How can Minors be Answerable for Crimes

Most of the minors today think that they are free to do whatever they want even if their acts are contrary to law.  But that is only their presumption especially so if they are ignorant of what is mandated under the laws legislated and carried out by the government to maintain peace and order in society.  There is then a compelling reason to educate the youngsters even at their tender age of what to do in order not to violate the rights of others.

Whether we like it or not, everyone of us, young or old has what is called “criminal mind” and this is executed and consummated through our actions.  The criminal mind is not punishable but the acts resulting therefrom is penalized under the law.  So it would be safe to presume that no one is exempt from the vulnerability of  committing a criminal act now or in the future so much so if we are no longer in control of ourselves because of hatred or anger.  It would be up to us to hold our temper so as not to be overwhelmed by our criminal mind that will lead us to do wrong.

Lucky are those who can mentally and emotionally control themselves and how unfortunate people who can’t, especially the youngsters who still struggle to reach and experience maturity and be able to analyze the consequences of their acts. 

The younger generation nowadays had become tactless in what they do.  They don’t care about what others feel as long as they are satisfied and contented with their lives.  This is so especially if they are drowned in the pernicious effects of using illegal drugs, alcoholism, family problems, personal problems and other factors contributory from their environment. Much worst if they could not seek professional help or at the very least find someone whom they can talk with to share, sympathize and give appropriate advice to the resolution of their problems in life.

Once misguided, there is a great tendency for young people to become criminals.  This is true especially in countries where poverty is a common social problem.  If a child is hungry because there is no food on the table, he will resort to stealing money or food to satisfy his hunger.  If a minor is already addicted to drugs and could no longer sustain the amount he need to support his vice, he will also resort to stealing or even robbery.  If a child is sexually abused or frequented by physical harm, he/she will also be convinced to do the same to others.  Alcoholism can also destroy the future of a child.

At the very first time minors commit crimes, they can be excused from any legal consequence primarily because of minority, however their parents will be answerable to the government by way of commitment that they will closely supervise the activities of their children so that a repetition of their offenses will be precluded in the future.  In case the parents are incapable of performing their parental obligation, the court in such case, may moto propio order the confinement or commitment of the minor offender to an appropriate government or private institution that can provide the professional help needed by the child.  This is especially true in the Philippine setting and may be different in other countries.

This procedure in dealing with young offenders is commonly practiced in several countries all over the world but the same could be less effective for minors who has the temerity of reiterating wrongful acts.  These minors are called “recidivists”.  A recidivist is a “habitual criminal” who knows the consequences of his/her acts but still continue to do criminality.  In the case of minors, they can no longer be excused from the harshness of criminal law if they are considered and  classified by the court as “recidivists” under surrounding circumstances.  The minority can no longer be invoked at this point. Now, the reason is clear why even minors are liable for crimes that they have committed. 

” IGNORANTIA NON LEGIS EXCUSAT “.  This is a known latin maxim in legal parlance which means that “ignorance of the law excuses no one”.  Minority age is not an alibi for ignorance of the law so much so when the minor is a recidivist.