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ON BILL LOWERING AGE OF CRIMINAL RESPONSIBILITY

Roxas: Children used in crimes are victims, not criminals

By: - Reporter / @CMarquezINQ
/ 09:36 PM January 22, 2019
Mar Roxas, Manuel Roxas II

Former Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas II (Photo by CHRISTIA MARIE RAMOS / INQUIRER.net)

MANILA, Philippines — Children used in crimes are not criminals but victims, former Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas II said on Tuesday.

“Ang batang nagagamit ng sindikato ay biktima, hindi kriminal. Sa lipunan natin, kailangan maging 18 years old muna para makapagtrabaho, magpakasal, uminom, bumoto,” Roxas wrote on Twitter.

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[A child used by a syndicate is a victim, not a criminal. In our society, you have to be 18 years old to work, get married, drink, vote.]

Roxas was reacting to the passage in the House of Representatives of a bill lowering the age of liability from 15 to 9.

“Hindi ang mga bata ang dapat panagutin sa mga bagay na hindi nila kasalanan,” he said. “Unahin natin ang mga nagpapabaya at nagsasamantala — mula sa mga magulang, mga sindikato, hanggang sa gobyernong nagkukulang sa tungkulin nitong pangalagaan at bigyan ng kakayahan ang kanyang mga mamamayan.”

[It’s not the children who should be punished for things they are not responsible for. Let’s first go after those who neglected and exploited them — from the parents to the syndicates to the government that falls short in fulfilling its responsibility of caring and empowering its citizens.]

Under the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act — Republic Act No. 9344 or the Pangilinan Law — a child aged 15 or under is exempted from criminal liability and is only be subjected to an “intervention program.”

In the Senate, Minority Leader Franklin Drilon filed Senate Bill No.1603 aimed at lowering the minimum age of criminal liablity to 12 years old, while Senate President Vicente Sotto III filed Senate Bill No. 2026, aimed at lowering the age of criminal responsibility to “above 12 years old.” /atm

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TAGS: juvenile delinquents, lowering age of criminal liability, Manuel Roxas II, Mar Roxas, young offenders
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