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Age of criminal liability should be made higher, not lower —Hontiveros

The age of criminal responsibility should be made higher than the current 15 instead of lower to 12 or nine as initially proposed, Senator Risa Hontiveros said on Thursday.

“We won’t bring it back to 9. We won’t also bring it back to 12. What’s the difference between 9 and 12? Keep it at 15, and move it up,” Hontiveros told reporters during a UNICEF project launch.

On Wednesday, the House of Representatives approved on second reading a bill on lowering the age of criminal responsibility at 12 years old. The House Committee on Justice on Monday passed the bill pegging the age at nine years old.

Hontiveros said that according to latest research, women mature at the age of 22 while men at the age of 25, suggesting that the current minimum age of criminal liability at 15 does not match.

“We’re a decade below,” Hontiveros said.

In other countries, the senator added, the adjustment in the age of criminal responsibility is actually upwards, not downwards, even in the countries with a younger age of criminal liability.

"Sa ibang mga bansa na mas mababa pa yung minimum age of criminal responsibility sa atin, pinag-aaralan nila, nakikita nila yung kamalian nun at itinataas nila. So huwag tayong paatras o paurong, dapat pasulong tayo," Hontiveros told GMA News Online.

Hontiveros said she was hoping that her fellow lawmakers would advocate for the right and full implementation of Juvenile Justice Law.

She also encouraged them to develop a policy on separate justice system involving children that will depend on recent research on child psychology and data on appropriate law enforcement.

"Kesa ibaba yung minimum age ng criminal responsibility na paatras sa global trend,” Hontiveros said. —NB, GMA News