of the Dangerous Drugs Law, which we fear could be the catch-all crime, knowing how this administration has been carrying out its so-called war against illegal drugs,” the LP said.
Even more worrisome is the “inefficiencies” of the country’s judicial system, the LP said.
“Laws that permit youth under the age of 15 to enter the adult criminal justice system will be a departure from the genuine understanding of juvenile justice — to serve the best interests of the child,” it said.
“We call on our conscientious colleagues in Congress and support groups and individuals to be with us in fighting this bill,” LP added. /cbb
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.