Oro City Council wants age of criminal liability lowered

SOME members of the Cagayan de Oro City Council are jumping in the bandwagon, pushing for the lowering of the minimum age of criminal liability from 15 years old to 12 years old.

The City Council is urging the House of Representatives to revisit Republic Act (RA) 9344, otherwise known as the Juvenile Justice Welfare Act of 2006, to lower the criminal liability by three years.

The Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006 provides that young criminals aged 15 years old and below should not be imprisoned or punished even if they commit a heinous crime.

But City Councilor Reuben Daba thinks the prevailing age for criminal liability "does not work anymore in this society".

Daba said the internet and the digital platform have influenced the minds of the youth to commit heinous crimes.

"If you can observe in today's society, nagkabata ang mga criminals, so we can attribute this tungod sa loose na balaod. Magdala lang dayon ug papel ang parents sa bata proving that they are minors, then they will be freed and the other party never gets justice," Daba said.

Daba said the ‘prevalence’ of crimes committed by minors today indicate their changing psychological behavior.

"Ang 12 years old, they know already what's wrong and what is right," he added.

A measure in Congress which seeks to lower the minimum age of criminal responsibility to nine years old is pending, but Daba said, instead of 9 nine years old, it should be modified to 12 years old, "as this is the appropriate age which minors are said to begin having the capacity to understand things".

But Daba said the modification or lowering the age of criminal responsibility to 12 years old should only refer to heinous crimes and not to non-heinous crimes or misdemeanors, Daba clarified.

"To hold a nine-year-old liable for a crime is too much. Bata pa na sila, gadula pa nag bisan unsa na games sa dalan," he said.

Daba said the resolution is already approved by the Council and has been sent to the Congress.
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