- The House of Representatives approved to lower the age of criminal liability to 9
- Some senators totally disagreed with the proposed law
- However, others are keeping an open mind regarding this
The House of Representatives approved the bill seeking to lower the age of criminal responsibility to 9 years old on Monday. KAMI learned that the senators are divided on this proposed law.
As reported by ABS-CBN News, House Bill No. 505 aims to lower the age of criminal liability to 9 from 15 years old. The bill was filed by Tarlac 2nd District Rep. Victor Yap.
Justice Committee Chair Doy Leachon said that there will be no imprisonment. Instead, there will be mandatory confinement for those found guilty of committing crimes from age 15 and below.
"There’s no imprisonment. There is only mandatory confinement if the age of the child who committed the offense would be 9 years old and below 15 years old and committed serious offenses which are exclusive such as murder parricide, infanticide, serious illegal detention, carnapping and violation of the dangerous drug,” Leachon said.
“Let it be understood that with the present bill, we are not putting these children in jail but in reformative institutions to correct their ways and bring them back to the community," he added.
However, the Senators are divided about this House Bill.
Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III said that criminal responsibility for 9-year-olds are “too much”, according to a report by GMA News. He said that if ever it worsens, he will agree with 11 for age of criminal liability. Sotto also filed a bill in the Senate to lower the age of criminal responsibility to 13.
Senator Risa Hontiveros said that instead of going after children as young as 9, the administration must be looking after big-time drug dealers, smugglers, and plunderers as reported by Inquirer.
“Instead of going after children, this government can make a real difference by getting tough on big-time drug lords, smugglers and plunderers like Peter Lim, the pork barrel lawmakers and the Marcoses,” Sen. Hontiveros said.
Senator Nancy Binay did not also agree with the proposed law and shared her personal side to support her opinion.
“As a mother of 9-year old twins, alam ko na sa ganitong edad wala pa silang tamang kakayahan to decide kung ano ang tama at mali,” Sen. Binay said as reported by Inquirer.
“Even though we are serious in stopping juvenile crime, lowering the age of criminal responsibility may not be the best way to save children who may have gone astray,” she added.
However, Senators Franklin Drilon and Richard Gordon are keeping their minds open regarding this bill.
“Quite frankly, I don’t see any reason why it can’t be nine but my wife says wag naman.I discussed it with my chidlren, wag naman. Different ages have different interpretation so I’m keeping an open- mind,” Sen. Gordon said.
Sen. Drilon said that he is willing to attend debates regarding the proposed law and know more about it.
“I’m open because I haven’t had the opportunity to participate in this debate as I was not in the Senate when this law was passed,” Sen. Drilon stated.
The Senate will start conducting hearing bills to lower the age of criminal of responsibility from 15 to 12-years-old on January 22.
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