Villar: Emerging consensus is to lower age of criminal liability to 13
MANILA, Philippines — From 15 years old, the emerging consensus is to lower the minimum age of criminal responsibility (MACR) to 13, Senator Cynthia Villar disclosed on Tuesday.
Villar claimed that based on her conversations with colleagues, many are inclined to support to lower the MACR to 13, instead of 12 years old.
At present, the age of criminal liability was pegged at 15 years old.
“E gusto daw nila 13 kasi teen. Ayaw nila ng bata, gusto nila teenager na. It’s just a consensus,” Villar said at a press briefing in the Senate.
The House of Representatives has already approved a bill seeking to lower the MACR to 12 years old.
In the Senate, the committee on justice chaired by Senator Richard Gordon is set to recommend to also lower the MACR to 12 years old.
To bring the issue before the plenary, majority of committee members must first sign the recommendation of the panel.
But Villar said committee members could still sign Gordon’s committee report even with reservations just to elevate the discussion to the plenary.
“I think kahit 12, acceptable sa iba,” Villar said. “Ang importante sa kanila yung rehabilitation center for the children kasi at least may pagdadalhan where they will be rehabilitated, hindi mahahawa sa hardened criminal.”
“Mas matanda, mas better,” she added.
Asked then why not just retain the present 15 years old ceiling, Villar cited some reports of parents abusing the existing law.
“Kasi ang tsismis, ‘yung mga magulang dala na ang birth certificate. Parang alam na alam nila na makakalusot,” the senator said.
The senator also cited as example a kid who allegedly robbed their office and later confessed that he was just asked by his father to steal.
“Nagnakaw siya dun, tapos nahuli siya. Tapos sabi niya, ‘E kasi utos ‘to ng tatay ko. Nandun siya baba, hinihintay ako,’” Villar said. /je
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