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55% of Filipinos reject lower age of criminal liability – Pulse Asia

REHABILITATION. Children inside the Yakap-Bata Holding Center in Caloocan City talk with social workers. Rappler file photo

MANILA, Philippines – Most Filipinos want to keep the minimum age of criminal liability at 15 years old, according to a Pulse Asia Research, Incorporated survey released on Friday, May 5.

Based on the results of Pulse Asia’s March 2017 Ulat ng Bayan Survey held from March 15 to 20, 55% of Filipinos believe that the lowest age of criminal liability in the Philippines should be kept at 15 years old.

Among geographic areas, this sentiment is strongest in Balance Luzon (63%), followed by Mindanao (53%); and among socio-economic classes, the poorest Class E (58%) and Class D (55%).

The nationwide survey on 1,200 respondents has a ± 3% error margin at 95% confidence level. Subnational estimates for geographic areas have a ± 6% error margin, also at 95% confidence level.

Data from Pulse Asia Research, Inc

The survey results also show that 20% of Filipinos favor lowering the minimum age of criminal liability to 12, while only 9% believe it should be 9. (READ: Lower age of criminal liability? Here’s why psychologists are against it)

The respondents were asked to choose from 9, 12, and 15 as the lowest age for someone who violated the law to be "imprisoned or punished."

Some of the respondents "volunteered" what they believed should be the lowest age for criminal liability: 16-25 (13%), 10-11 (2%), 13-14 (1%), and 7-8 (0.4%).

House Bill 2, which is pending at the committee level, seeks to amend Republic Act Number 9344 or the "Juvenile Delinquency Act of 2006" to lower the age of criminal liability to 9 years old. It is co-authored by Capiz 2nd District Representative Fredenil Castro and Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez.

Some lawmakers want to raise the minimum age to 12 years old as a compromise with government agencies and concerned groups opposed to the original proposal. (READ: Beyond juvenile delinquency: Why children break the law)

RA 9344, which sets the minimum age of criminal responsibility at 15 years old, was amended in 2013 through RA 10630, which allows children as young as 12 to be detained for serious crimes such as rape, murder, and homicide, among others. It also requires local government units to manage their own Bahay Pag-Asa (Houses of Hope), or rehabilitation houses for young offenders.

In the weeks leading to the survey and during the survey period, among the major current issues were the passage of the death penalty bill on final reading at the House of Representatives, and the brief suspension of the police-led war on drugs after the kidnap and murder of South Korean businessman Jee Ick Joo in Camp Crame. – Rappler.com