Commission on Human Rights - Along with Ms. Ma. Victoria Diaz, Ms. Melanie Ramos-Llana of Philippine Action for Youth Offenders, and Ms. Zenaida Rosales of Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Child Sexual Abuse, the Humanitarian Legal Assistance Foundation (HLAF), met with the Commission on Human Rights Commissioner, Hon. Leah Tanodra-Armamento to discuss the effects and implications of lowering the age of criminal responsibility in light of children in conflict with the law (CICLs) and the perception of the public regarding the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act last July 21.
During the meeting, the group agreed to continue the mapping of the stance of the Senate and Congress regarding the lowering of the age of criminal responsibility; as such the group planned the training and orientation for both houses using psychologists, sociologists, and lawyers to discuss different aspects of the proposed bill.
Also, the panel discussed the notion that other than educating lawmakers regarding the implications of lowering the age of criminal responsibility, the group desires to make suggestions for alternative solutions to the children in conflict with the law, as well as share the success stories of children who were able to undergo reform.
The CHR mentioned the plan to release its own statement regarding the issue on lowering the minimum age of criminal responsibility. As the meeting concluded, the group hopes to bring their message to the President of the Philippines so that he may reconsider the lowering of the age of criminal responsibility and also, to promote restorative justice rather than perpetuate the culture of retributive justice.
HLAF opposes the lowering of the Minimum Age of Criminal Responsibility as HLAF believes that through supporting the proper implementation of the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act, specifically by strengthening the capacity of the community-based duty bearers, it can be the solution regarding the children in conflict with the law.