PNP favors lowering criminal age, cites 'surge' in child offenders at age 12

Maan Macapagal, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 25 2019 05:14 PM

Most crime incidents involving minors attributed to 12 to 17-year-olds

MANILA - The Philippine National Police (PNP) said Friday it was inclined to support the proposal of the House of Representatives to lower the age of criminal liability to 12 years old, citing a spike in criminal involvement of minors at such age. 

Chief Supt. William Macavinta, Chief of the PNP Women and Children Protection Center (WCPC), said they welcome the move to lower the age of criminal responsibility to 12 from 15, but have yet formalize their position.

“Pabor tayo doon sa pagbaba, but we have yet to wait doon sa official na posisyon ng PNP na mapirmahan ni Chief PNP, pero pabor tayo sa pagbaba ng age of criminal responsibility,” Macavinta said.

(We are in favor of lowering the age of criminal responsibility, but we have yet to wait for the official position of the PNP to be signed by Chief PNP.)

Based on data collected by the PNP Directorate for Intelligence and Investigative Management's Crime Incident and Reporting System, a total of 11,324 crime incidents involving minors were recorded in 2018, 21 percent lower than the 2017 total of 14,409 incidents of children in conflict with the law (CICL).

Police data showed that theft was the number crime committed by underaged offenders at 6,535, followed by rape, a heinous crime, at 2,755, physical injuries at 2,708, robbery at 2,471, and drug-related offenses at 1,886.

PNP figures also showed that the number of offenses increased with age among minors: from 2016 to 2018, those aged 5 and below were tagged in 10 incidents, 6 to 8-year-olds in 132 incidents, and 9 to 11-year-olds in 654 cases. 

The figure spiked among older teens: 12 and 15-year-olds were involved in 6,384 incidents, while 16 to 17-years old were tagged in 9,189 incidents.

According to PNP-WCPC, it is more apt to lower the age of criminal liability to 12 years old instead of 9, as originally proposed, as it matches PNP data. 

“Base sa monitoring natin, ang age bracket ng minor violators, nagkaroon tayo ng surges na between age 12 and 15 (Based on our monitoring of the age bracket of minor violators, we saw a surge among those between 12 and 15),” Macavinta said.

Most of the offenses committed by those of this age were physical injuries, rape and robbery. 

“Yung mga recommendation base sa narinig natin sa interviews sa committee hearing ng [House of Representatives] at Senate, jibe sa datos na nakuha natin na dominated po 'yung incidents involving minors from ages 12 to 17,” Macavinta explained.

(Our recommendation based on what we heard in interviews in the committee hearing in the [House of Representatives] and the Senate, our data jibes with the finding, incidents involving minors are dominated by those from ages 12 to 17.)

Majority of those involved in CICL incidents from 2016 to 2018 were male at 945, while only 6 percent were female, the officer said. 

Macavinta said police are looking at factors that lead minors to commit crime, including their level of education. 

The PNP is presently validating data and is scheduled to release a position paper on the matter once they have all the information. 

The House of Representatives recently passed on second reading a measure lowering the age of criminal liability to 12. An initial proposal had sought to hold those as young as 9 year olds liable if involved in crime.