Children in PH as Crime Scapegoats

Opinion & Analysis Jan 25, 2019 at 4:42 pm

By Carlos H. Conde
Human Rights Watch

The Philippine government is one step closer to prosecuting young children as adults, a key plank in President Rodrigo Duterte’s abuse-ridden anti-crime campaign.

On Monday, a congressional committee approved a bill that would lower the age of criminal responsibility from 15 to 9. If the Senate makes good on its promise to pass this version, and it’s signed into law by the president, this would no doubt worsen the plight of Filipino children caught up in the justice system.

Proponents of the bill argue that children would be better protected from criminals who are trying to exploit them. But the law’s impact would be punitive: children from 14 to 9 who commit serious crimes such as murder, illegal detention, or “carnapping,” or violate the country’s draconian drug laws can be sentenced to “mandatory confinement” of up to 12 years.

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