Judge shuns lowering age of children in conflict with law

LOWERING the age of liability of Children in Conflict with the Law (CICL) will not guarantee the reduction of youth offenders, a Baguio City judge said.

Acting presiding Judge Mia Joy Cawed of Baguio City–Benguet Province Regional Trial Court Branch 61 said moves to lower age of liability to as low as five years old is not a solution.

“I am strongly against the lowering of the age. Even adults commit mistakes. They commit crimes and what more for a child. So maybe what we can do is to teach parents and other members of the family how to really live life wherein one can discern what is right and what is wrong,” Cawed said.

In a proposed law in 2019, a child above nine to 18 years old, when committing an offence, would be exempted from criminal liability and intervention unless they had acted with discernment, and will be subjected to appropriate proceedings.

The House of Representatives in 2019 moved to lower the minimum age of criminal responsibility in the Philippines from the current 15 to as young as 9 years old.

Senate President Tito Sotto also filed a bill lowering the minimum age to 12 years old.

“I think values will be of help, like skills would be of help. Lowering the age of criminal responsibility is not the solution. Anything that the child will do is going to be a possible infraction of the law and just to repeat,” Cawed added.

Cawed said the justice system for children, through the Juvenile Justice Law of 2006, must be fully and effectively implemented.


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