MANILA — The Ateneo de Manila University said it opposes the proposal in Congress to lower the minimum age for criminal liability.
"As an institution tasked in the formation of young people, as an institution that takes care of students as young as 6 years old, we vehemently oppose such a move to criminalize children," Ateneo president Fr. Jose Ramon T. Villarin said in a statement.
The House of Representatives is contemplating lowering the age of criminal liability to 9 years old. But the university said it is based on "an outdated standard."
"Such a retreat would ignore decades’ worth of research in child and adolescent development, psychology, neurobiology and the social sciences."
In a statement, Ateneo said that children as young as 9 years old cannot be held to the same standards as adults.
"Given that a child’s development, both physically and emotionally, is still in flux, it would be foolish to hold children to the same standard as adults," the statement said.
It added that the measure "subverts whatever hope we have for reform and rehabilitation."
Instead of changing the law, Ateneo said resources should be spent on getting children educated.
The Jesuit-run university said it is willing to work with legislators in "sharing (its) knowledge based on the research and work that (it does) with children."
"Let us invest ourselves instead in providing all Filipino children with what they need to flourish and succeed," the statement said.