Malacanang : No imprisonment for 9-year-olds who commit crimes

Malacanang : No imprisonment for 9-year-olds who commit crimes

The lowering of the age of criminality is creating a big misunderstanding among the citizenry.

Malacanang has already made a statement regarding the issue, there will be no imprisonment imposed upon nine-year-olds who commit crimes, after the House of Representatives (HOR) justice panel approved a bill lowering the age of criminality from 15 to 9 years old.

Presidential Spokesperson and concurrent Presidential Legal Adviser Atty. Salvador Panelo made this remark after UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings Agnes Callamard who called the measure “dangerous” and “potentially deadly.”

Atty. Salvador Panelo (photo credit to owner)

Panelo explains there will be youth care facilities for those juveniles aged 10 to17 years old who commit exclusive offenses and they will not be brought to prisons.

“No penalty of imprisonment would be imposed upon children nine-years-old and below while those juveniles who are above nine-years old but below 18 years of age who commit any of the 10 exclusive offenses, such as murder or rape, would be brought to youth care facilities (not prison facilities) supervised by a multi-disciplinary team, which includes doctors, psychologists and social workers, among others,” Panelo said in a statement.

Panelo explains that he has confidence that in the legislating of such law, the HOR will ensure that due considerations on the protective rights of the child are weighed in.

Under the bill, the maximum penalty for  individuals and criminal syndicates found guilty of exploiting children to be youth offenders is reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment.

Panelo explains that the detractors of the Duterte administration continue to “drown” the proposed law without even reading the whole bill and totally ignore the reality that the measure is meant to protect the youth.

“They simply have not read the provisions of the bill hence their opposition is based either on blissful ignorance or pretended misinformation. They are either unaware or ignore the reality that criminals have become smart as to use the present law in exploiting the children to assist them in committing their crimes,” Atty. Panelo said.

The bill has the intent to protect the children from those criminals who victimize and coerce them to become offenders especially due to the surge of numbers in offenses committed by children.

“The proposed law will deter criminals from using children as their accomplices or in treating them as pawns in committing crimes,” Atty. Panelo said.

“What the intended legislation does is actually to provide means of rehabilitation in favor of those youth who have freely and discerningly committed a crime,” Panelo added.

Duterte’s intent

The President is committed in providing Filipino children with a safe and peaceful environment by going after the principals and main actors of crime groups.

Atty. Panelo explains the statement of President Duterte regarding the Juvenile Justice Welfare Act of 2006 (RA 9344), which exempts children 15 years old and below from criminal liability, has created a new generation of criminals.

“To the mind of the President, the current law has laid the foundation for the emergence of a new generation of criminals.

When minors are released in as many times as they are arrested, criminality becomes a part of their lives and thereby evolving into being full-blown criminals,” Panelo said.

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Report from PNA

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