De Lima: Supporters of lowered age of criminal responsibility are heartless monsters
MANILA, Philippines – Detained Senator Leila de Lima tagged as ‘heartless monsters’ those who are in favor of lowering the minimum age of criminal liability from 15 years old to nine.
“Children are not criminals. They’re victims too! Hindi dapat sila pinagdidiskitahan kundi yung mga big time druglords and syndicates!” De Lima said before she attended a pre-trial hearing Wednesday morning at Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court Branch 205 on the illegal drug trade charges against her.
(They should pounce on big-time drug lords and syndicates.)
“Nasaan ang konsensya nila? Heartless monsters!” she added.
(Where is their conscience?)
Her statement came amid debates over a proposed law seeking to lower the minimum age of criminal liability from 15 to nine years old.
The still unnumbered consolidated House bill was quickly and unanimously approved by the House Justice Committee on Monday.
Meanwhile, in a dispatch from Camp Crame issued on Tuesday, the opposition senator noted that no evidence linked children to the crime rate increase in the country.
“There is no study that lowering MACR (minimum age of criminal responsibility) will deter syndicates and adult offenders from preying on children and using them to commit crimes,” she said.
“Worse, the current proposals do not address the root causes of juvenile delinquency: poverty and exploitation by adult criminals,” she added.
De Lima urged the government to prioritize “policies and programs that will help poor families” instead.
“Trabahong disente, sahod na sapat, pagkaing angkop, at maaasahang edukasyon, tulong medikal at iba pang serbisyong panlipunan gaya ng 4Ps (Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program).” she said.
(Decent jobs, good pay, right food and education, medical assistance and other social services like the 4Ps)
She stressed that children in conflict with the law are victims and not criminals.
“Lowering the minimum age of criminal responsibility will not end the incidence and cycle of crime; it will aggravate the situation,” De Lima said.
“It will drive our hapless children to further exploitation by adult offenders, and push them to more anti-social behavior,” she added. /gsg
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