Art by Gica Tam
Culture Spotlight

Why it’s perfectly OK to lower the age of criminal liability to nine years old

After the House of Representatives okays a bill lowering the age of criminal liability from fifteen years old to nine years old, we ponder the pros of such a move, but not too deeply, because we aren’t really deep.
ANC-X Staff | Jan 23 2019

A nine-year-old is the biggest threat to society. Everyone knows this. At nine, kids still have baby teeth which makes them dangerous to ice candy, buko pops, and bubble gum. They are dangerous to Pokémon monsters who they like to chase and catch for shits and giggles. Nine-year-olds also experience sudden growth spurts which makes them almost dangerous to doorways. They are almost always dangerous to television sets on medium-height consoles as well as standing fans that could tip over when they pass—they are, after all, just learning how to be more coordinated in their gangly, prepubescent bodies. In depressed areas, nine-year-olds are dangerous to all types of sweet food in convenience stores and sari-sari stores, as well as to sniffing glue and solvents. Nine-year-olds are a bad lot. They cannot be trusted. They are prone to being asked by strangers and familiars to be their drug mules, seeing as they do not yet comprehend what being a drug mule is. They are prone to saying yes. Some might even be prone to asking if mules were what transported the holy family to the stable where “Papa Jesus” was born. You see, they are not only childish, nine-year-olds are also naïve.

Barring some pockets of dissent from the country’s best thinkers, as well as local and international human rights groups, support for an as-yet-unnamed criminal liability bill has been overwhelming. Said unnamed bill amends RA 10630 (which set the minimum age of criminal liability at fifteen years old). The unnamed bill, okayed two days ago by the House of Representatives justice panel, lowers the age of criminal liability from fifteen to nine years old because, as stated above, nine-year-olds are extremely dangerous. They are among the demographic of children below the age of fifteen who are responsible for less than 2% of all crimes committed in the country.  A harrowingly huge statistic. Never mind that they were most likely commissioned by adults to perform as drug couriers—an act a scant notch higher than petty theft and sniffing glue—you know, those crimes the do when they act alone.

According to news reports dispatched by The Washington Post last year, President Duterte “pitched the move of lowering the age of criminal liability to stop a generation of criminals in its tracks.” The Washington Post irresponsibly left out that the pitch might also be a move to stop a generation of youths from being educated. We do not need more education, that is not the solution to climbing out of the status quo; education, in the long run, would prove to be detrimental to our identity as citizens of a third world nation.

It is also short-sighted for human rights groups to state that nine-year-olds confined in jails or rehabilitation centers with hardened criminals and delinquents would just educate them more as criminals. As if criminals were teachers. I mean, let’s see that degree, Jean Valjean. And President Duterte is as forward a thinker as they get. Pitching the move of lowering the age of criminal liability to stop a generation of criminals in its tracks would be the best thing to do for the Filipino youth of today. We say jail them now so they can be cured of their early crookedness, and won’t grow up as crooks. We have enough of them in Congress.