What do taking 1st Communion and committing crime have in common?
(UPDATED) One congressman went as far as using the sacrament of Holy Communion to justify the House bill that seeks to lower the minimum age of criminal responsibility from 15 years old to 12.
Negros Oriental 3rd District Representative Arnolfo Teves Jr was among the 146 lawmakers who voted yes to the controversial House Bill 8858 on Monday, January 28. (READ: Highlights of House bill lowering criminal liability age to 12)
The congressman – who once admitted to his colleagues that he was a former drug addict – said there is a "double standard" because critics of HB 8858 are saying children at age 9 do not have discernment, yet it is also around this time that kids have their First Communion. (READ: [EDITORIAL] #AnimatED: Sagipin natin ang mga bata)
Teves argued children at that age supposedly have discernment over their decisions because the Church already allows them to partake of the sacrament.
“Majority of Filipinos are Catholics. Ang tanong ko ngayon: ilang taon pinapa-First Communion ang isang Katoliko? If I remember right, it’s between the ages of 8 and 9. Bago mag-First Communion ang bata, ang nakalagay sa Wikipedia – at tingnan mo ang history – you are already at the age of reason when you are asked to take First Communion,” said Teves.
(Majority of Filipinos are Catholics. My question now is: at what age are Catholics allowed to take their First Communion? If I remember right, it's between the ages of 8 and 9. Before a child takes his or her First Communion, Wikipedia says – and you can check the history – that you are already at the age of reason when you are asked to take First Communion.)
"Kung sa First Communion, may discernment, may rason. Kung sa criminal responsibility, wala pang discernment. Which is which now? I’d like to float that question,” he added.
(In First Communion, there is discernment, there is reason. Then for criminal responsibility, there's no discernment. Which is which now? I'd like to float that question.)
It’s not the first time Teves picked quite an interesting argument to defend lowering the age of criminal liability.
He recently confessed that he used to be in a syndicate and directed children to peddle drugs for him.
“Siyempre kasama rin tayo sa sindikato dati. Ang ginagawa, halimbawa sa isang lugar, 'yong ginagawa naming kuta ng droga, kapag may parating na pulis, bata ang ginagamit. 'Pag may bibili, bata ang tatanggap ng pera, bata rin ang magde-deliver ng shabu,” said Teves.
(I used to be in a syndicate. What we used to do, for example in a place, was whenever the police were about to arrive at our den, we used children. Whenever there was a buyer, a child would accept the money and deliver the shabu too.)
Teves said this experience he had when he was a teenager made him believe that lowering the criminal liability age would deter other syndicates from exploiting children.
Studies have shown, however, that lowering the criminal liability age will not deter crimes. It has long been established scientifically as well that, at age 9, the brains of children are not fully developed yet. (READ: [ANALYSIS] Why jailing kids is not just cruel, it’s stupid too)
Perhaps the congressman needs to review not just his psychology books, but the true meaning of the 7 Holy Sacraments too. – Rappler.com
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