Congressmen seek to lower minimum age of criminal liability to 9 years old

  • House representatives Bebot Alvarez and Fredenil Castro filed a bill seeking to lower minimum age of criminal liability
  • The lawmakers seeks to amend RA 9344  and raise the minimum age to 9 years old
  • They said minors are being used to commit criminal acts because they cannot be held criminally liable

Davao Del Norte Rep. Pantaleon “Bebot” Alvarez, along with Capiz 2nd District Representative Fredenil Castro, filed a bill seeking to lower the minimum age for criminal liability among minors being used as accomplices by criminals.

Alvarez, the pick of President Rodrigo Duterte to lead as Speaker of the House of Representatives, chose this as the main push of the 2nd house bill filed in the 17th Congress under the Duterte administration, following their 1st house bill which seeks to restore the death penalty via lethal injection for heinous crimes.

Republic Act No. 9344 or the  Juvenile Delinquency Act of 2006— also known as the Pangilinan Law, named after its author Senator Francis Pangilinan— raised the minimum age of criminal responsibility from 9 to 15 years old, as per an article published by Rappler.

Alvarez and Capiz filed a bill seeking to amend RA 9344 and revert the minimum age to 9 years old in their House Bill 2 titled ‘Minimum Age of Criminal Responsibility Act’.

According to the lawmakers, children are being used by criminals as accomplices in their crimes, particularly drug trafficking, because these minors could not be held criminally liable, as per an article published by Inquirer.

“While the intent of protection of the Filipino youth may be highly laudable, its effects have had the opposite effects– the pampering of youthful offenders who commit crimes knowing they can get away with it,” Castro and Alvarez wrote.

The proposed bill however exempts from criminal liability those under 9 years old at the time of the commission of an offense but will be subject to a government intervention program.