Alarm over proposed law to jail 9-year-olds
MANILA: Children as young as nine could be jailed in the Philippines for certain crimes under a proposed law backed by the president, sparking concern from the United Nations and rights groups yesterday.
President Rodrigo Duterte’s allies have been pushing to pass laws by December that would restore the death penalty and lower the minimum age of criminal responsibility from 15 to 9.
Duterte won May elections largely because of a vow to kill tens of thousands of drug dealers, also promising on the campaign trail to close a loophole in the juvenile justice system that he said allowed traffickers to use minors as narcotic couriers.
While Duterte wanted the age threshold dropped to 12, his allies went one step further by calling for it to be lowered to nine.
The UN children’s agency Unicef reminded the Philippines of its international obligations on the Rights of the Child, which says criminal responsibility below the age of 12 is not acceptable. – AFP