Poe nixes ‘kindergarten prisons’ in Philippines
MANILA, Philippines — Lowering the age of criminal liability to nine years old age was tantamount to creating “kindergarten prisons” in the country.
Senator Grace Poe said this on Tuesday as she reiterated her strong objection to any move to lower the age of criminal liability of minors from the current 15 years old.
Poe noted that as early as 2016, she already filed Senate Resolution 157, opposing any move to lower the minimum age of criminal responsibility (MACR) than what is stated in the current law.
“Our position remains unchanged,” she said in a text message to reporters.
“We reiterate that lowering the MACR is anti-poor, as most children in conflict with the law come from poor families and have no meaningful access to legal services.”
Poe stressed that holding children as young as nine-years-old criminally liable would not address the root causes of juvenile offenses.
If minors are indeed being used by syndicates, then she said law enforces should go after these syndicates victimizing the children.
“By lowering the age of criminality to nine, we will be creating kindergarten prisons, and instead of rehabilitating children, these will become finishing schools for young criminals, their impressionable minds tutored by the best in the trade,” Poe said.
“Throw these kids in a congested jail with adult criminals, and chances are they will emerge from prison and rejoin society not as reformed and skilled individuals but as bitter young men,” she further said.
Poe was just among the many senators who have either rejected or cold on a bill seeking to lower the age of criminal liability to nine years old.
The proposal was already approved Monday by the committee on justice at the House of Representatives.
The Senate, on the other hand, also began this Tuesday its deliberations on the same issue.
Senate President Vicente Sotto III has filed a bill aimed at reducing the age of criminal responsibility to 12 years old and above. /jpv
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