Senatorial aspirant and former Quezon representative Lorenzo “Erin” Tañada III on Thursday questioned the undue focus on lowering the age of criminal responsibility by Congress.
The House of Representatives on Wednesday approved on second reading a bill on lowering the age of criminal responsibility to 12 years old (from its initial proposal setting it nine years old).
“Bakit po tayo magpo-focus sa two percent?” Tañada said in his interview on Dobol B sa News TV series "Ikaw Na Ba?" senatorial interviews.
“Kung titingnan natin kung ilang krimen ang ginagawa ng minors ayon sa datos ng pulis, out of 100 crimes, two percent lang ang involved ang minors,” Tañada said.
For Tañada, if these children will be held liable to a crime at 12 years old because they are already capable of "discernment between right and wrong," why not allow them to vote in elections or engage in contracts?
“Kung titignan natin na merong discernment na ang isang bata, bakit hindi natin hayaang bumuto, pumasok sa kontrata?” Tañada said.
One of the reasons behind the present administration's push to lower the age of criminal liability is that children are being used by criminal syndicates, as they are immune from criminal punishment and criminal charges.
The move has gained traction at the House of Representatives and is gaining support at the Senate.