MANILA, Philippines – Netizens blasted proponents and supporters of a bill seeking to lower the age of criminal liability to 9 years old, saying they should channel their efforts to putting “old plunderers” and adult criminals in jail.
On Monday, January 21, the House committee on justice approved the bill seeking to amend Republic Act No. 10630, which amended the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006 in 2013.
RA 10630 sets the minimum age of criminal liability at 15 but children as young as 12 can be detained in youth care facilities or Bahay Pagasa for serious crimes such as rape, murder, and homicide. (READ: Arroyo supports lowering age of criminal liability to 9 years old)
Child welfare advocates have slammed the House committee approval as “an act of violence against children.” (READ: #ChildrenNotCriminals: Rights groups slam bill lowering age of criminal liability)
Many netizens said lawmakers should prioritize jailing corrupt government officials. Some referred to the cases of former First Lady Imelda Marcos, who was convicted of graft but remained free because of her advanced age, former senator Juan Ponce Enrile who was granted bail despite his plunder case for the same reason, and former senator Bong Revilla who had been acquitted of plunder in connection with the pork barrel scam.
if you're lowering the age of criminal responsibility to lower crime rates in the nation, then you are barking at the wrong tree— Chesca Persia (@chescapersia) January 21, 2019
imprison you fellow lawmakers who commit corruption, graft, and murder etc. this government is trash #ChildrenNotCriminals
We live in a country where lawmakers are planning to lower the criminal liability age to 9 years old while the likes of Bong Revilla (52), Imelda Marcos (89 y.o) and the ageless Juan Ponce Enrile are as free as birds after stealing millions if not billions from the public.— Jayvee B.Tagaytay (@Jayspot1993) January 21, 2019
Twitter user @highreaching also asked if there were enough child-caring institutions available to accommodate children who will be detained.
Kating-kati 'tong mga tangang 'to na ibaba ang age of criminal liability to nine years old, pero pustahan tayo hindi nila alam kung ilang presinto sa NCR at/o sa Pilipinas, ang walang matinong women's desk, let alone a separate facility for minors apprehended by the police.— Safe, Dumbfoundead (@highreaching) January 21, 2019
Child Rights Network already debunked the argument of Oriental Mindoro 1st District Representative Salvador Leachon that the bill seeks to put children in reformative institutions. According to CRN, the lack of child-caring institutions in the Philippines essentially puts children at risk of also being detained in crowded adult detention centers. (READ: Lower criminal age of responsibility? Fully implement Juvenile Justice law first)
Below are some of the netizens’ reactions on the move to lower the age of criminal responsibility:
President Rodrigo Duterte has repeatedly criticized Senator Francis Pangilinan for authoring Republic Act 9344 Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006 which, he alleged, had created a “generation of criminals.” In his speeches, however, Duterte sought amendments to the law that were already in place since 2013, or detaining children 12 years old and above for serious crimes.
Senate President Vicente Sotto III earlier promised to prioritize discussing the two pending Senate bills lowering the minimum age of criminal responsibility to 12, while Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who signed RA 9344 when she was president, vowed to support the administration measure. – Rappler.com