Church exec reiterates opposition to lowering age of criminal liability

Church exec reiterates opposition to lowering age of criminal liability

Mr. Rodolfo Diamante, Executive Secretary of the bishops’ Commission on Prison Pastoral Care.

By CBCP News

September 26, 2018

Manila, Philippines

The Catholic Church’s prison ministry firmly objects to the proposed measures seeking to lower the age of child offenders that will be subject to penalties amid the supposed rise in crimes committed by minors, a spokesperson said.

The Church urges the government to improve instead the implementation of the country’s juvenile justice law, said Rodolfo Diamante, Executive Secretary of the CBCP’s Episcopal Commission on Prison Pastoral Care (CBCP).

“The children are victims and must not be punished. In fact they should be protected by going after the alleged syndicate,” he said.

Diamante’s comment came after Senate President Vicente Sotto III filed a bill seeking to lower the criminal liability to 13 “to adapt to changing times”.

Senate Bill 2026 seeks to amend Republic Act 9344 or the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006, which exempts children aged 15 and below from criminal liability.

“The State must ensure that those children in conflict with the law who are currently exempt from criminal liability who take advantage of the same must not be given the same privilege,” Sotto said in his explanatory note.

Diamante, however, said the reason cited by the senator is “not acceptable”.

“The Senate under his leadership should instead focus in addressing the more serious problems of the country,” he added.

“The CBCP-ECPPC believes that the lawmakers should pass measures that will instead improve the situations of children,” said Diamante.