Mayor Lim, Manila judges favor criminal liability for minors
MANILA, Philippines—Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim and the city’s family court judges are in agreement: juvenile offenders should be brought to justice.
Lim has expressed his support for moves in the Senate calling for the lowering of the age for criminal liability from 15 to nine years.
Lim noted that criminal syndicates, especially those dealing in drugs and robbery, were taking advantage of juvenile laws by using children to carry out their dirty deeds.
“There are a lot of teenagers and younger children involved in serious crimes and are being used by syndicates,” Lim said, adding that syndicates have been using the law that removed the criminal liability of minor offenders under 15.
Lim said in a statement that releasing the juvenile delinquents without penalties would only encourage them to become criminals as they grow up.
“There must be a second appraisal of how the laws should apply. Is it helpful or is it bad for society?” the mayor added.
The six judges of Manila Regional Trial Courts’ family courts expressed their agreement in a meeting with Lim last week.
Manila RTC Branch 48 judge Silverio Castillo said that all six of them would be drafting a resolution expressing their sentiment, which would be sent to Congress.
The Senate is currently studying bills seeking to amend the Juvenile Justice Act to lower the age of criminal liability.
Manila social welfare and development chief Jay de la Fuente has also sent letters to at least two senators since January expressing Lim’s stand.
“Children nowadays are more advanced in their ability to fully understand their acts. Their environment and [current] technology have a material effect on the moral and intellectual growth of the youth,” De la Fuente said.
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