Congressman: Lowering criminal age meant to 'provoke' parents to care for kids
MANILA - A bill lowering the age of criminal responsibility was filed not to please President Rodrigo Duterte, but to urge government, the Church, and parents to look after children, the measure's proponent said Wednesday.
House Majority Leader Fredenil Castro, one of the principal authors of the bill lowering the criminal age of liability to 9 years old, said the measure would "provoke" institutions to do their jobs.
"If we revert back to 9-years-old, it will call the attention and provoke a more aggressive care of the parent to really care for the children," Castro said in an interview on ANC's Early Edition.
"The intention is not to punish the child but to reform him, to make him a more useful and responsible citizen of our country," he said.
Castro said the criminal age of liability must also be lowered as children are now exposed to technology that tends to teach them to be "more anomalous" and "more malicious."
"The situation before and today is different. Technology before and today is different," he said.
"Nandiyan sa cellphone, sa mga binabasa ng mga bata araw-araw, mga naririnig nila sa paligid, sa mga kaibigan, kapitbahay, sa radio, nakikita nila sa mga sine at telebisyon. Ang mga bata ngayon ay mas magagaling, mas mapag-isip, mas maanomalya at mas malisyoso," he said.
The lawmaker said there was nothing unlawful about reverting the age of criminal liability to 9 years old, even if the Constitution guarantees the protection of children from "all forms of neglect, abuse, cruelty, exploitation, and other conditions prejudicial to their development."
"It does not prevent the state from devising its own ways, its own means in order to protect the children of this country," he said.
"From 1935 up to the time RA 9344 was passed, wala kang makikita na kahit ano man sa desisyon ng Korte Suprema na tinutuligsa ang edad ng bata na above 9, but below 15 with discernment," he said.
ANC, January 23, 2019