CBCP to solons: Rethink move to lower age of criminal responsibility
MANILA, Philippines – The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) on Monday appealed to lawmakers to do some “serious rethinking” on the controversial proposal to reduce the minimum age of criminal responsibility.
“We beg our country’s legislators to give the bills they are drafting some serious rethinking and consider the greater harm that such a move can cause on the young people of our country,” the CBCP said in its pastoral statement.
The CBCP argued that the “there is no way we can call ourselves a civilized society” if the public would hold the children in conflict with the law criminally liable.
The Church also noted that these children were raised in an abusive environment, and thus need to be rescued, and not jailed.
“Children who get involved in crimes, such as those who are used as runners by adult drug pushers, do not deserve to be treated as criminals; they are victims that need to be rescued.”
“It is obvious that most children in conflict with the law come from very poor families and were born and raised in an environment of abuse,” the Church added.
The House of Representatives earlier passed a bill lowering the minimum age of criminal responsibility from 15 to 9, and then revised it to 12. /gsg
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