Bam warns vs lowering age of criminal liability
Sen. Bam Aquino on Wednesday expressed misgivings over the proposal of President-elect Rodrigo Duterte to lower the age of criminal liability, warning it would result in more criminals instead of reducing crime.
Amending the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act to lower the minimum age of criminal liability from 15 to 12 years old is one of the priorities of the Duterte administration, which has taken a tough stance against criminality.
The proposal stemmed from concerns that syndicates have been using children in their criminal activities because they could not be charged or imprisoned under the current law.
But Aquino said that considering 12-year-old children criminals would make them more likely to turn to a life of violating the law.
“With the current state of our justice system and the poor condition of our prisons and detention centers, placing a child with incarcerated criminals will likely encourage criminal leanings instead of rehabilitation,” he said in a statement.
Instead of making children face full criminal liability, the government should roll out reforms at its juvenile delinquency facilities, or penalize parents, he said.
The proposal to amend the juvenile justice law must be studied carefully, he added.
One of the incoming senators of the 17th Congress, Sen. Francis Pangilinan, is the author of the controversial law. Leila B. Salaverria
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