Minors and Criminal Liability

Despite the implementation of the Republic Act 9344 or Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006, minors caught-in-the-act doing not just petty crimes, illegal activities but also heinous acts as well continues to proliferate.

What is more alarming?  Children involved in violations of the law are getting younger and younger that they cannot be held liable for their offense in accordance with the prevailing Juvenile law.

Remember, Section 6 of Republic Act 9344, “ Minimum Age of Criminal Responsibility. – A child fifteen (15) years of age or under at the time of the commission of the offense shall be exempt from criminal liability. However, the child shall be subjected to an intervention program pursuant to Section 20 of this Act.

A child above fifteen (15) years but below eighteen (18) years of age shall likewise be exempt from criminal liability and be subjected to an intervention program, unless he/she has acted with discernment, in which case, such child shall be subjected to the appropriate proceedings in accordance with this Act.

The exemption from criminal liability herein established does not include exemption from civil liability, which shall be enforced in accordance with existing laws.”

But because of the increasing number of crimes by delinquent children, the criminal code committee of the Department of Justice, wanted to lessen the criminal responsibility minimum age to 12 years old, though child of this age will not be jailed.

On Monday, the draft will be presented to Congress. I believe it will be a topic of debate not just by our lawmakers but also of the rights group sector and parents as well.

As a mother, I believe that the parent have the major responsibility in teaching  their children what is right and wrong. It is the home that should help a child to live a good life and keep them away from jail.

The community on the other hand should serve as a safe haven for kids during their developmental years and the state should be always there to support the family and the community in raising decent and morally upright children.

What do you have in mind with this issue? Are you in favor of amending the Juvenile law?