On criminal liability

INTERCOURSE | Rhoderick Maquirang Tecson

The House of Representatives is hell bent in its desire to lower the age of criminal liability to 12 years old despite the massive protests from child right’s advocates and experts.

The newly designated House Majority Leader Representative Fred Castro of Capiz said that while he recognizes the experts opinion on the matter, his own personal experience and observation is far more revealing thus his belief that the age of criminal liability though it is perfumed as social responsibility must be lowered.

The measure aims to curb the incident of children in conflict with the law although statistics show that involvement of minors in criminal activities is only at 2 percent.

While I must admit that I agree up to a minimum extent with the proposal, the legislators must bear in mind that prosecuting and incarcerating the children will not resolve the problem of their involvement in crimes especially under a faulty and corrupt system.

Of course, the mindset of the House of Representatives is an act of pleasing the president who has been very vocal about juvenile delinquents.

The problem though is far more complicated than simply jailing the young offender as time and again has proven that no amount of jail time can reform a delinquent without the necessary support mechanism.

Especially among the young people who need proper psychological support to guide them in determining the extent of their mistake and how to reintegrate as normal citizens once they get out of the walled corners of a prison cell. It does not include yet the acceptance they will get from the community during reintegration.

The appreciation of the factors behind every offense committed by a minor matters and such could not be attained by simply putting the offender behind bars.

The child’s perspective of the things around molds his or her appreciation of what is right and wrong. Oftentimes, it is what they see on a day to day that shapes their own perspectives.

Simply road courtesy and rules that adults could not even follow like counter flowing even if the sinage says one way can alter the perception of a young mind.

Beating the red light while risking ones property and life creates an impression that rules can always be violated provided that one is not caught.

These petty things coupled with a very weak family support can eventually create monsters among the children.

A logical remedy then is not in anyway related to putting a young delinquent to jail but for adults to live an honest life for every child to follow.

After all, jails are lifeless and cruel places where the support of the community and the family is literally absent.

We can only hope though that the not so distinguished legislators would realize the mistake they are making before it’s too late.