MANILA—President Rodrigo Duterte said he agrees with the House of Representatives' decision to set the age of criminal liability at 12 years old.
"Ibinabalik ko 'yung original. Above 9 (years old) below 12, tapos above 12 below 16. 'Yun ang original. Ibinabalik ko lang," he said.
(I'm reverting it to its original form. Above 9 years old, below 12 years old, and then above 12 years old, below 16 years old.)
"Ang sabi ko ibalik niyo na lang sa dati. Kung ayaw ninyo and you want other, may trajectory kayo na iba, that's OK with me. Twelve OK na."
(I told them just revert it to the original. If you don't like it and you have another trajectory, that's OK with me.)
Duterte said parents, too, will be held accountable for their children's crimes.
"Kasi gusto ko at that age, pati ang parent must be conscious of the criminal accountability already. Ganoong edad pa lang, pukpukin na because they will be ultimately responsible. Sila ang tatamaan. Any violation of law ng bata ngayon at nagkulang 'yung supervision at vigilance ng parents, sila ang madedemanda," he explained.
(What I want is at that age, even parents must be conscious of criminal accountability already. Even at that age, they should know because they will be ultimately responsible. They are the ones who will be held responsible. Any violation of law committed by a child due to the parents' lack of supervision and vigilance, the parents will be held responsible.
The House of Representatives on Wednesday approved on second reading a bill lowering the age of criminal liability to 12 years old from 9, as first proposed.
Malacañang earlier said parents of children in conflict with the law must be punished for letting their kids go astray.
Duterte is seeking the lowering of minimum age of criminal liability, saying the current law shielding minors of certain ages from criminal prosecution has produced a “generation of criminals.”
Under Republic Act 9344, sometimes referred to as the Pangilinan Law after its author Senator Francis Pangilinan, a child 15 years of age or younger at the time of the offense shall be exempt from criminal liability. However, the child shall be subjected to an "intervention program."
— With a report from Joyce Balancio, ABS-CBN News