- Senator Risa Hontiveros said age of criminal liability should be made higher instead of lowering it to 12 or 9
- She cited latest research which indicates women mature at 22 and men at 25
- Hontiveros said present age of criminal liability at 15 “does not match” and is “a decade below.”
Akbayan Senator Risa Hontiveros said on Thursday that the age of criminal liability, currently 15 years old, should be made higher instead of lowering it to 12 or 9 as initially proposed.
The Philippine Star quoted her saying, “There is no sense debating and choosing whether the minimum age of criminal responsibility should be pegged at 12 or 9 years old. There is really no difference.”
Hontiveros cited, as posted on the GMA News website, a latest research saying women mature at the age of 22 while men at the age of 25; which she said suggests that the present age of criminal liability at 15 “does not match” and is “a decade below.”
She said some countries whose minimum age of criminal liability is lower than the Philippines are studying to make it higher.
“So huwag tayong paatras o paurong, dapat pasulong tayo.” [So let us not go backwards, we need to move forward.]
The Senator expressed her hope that her fellow lawmakers would advocate for the right and full implementation of Juvenile Justice Law.
“We have come to a point where, without concrete and well-researched data, government is deciding whether children at 9 or 12 years old should be treated like fully-functioning adults under the law.
“It is a travesty for a country whose Constitution speaks of the right of children to special protection from neglect, abuse, cruelty, exploitation and other conditions prejudicial to their development,” she said.
According to her, better and more thorough implementation of the provisions of the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act via rehabilitation and restoration of the youth is the solution to cases of children in conflict with the law.
“Instead of thinking about at what age children should be considered as criminals, we should instead focus our efforts on programs that will ensure that they will stay out of conflict with the law,” she said.
The House of Representatives, to note, approved on second reading a bill on lowering the age of criminal liability at 12 years old on Wednesday.