MANILA - For Filipinos who agreed to jailing minors for certain crimes, the median age was 15 years old, based on two Social Weather Stations (SWS) surveys last year.
The two opinion polls, conducted nationwide in July and December last year, found that 63 percent of Filipinos agreed while 22 percent disagreed that minors should be jailed for rape.
Fifty-nine percent of the 1,500 respondents agreed with jailing minors for murder while 24 percent disagreed; 49 percent agreed to jailing minors who act as drug couriers, 35 percent disagreed.
“For these couriers, it is about half, less than half who said na dapat ikulong ito; half are thinking na, 'naku pinilit ‘yon, may bully sa neighborhood na pinipilit sila,” SWS President Mahar Mangahas said on Tuesday.
(For these couriers, it is about half, less than half who said na dapat ikulong ito; half are thinking na the minor might have been forced, a bully in the neighborhood forced him.)
For those who agreed to jailing minors, the median age was 15 years old, Mangahas said.
The survey was commissioned by the European Union and the Spanish government, and was presented on Tuesday at the Commission on Human Rights.
Lawmakers at the House of Representatives initially sought to lower the minimum age of criminal responsibility to 9 from the current 15, but the version approved on final reading set it at 12.
Those who disagreed that minors should be jailed instead want the Department of Social Welfare and Development to take custody of the young offenders, the SWS said.
CHR Commissioners Gwen Pimentel Gana, Karen Gomez Dumpit and Leah Tanodra Armamento said the SWS survey results support their strong opposition to the lowering of the minimum age of criminality currently pegged at 15 years old.
“We have faith in our legislators in the sense that they should listen to voice of the people,” Gana said.
“This is about second chances and we owe our children the best that we can give,” Dumpit said.