MANILA, Philippines - Malacanang is asking parents to also do their share in preventing their children from committing crimes.
"We would like to ask the parents to take a look also at their children. Prevention can come from state agencies and parents as well. We all have a stake in making sure that we raise our children well," Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda said.
There are moves to lower the age of criminal responsibility due to the recent arrests of children in conflict with the law involving incidents such as robbery and rape. The suspects in these crimes were arrested but were turned over to the Department of Social Welfare and Development because they cannot be prosecuted.
Under the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act or Republic Act(RA) No. 9344, a child 15 years old or below at the time of the commission of the offense shall be exempt from criminal liability and only subjected to an intervention program.
Justice Secretary Leila De Lima earlier expressed opposition to proposals on lowering the age of criminal responsibility from 15 years old to 9 years old. "Lowering the age will violate the very essence of justice if children who have been exploited by criminal syndicates are penalized instead of the adults who had exploited them," she said.
De Lima said it is government's responsibility to pursue and put the adult criminal syndicates behind minor offenders to jail.
She said the community, especially parents, schools, and mass media have a major role to play in helping children stay out of crimes.
"These children are victims of circumstances beyond their control, of chronic poverty and alarming culture of violence rampant in a child's home, school and community. Hence, children should be treated as individuals with problems who need help and need to be provided with appropriate assistance and services, to ensure the full protection of their rights to survival, protection, development and participation," she said. With reports from Willard Cheng and Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News