Sen. Richard Gordon, chair of the Senate committee on justice and human rights, said the Senate could still deliberate on the issue when session resumes after the elections.
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Senate fails to pass bill on age of criminal responsibility
Cecille Suerte Felipe (The Philippine Star) - February 10, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Senate has failed to pass a measure seeking to lower the minimum age of criminal responsibility from 15 to 12 years old before going on a break for the campaign period for the May elections.

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) set the campaign period for senatorial and party-list candidates from Feb. 12 to May 11.

Sen. Richard Gordon, chair of the Senate committee on justice and human rights, said the Senate could still deliberate on the issue when session resumes after the elections.

The House of Representatives has approved its version, with 12 years old as the threshold.

The Senate committee has  recommended the raising of penalty for parents whose child, aged 12 but below 18 years, commits serious crimes.

This was contained in a 13-page committee report, which recommended the lowering of the age of criminal liability from 15 years old to 12.

Under the measure, parents of children who committed serious crimes could be sentenced from six months to six years in prison.

The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) is expected to release a document explicitly stating that 12 years old is too low to be the minimum age of criminal responsibility.

The UN body, which monitors the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, has released a draft that would replace an earlier document that identified 12 years old as the absolute minimum age of criminal responsibility.

It said countries should not lower the existing liability threshold if it is already above 14 years old.

“In the original General Comment No. 10 (issued in 2007), the committee considered 12 years as the absolute minimum age. However, the committee finds that this age indication is still low. States parties are encouraged to increase their minimum age to at least 14 years of age,” read the draft document.

“At the same time, the committee commends states parties that have a higher minimum age, for instance 15 or 16 years of age. The committee recommends that state parties should under no circumstances reduce the minimum age of criminal responsibility, if its current penal law sets the minimum age of criminal responsibility at an age higher than 14 years,” it added.

The draft document was circulated for comments weeks before the House approved a proposal to lower the country’s minimum age of criminal responsibility from 15 to 12 years old.

The final revised version of the draft was recently posted on the UNCRC website after the period for comments ended in Jan. 8.

The committee has yet to release a schedule on when it intends to adopt the new document. – With Janvic Mateo

2019 MIDTERM ELECTIONS MINIMUM AGE OF CRIMINAL RESPONSIBILITY
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