Minimum age of criminal responsibility, reset to 12 years old, from 9

News Philippines Jan 25, 2019 at 4:43 pm

12, not 9 years old; “social,” not criminal responsibility, says House

MANILA–The House of Representatives on Wednesday (Jan. 23) approved on second reading a bill lowering the age of criminal liability.

Lawmakers approved a bill lowering the age of criminal liability to 12 years old, instead of 9, as first proposed.

House Justice Committee chairman Rep. Doy Leachon said the last minute amendment to the bill was made after a consensus was reached.

“So when there was a consensus already of the . . . and sabi nila, ano ba gusto niyo ba sa 15? Ayaw naman nila. Gusto niyo ba sa 9? And many of them had reservations,” he said.

Tinanong ko silang lahat and when we got more than majority of members, so we decided to have it at uniform 12 years old instead of the original proposal of 9 years old.”

The word “criminal” was also deleted from the approved bill. It is then replaced with “social” to read “social responsibility.”

The bill seeks to amend provisions of the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006 which exempts children 15 years old and below from criminal liability.


LIST: Age of criminal liability in some Asian countries


By Aleta Nieva Nishimori, ABS-CBN News


MANILA – The Philippines may soon have a new law that would lower the age of criminal responsibility from the current 15 years old.

The House of Representatives on Wednesday approved on second reading the bill seeking to lower the criminal responsibility of youth offenders to 12 years old. Lawmakers initially proposed to set it to 9 years old but amendments were made after a consensus was reached.

Here’s a look at how some of the Philippines neighbors in Asia are faring in terms of setting the minimum age of holding their juvenile offenders accountable for crimes committed.


1. INDONESIA (from 8 to 12 years old)

Indonesia’s law set the age of criminal responsibility to 8 years old.
However, a new law on the Juvenile Justice System came to force in 2014 which increases the minimum age of trial from 8 to 12 years old. The new law also encourages use of restorative justice practices among others.


2. THAILAND (7 years old) 

In Thailand, criminal responsibility starts when the child is older than 7 years old. But while the child cannot be punished until he is over 14 years old, the court has the power to decide whether to release him to his parents or guardians under certain conditions or send him to a training school for a designated period, among others.

[Source: Child Rights International Network (CRIN)]

3. MALAYSIA (10 years old)

The Penal Code set the age of criminal responsibility to 10 years old. But the Syariah Criminal Offences Act of 1997 states that children are held criminally responsible from the onset of puberty, while crimes under the Internal Security Act can be prosecuted regardless of age.

[Source: Child Rights International Network (CRIN)]

4. SINGAPORE (7 years old)

The Penal Code in Singapore set the age of criminal responsibility at 7 years old. Child offenders aged 16-17 are tried as adults.

[Source: Child Rights International Network (CRIN)]

5. VIETNAM (14 years old)

The current age for criminal responsibility in Vietnam is at 14. Child offenders aged 14 and older are criminally responsible for very serious crimes while children 16 or older are criminally liable for any offense.

[Source: Child Rights International Network (CRIN)]

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