Statement on the Age of Criminal Liability
THE Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines implores Congress of the Philippines to keep intact the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act, especially regarding the age of criminal liability. We are therefore opposed to lowering the age of criminal liability. The purpose of the law is laudable, its present provisions, beneficial. The sins and failings of the young and immature should not mar the possibilities of one’s future or stand forever in the name of an honorable and noble reputation that can, in later years, be very well built. The fact that criminal elements make use of youngsters up to fifteen years old to commit crimes is no argument against the present benevolent provisions of the law but about the resoluteness of criminals in using even the young for their purposes. The correct response, we believe, is vigilance on the part of parents and stiffer penalties for those who exploit the young in the perpetration of crime.
For the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines
+SOCRATES B. VILLEGAS
Archbishop of Lingayen-Dagupan
January 30, 2017