By Nestor Ravilas
I don’t really get it, and it is giving me pain trying to comprehend what the hell their rationale for lowering the age of criminal liability to age 9. A person cannot marry in the Philippines under the age of 18, and still in need of parental consent when she is 18. She might insists having a full weight of her decision and well prepared to face the travails of marriage, but the state intervenes and assumes to itself the decision to bar her to consummate her wish. The moral argument is that children lack the necessary degree of maturity and sense of responsibility needed on such huge decision, thus depriving them of that freedom to marry before reaching 21, the age that frees them from parental consent. Then why all of a sudden this government is hell-bent to lower criminal liability to age 9? You cannot marry until the age 21, but a 9-year-old child can already be held criminally liable? Or they will amend later the family code and allow a child of 9 years of age to marry to do away with the contradiction?
I am not privy of other arguments adduced by the proponents of this bill other than crime syndicates are using these children on their criminal activities. Shouldn’t this be the very ground why they rather save the children from these criminals than punishing them? That being “used” indicates their inability to stand responsibly and independently from others’ wish and command, their helplessness to refuse those who are using them, and their innocence to discern fully the difference between evil and good and the consequences thereof? That being “used” means someone makes them move like a puppet to a puppeteer. And amazingly, this government is willing to turn itself to a laughing stock by apprehending and jailing the puppet. Unless, of course, they are the ones who are making these puppets move.
It was no joke when people jeered that this government is the biggest crime syndicate in active operation. It is immediately perceivable, therefore, that this political move is merely to create more supply of surrogate victims that can be used as scapegoats for the crimes of our public officials, and those in power in general. Wasn’t the poor warehouse caretaker the only one punished for the apprehended 6.4 billion worth of methamphetamine or shabu? All big names implicated in the crime, especially those from the province itself of the president where the illegal shipment was bound to, are all free and transferred and promoted to other government positions. The pork barrel scandal which huge sum of money pocketed by big politicians left us only Janet Napoles as the culprit while those politician implicated are free and some even are running for re-election. We will run out of the list of sacrificial victims who are suffering in behalf of these hideous people. This has been our practice since time I remember, to punish either the least guilty or the whistle blower in order to exonerate the powerful and the privileged.
Lowering the age of criminal liability to 9 years of age, those innocent, docile, and fragile children, will only arm this government with millions of scapegoats. Janet Napoles will not be in prison if we only have that law long time ago. All you have to do is put these gullible children in all the whereabouts of the crime operation in exchange of transformer toys, shoes, mobile phones, or even a day meal then you have yourself insulated from the law. Make Peter Lim acquire the service of children then the government will be spared from flak for befriending the notorious drug lord. Let these children sell the 6.4 worth of shabu then the echelon of power in Davao will not be implicated to this crime and shame. This government, more than anyone else, needs surrogate victims to cover for their crimes that is why they are hell-bent to pass it into law.
Jose Rizal, the Philippine national hero, said that the youth are the hope of a nation. It resonates with what Jesus said that the Kingdom of God belongs to these children. You don’t need to be educated to plumb the wisdom of those words, those are very practical statements. But for those idiots we put in power to abuse and plunder us, nothing is sacred and precious than their greed and wickedness!