Gordon to recommend 12 as minimum criminal liability age

MANILA — Senator Richard Gordon on Friday maintained his stance to peg the age threshold of criminal responsibility at 12 years old.

Gordon, chairman of the Senate justice committee, said that while his position may eventually differ in a few years’ time, he is currently keen on lowering the criminal liability age to 12 years old from the current 15 years old.

“I am for 12 years old and let the heavens fall where they may. It is just a number as far as I am concerned,” he said during the panel’s hearing on bills lowering the minimum age of criminal responsibility.

He, however, stressed that the lapses in the implementation of the Juvenile Justice Law must be addressed.

“The proof of the pudding is in the implementation,” he said.

The Senate leadership is eyeing the passage of the bill before the 17th Congress ends in June.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III earlier said the bill would undergo tight scrutiny and intensive debates in the upper chamber.

Sotto, author of the bill proposing to lower the age of criminality to 12 years old, cited the need to offer “timely solutions” amid the number of crimes being committed by minors.

“The prevailing juvenile justice law did not result in bringing down the number of crimes committed by minors, many of which were violent in nature. This is the sad reality and one that we cannot afford to just accept or turn a blind eye to,” Sotto said.

“Just like any other bill in the Senate, this proposal will be debated, scrutinized and the views of both those against and in favor will be taken into consideration,” he added.

On Wednesday, the House of Representatives approved a bill lowering the age of “social” responsibility from 15 years to 12 years old, amending Republic Act No. 9344 or the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006.

The bill was actually an amended version of the original proposal submitted by the House committee on justice, which initially pegged the minimum age of criminal responsibility to nine years old. Filane Cervantes/PNA – northboundasia.com