The age of criminal liability has been reduced to 15 years old.
The House of Representatives and the Senate ratified the Juvenile Justice System Act which provides for a suspended sentence for youth offenders aged 12 to 15.
The ratified measure identifies a youthful offender as someone aged 12 to 15 years old who acted with discernment or somebody aged 15 to 18 years old at the time of the commission of the crime.
Those youthful offenders aged 12 to 15 who acted with discernment will be meted a suspended sentence and will be sent to a repository institution or to the custody of the Department of Social Welfare and Development or any duly licensed agency.
If the youth offender aged 12 to 15 failed to comply with the conditions of the repository institutions, he or she will be returned to the committing court for the imposition of the penalty upon reaching 18 years of age.
Under the measure, a youthful offender will be deemed to have acted with discernment if the offense he or she committed constitutes murder, parricide, homicide, kidnapping, rape, robbery, drug trafficking and other offenses punishable by more than 12 years.
The measure also transferred the jurisdiction of the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Council to the DSWD from the Department of Justice.
“The measure seeks to deter the exploitation of juveniles by providing stiffer penalties to anyone found guilty of taking advantage of children to carry out criminal activities, as well as defines the responsibility of parents in the supervision of their children,” the Bicam report on the measure read.
“Likewise, it provides assistance to victims of offenses committed by children,” it added.