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Criminal liability and BOL

Last Monday, residents of the provinces, cities and municipalities designated to
become part of the autonomous region for Mindanao’s Bangsamoro people cast their votes
to seal the fate of the Bangsamoro Organic Law, a law its proponents say will bring about
development and prosperity in certain parts of Mindanao.

With improved variations as to content from the old law creating the Autonomous
Region for Muslim Mindanao, the new law envisions to end all hostilities in Mindanao’s
Morolandia that never stopped despite the establishment of the ARMM. The new law is said
to have provisions aimed at correcting the flaws of the old law.

Not wanting to douse cold water on the new law that was the subject of Monday’s
plebiscite, the fact remains that it was crafted by leaders in the position of leadership thus
basically the law reflects their diagnosis of the complex problems in Mindanao’s Morolandia
and their prescription on how to solve them.

We do not mean to belittle this diagnosis and prescription to heal the ills in Muslim
Mindanao but the fact that they were crafted by well-entrenched leaders, Muslims and
Christians alike, many are afraid, and that includes us, the reading of the problems and the
proposed solutions did not include the leaders themselves, who over the years undeniably
have become part of the problem.

This is one flaw of the current organic law and the previous one hence the latter’s
inability to effectively lock the horn of all existing problems in benighted Mindanao. The
leaders themselves did not have the needed humility to admit that they have played an
indispensable role in the burgeoning of current problems in Muslim Mindanao.

Lowering the age of criminal liability

The House of Representatives just passed the bill lowering the age of criminal liability
from 15 to nine. The Lower House’s justification in passing such bill is for it to curb the use
by adult criminals of minors in the commission of crimes.

With a lowered age of criminal liability, our courageous and fearless legislators are
sold to the belief that minors will now be deterred from committing a crime upon the
inducement of adults. This is the argument that raised many quizzical eyebrows.

If the diagnosis and analysis of our courageous legislators show that more minors are
committing crimes nowadays upon the prodding of adults because these minors will go scot-
free for legally they can’t be held criminally liable, why punish the minor who is a mere
victim of the adult who induced him to commit a crime?

Analogically this could be likened to a minor-son induced by his adult-father to
commit the crime of driving without any valid driver’s license. In such a scenario, should the
minor-son be made to face the brunt of the law for his crime instead of the adult-father?

Personally, I can’t find the logic of our legislators’ justification of their decision to
lower to nine years old the age of criminal liability. This bill was passed despite the expert

opinion of many psychologists saying children of that age still lack the ability to discern or
understand the wrong they have done so much so that they were just induced by adults to
commit the crime they are being arrested for.

It would have been more logical if the Lower House did not lower the age of criminal
liability but imposed heavier penalty for adults who use minors to commit crimes because
they can’t be held criminally liable for their criminal act. Many are hoping our senators will
not stoop down to that level of thinking of our House of Representatives members by not
passing this illogical bill.

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