Lacson sets 3 conditions for backing bill

SENATOR Panfilo “Ping” Lacson will support the lowering of age of criminal liability if three conditions are present but insisted that nine years old is too young.

“If the offender acted with discernment, if sentencing is suspended until the offender reaches the age of majority, and there are enough reformative facilities,” Lacson enumerated his conditions.

Lacson elaborated that condition one is that the youth offender is proven to have acted with discernment when he or she committed the crime, especially serious ones.

He is also proposing suspension of sentence of the minor until he/she reaches the age of majority.

Finally, the senator said that there must be enough and properly supervised reformative facilities to rehabilitate the youth offenders.

Lacson added that his support for the lowering of the age of criminal liability “to a certain level” will depend on “science-based testimonies of experts in the field of child psychology.”

But Lacson, who served as Philippine National Police chief from 1999 to 2001, said the age of nine is “too young” for criminal liability.

For her part Senator Grace Poe said in 2016 she had filed Senate Resolution 157 opposing any move to lower the Minimum Age of Criminal Responsibility (MACR) than what is stated in the current law.

“Our position remains unchanged. We reiterate that lowering the MACR is anti-poor, as most children in conflict with the law come from poor families and have no meaningful access to legal services,” Poe insisted.

Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan meanwhile insisted that harsh punishment is not the solution to discipline youth offenders.  He claimed that poverty and hunger are the primary root cause why young people are being involved or enticed to do criminal acts.

He said that more than 90% of the youth offenders are from poor families, do not have the means to go to school and are from broken families.

“Dagdag sahod at kita, trabaho, pagbaba ng presyo ng mga bilihin, makapagtapos ng pag-aaral ang solusyon, hindi pagkulong sa ating mga anak at pagmamaltrato sa kanila. HIndi kamay na bakal ang solusyon,” Pangilinan said.