Jun 052013
Congress on Wednesday ratified proposed amendments to the country’s law on youth offenders without lowering the minimum age of criminal liability, which the existing legislation pegs at 15 years old.

The ratified committee report on House Bill 6052 and Senate Bill 3324 proposed that children aged 12 to 15 who commit heinous crimes or repeatedly violate the law undergo community-based intervention programs in a residential facility.

The House version of the bill originally proposed the lowering of the minimum age of criminal liability to 12 years old, but the Senate version prevailed.

The amendments to Republic Act 9344 also provides the maximum penalty for those who exploit children for the commission of criminal offenses.

The ratified bills also transfer the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Council from the Department of Justice to the Department of Social Welfare and Development. The council is the primary body in charge of implementing the country’s legislation on children in conflict with the law. — DVM, GMA News

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