Davao City mayor bats for lowering minimum age of criminal responsibility

Sara Duterte-Carpio

FOR Hugpong ng Pagbabago chairman Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, the discernment in the commission of a criminal act should be determined by the courts and not by mere assumption.

In an interview on the sidelines of the Hugpong campaign rally in Eastern Visayas, Mayor Duterte expressed her support for the proposed lowering of the minimum age of criminal responsibility.

She added the discernment by the perpetrator of a crime  must be determined by the court and not by  assumption that the minor is incapable of deciding what is right and wrong.

The HNP campaign manager said that based on the experience of Davao City, the youngest to have committed a heinous crime is 13 years old.

“The youngest na nakita namin ay 13, heinous crime. And for me 12 is acceptable,” she said.

“Hindi dapat i-assume kaagad na dahil bata hindi niya alam ang ginawa niya. Iyon kasi ang assumption ng iba,” she further explained.

The Presidential daughter expressed strong concern over the gruesome murder of 16-year-old Christine Lee Silawan, allegedly by a group headed by her 17-year-old former boyfriend.

Duterte said she supports the bill setting the MACR cap at 12 but not lower than this age.

She said the first step in determining the guilt of a child who is in trouble with the law is for the court to issue a ruling on whether or not the accused is capable of distinguishing right from wrong.

She pointed out that many minors already enjoy “very free and open” access to mass media, including television, internet, thus, they have a wide awareness of what is criminal or not.

The House of Representatives has approved on third and final reading House Bill 8858 which seeks to amend the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006 by reducing the age of criminal responsibility from 15 to 12 years.

However, the Senate has yet to pass its own version of the measure.