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Biazon backs 9 years for criminal liability

July 19, 2016 ·  By Ben Rosario for www.mb.com.ph

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Muntinlupa City Representative Ruffino Biazon yesterday led a group of congressmen belonging to the so-called “supermajority” in declaring “full support” to the proposal to lower the age of criminal responsibility of minors from 15 years to just nine years.

Filed by Davao del Norte Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez and Capiz Rep. Fredenil Castro, the bill seeks to address the increasing number of crimes involving minors who are protected from any criminal liability until they are over 16 years old.

The measure contains similar provisions to over a dozen of bills filed by lawmakers during the 15th and 16th Congresses.

Authors of the bills filed during the previous Congresses lamented that Republic ACt (RA) 9344 or the Juvenile Delinquency Act of 2006 have been blamed by law enforcers for the sharp rise in criminal activities in the country, particularly drug related crimes.

RA 9344 sets the age of criminal liability at 15 years old.

“I am well aware that crimes committed by minors have been on the rise ever since RA 9344 came into effect. That is why I fully support the bill seeking to revert to nine years the minimum age of criminal responsibility,” said Biazon.

Alvarez and Castro said that while RA 9344 is “highly laudable, [it] has had the opposite effect of ‘pampering’ youthful offenders who commit crimes knowing they can get away with it.’”

In the explanatory note of their bill, the two solons pointed out that as a result of RA 9344, “adult criminals knowingly and purposely make use of youths below 15 years of age to commit crimes, such as drug trafficking, are aware that they cannot be held criminally liable.”

Biazon agreed with the observation raised in the measure, saying that his constituents in Muntinlupa City are in full support of the proposal.

“We just need to look at crime data to determine that many children as young as nine years old have committed crimes that tend to show they fully knew what they were doing,” said Biazon.

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