JJ Law

Bam: Strengthen juvenile delinquency facilities

Instead of lowering age of criminal liability to nine years old, a senator urges the government to focus on strengthening the country’s juvenile centers to make it more effective in rehabilitating youth offenders.

 “Bakit hindi na lang palakasin ang Juvenile Delinquency Facility. Pondohan po natin, siguraduhin na kaya talagang ma­rehabilitate yung mga bata,” said Sen. Bam Aquino, chairman of the Committee on Youth, in a radio interview.

 In fact, Sen. Bam pointed out that one of the best juvenile facilities in the country is in Davao City, where President Duterte was a former mayor.

 “Kung tutuusin, mayroon namang pong track record ang ibang mga facility na may kakayahan silang mag-rehabilitate. May mga na-meet na po tayong mga batang kalye na na-rehabilitate, lumabas, bumalik sa eskwelahan, nakapag-graduate, nag-aaral at ngayo’y nagtatrabaho,” the senator stressed.

 Sen. Bam issued the pronouncement in response to Cong. Pantaleon Alvarez’s position that his bill lowering the age of criminal liability to nine years old is focused on rehabilitation and not punishment.

 “Masyado po yang marahas. Palagay ko, kapag kapanahunan ng debate, puwede namang maghanap ng compromise o maghanap ng paraan na hindi maperwisyo ang mga bata pero iyong goal na maging mas malakas tayo sa paglaban sa krimen, ma­achieve pa rin natin,” he said.

 Under the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act, if a child taken into custody is fifteen (15) years old or below, the child can be either released to its parents or be referred to a youth care facility or “Bahay Pag-asa”.

 A child who is above twelve (12) years of age up to fifteen (15) years of age and who commits specific crimes shall be deemed a neglected child under Presidential Decree No. 603, as amended, and shall be mandatorily placed in a special facility within the youth care facility or ‘Bahay Pag-asa’ called the Intensive Juvenile Intervention and Support Center (IJISC).

 These crimes are parricide, murder, infanticide, kidnapping and serious illegal detention where the victim is killed or raped, robbery, with homicide or rape, destructive arson, rape, or carnapping where the driver or occupant is killed or raped or offenses under Republic Act No. 9165 (Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002) punishable by more than twelve (12) years of imprisonment.


Bam on bills lowering age of criminal liability and revival of death penalty

Kapag hinayaan nating makalusot ang dalawang panukalang ito, pati mga batang siyam na taong gulang ay kandidato na rin sa bitay.  Ito ba ang Pilipinas na ating ninanais?

 Excerpts from Sen. Bam’s television interview re: two bills

 To give full criminal liability to nine years old, masyadong marahas po iyon at baka hindi rin po iyon akma sa development ng isang tao. 

If you put the two bills that Davao del Norte First District Representative Pantaleon “Bebot” Alvarez  filed together, iyong pagbalik ng death penalty tsaka pagbaba ng age to nine years old, mayroon tayong sitwasyon na baka nine years old, binibigyan mo ng life imprisonment o binibigyan mo ng death penalty.

 I don’t know kung na-realize iyan ng mga proponents ng batas na ito but there could be a case, ginawang courier ng isang drug lord o drug pusher ang isang bata tapos nahuli.

 Ang batang iyan can actually get life imprisonment or death penalty. Handa ba ang Pilipinas na pumatay ng nine years old na nasangkot sa ganoong klaseng pangyayari?  I don’t think that’s what we want to do, na pumatay tayo ng mga bata.

Bam: Lowering age of criminal liability may result in more criminals

Lowering the age of criminal liability may result in more criminals rather than reduce crime.

Sen. Bam Aquino, chairman of the Committee on Youth, issued this warning in reaction to the incoming government’s plan to lower the criminal liability to 12 years old. 

 “With the current state of our justice system and the poor condition of our prisons and detention centers, placing a child with incarcerated criminals will likely encourage criminal leanings instead of rehabilitation,” he said.

Sen. Bam stressed that this proposal must be studied carefully because it may lead to more problems, rather than prevent crime.

Under the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act or Republic Act 10630, children below 15 years old are exempted from criminal liability and can be released to the custody of his/her parents or may be referred to a youth care facility or “Bahay Pag-asa”.

“Rather than meting out full criminal liability to children, we can look at reforms improving our juvenile delinquency facilities or even adding penalties to their parents,” he added.

“These improvements and amendments are items the Committee can take up and study.”


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