Congress to lower age of criminal liability


BY ROGER M. BALANZA

A bill has been proposed in the House of Representatives that seeks to  lower the age of criminal liability to 12 years old for children in conflict with the law (CICL).
House Bill 3815, or the Protection against Juvenile Criminal Exploitation Act pushed by Iloilo City Rep. Jerry Treñas would lower the age to twelve years old from 15 years old as mandated by Juvenile Welfare and Justice Act authored by Senator Francis Pangilinan.
In Davao City, Vice Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, a severe critic of the Pangilinan law, had long pushed for amendments to the juvenile act to lower down the age of criminal liability.
Duterte said the Pangilinan law should be blamed for the steep rise in youth hooliganism and juvenile crime.
“We live in dangerous times. Criminals are becoming younger, more cunning, and less concerned about the legal repercussions of their actions. Scoundrels of society have opted to take advantage of the youth,”Treñas said in his introduction to the proposed bill.
Under Republic Act 9344 or the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006, minors 15 years of age and below are exempted from criminal liability. The law only allows criminal punishment for minors above 15 to below 18 years of age if it is proven that they acted with discernment.
Under HB 3815, any person violating the provisions of the proposed statute, including minors aged 12 and above who acted with discernment, shall be criminally liable.

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