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Age of criminal liability

Age of criminal liability

Specifically in the matter of good manners and right conduct, one of the now well existent big predicament of young people up to fifteen years old sadly consists in their personal witnessing of the truly bad manners and really wrong conduct of older individuals—be these their own elders, close friends and/or these and those adults they come to meet and to know.

There is a rather well-known saying that “words are mere sounds but examples entice.”  So it is that given the many and serious errant examples, amoral action and reaction patterns of their elders, a good number of young people themselves nonchalantly commit downright crimes to the surprise, apprehension and even disgust of the older individuals.

The immediate conclusion and instant recourse of their elders—the Legislators in particular came loud and clear:  Lower the age of criminal liability from fifteen years old to whatever agreed much younger age! This move would frighten even but really young people to commit crimes, would make them obey the laws of the land and thus become better individuals of their communities, better citizens of the country.  In other words, apply the Penal Law of the country even to young people below fifteen years old and there will be a more trustworthy and dependable young people, a more safe and peaceful Philippines.

Wrong! Why? If a good number of the youth of today behave badly, do wrong and even engage in criminal acts as a matter of fact, the more realistic reason for such socio-moral malady is not really their young age of fifteen years old.  The more common and pervasive causal factor of their criminal actuations is the more and more criminal actions and reactions of their elders who are in fact becoming more in number and insensitivity.  This very disturbing phenomenon finds its basic causal factor in way downright killings day and night, here and there that have practically become the standard reality and practice of the times.  Human rights there are none—except for the rich and powerful.

What is right or wrong, what is just or unjust do not matter really whereas might is right.  This is the living lamentable as well as dangerous socio-unethical reality now obtaining in the country that is so evident that it is downright foolish to ask for evidence or proof.  What is more pitiful and unreasonable is that there are supposedly learned and even wise Legislators who want to resolve the above said social liability by simply lowering the physical age of the youth—to but boys and girls—for their criminal prosecution.  This is a case of proposed solution much worse than the problem.

Is it so hard to understand that if the young people of today are not exactly angels, when incarnate devils they become, this is by and large on account of the devilish value system and consequent amoral action patterns of their elders?  Correct wherefore the elders—not penalize the young.