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BALONGLONG, Marf Crystal Hyacinth V.

DE CASTRO, Patrice Grace C.

IBARRETA, Ricci Jazelle A.
QUANICO, Anna Katrina G.

Topic: Lowering the Age of Criminal Liability in the Philippines

Poverty as a person could be languishing in jail in perpetuity: It has been

blamed for many social ills. One such ills is why many children commit crimes.
However, the real challenge, according to advocates and pundits, lies in the failure
of the State to properly deal with the so-called children in conflict with the law
(CICL) (San Juan & Mayuga, 2016)1.

In the year 2006, Senator Kiko Pangilinan co-sponsored Republic Act 9344,
also known as “Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006” (JJW). This law
provides that juveniles aged 15 years old and below are exempted from criminal
liability, but does not exempt them from civil liability. Republic Act 9344 was
amended by Republic Act 10630 which provides for juvenile-delinquency
prevention and intervention programs, as well as diversion programs. The law also
seeks to strengthen the rehabilitation, reintegration and aftercare programs focused
on CICL.

San Juan, J. R., & Mayuga, J. L. (2016). Retrieved September 3, 2018, from
In a study cited by Sanchez (2016), the most common criminal charges
against CICL in our country involve crimes against property, followed by crimes
against persons, violation of ordinances, special laws and drug-related offences
(Save the Children, 2002). There are roughly 28 children who get arrested every
day, or more than one child every hour (Dela Cruz, 2003) 2. Many of these juvenile
delinquents, or CICL, did petty or heinous crimes on the grounds of poverty and
society filled with chaos. Knowing some of their horrible situations and
conditions, it is anticipated that many of these children are breaking the law
(Hartjen, 2008)3. According to Senator Francis Escudero, the legislator leading the
move for this amendment, “the times have rendered the law impotent to address
objective realities and needs" as children nowadays mature more quickly than
previous generations due to increased exposure to the Internet and social media
platforms (Adriano, 2011)4. To further support the amendment of the JJW some
countries like Ireland, Switzerland, England and Wales, and Northern Ireland
penalizes their children of 10 years of age as seen in the provisions of their
criminal codes. In the study of the effects of the presence of criminal behavior in
children aged 8-10, concluded that crimes committed by offenders aged 21 or later
can be predicted from childhood (Zara & Farrington, 2009)5. In incorporating this
study with the current state of the Philippines, it is reasonable for us to lower the

Sanchez, N. K. (2016). The Philippines: Ensuring Inclusion to Community Responses to Youth Justice. In
Cultural Perspectives on Youth Justice: Connecting Theory, Policy and International Practice(pp. 161-
168). Springer.
Hartjen, C. A. (2008). Youth, crime, and justice: A global inquiry. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University

Adriano, J. D. (2011, October 15). Asia Times Online :: Southeast Asia news and business from
Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam. Retrieved September 3, 2018, from
Zara, G., & Farrington, D. P. (2009). Childhood and adolescent predictors of late onset criminal careers.
Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 38(3), 287-300.
criminal liability. It will not only help the children but also it will lessen adult
criminal offenders.

Based on the facts stated above we are of the position that lowering the age
of criminal liability would protect the youth from being used by criminals "as
frontline perpetrators of criminal acts."