During his speech for the Boy Scouts of the Philippines in Malacañang yesterday, President Duterte criticized Sen. Francis Pangilinan’s Juvenile Law saying that the law produced “people with criminal minds.”
This was in reference to Republic Act No. 9344 of the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act which Pangilinan authored. The law prescribes the age of 15 as the minimal age of criminal liability.
The President said that the law was copied from laws abroad but with a major difference. In the Philippine version, children aged 15 who were convicted of crimes such as rape and robbery were released to their families which meant that there was no corrective action enforced in order to deter the children in committing the same crimes. In other countries, children were sent to correctional facilities where they are lectured on responsibility and sense of accountability, making them aware of the gravity of the offense that they had committed.
Duterte said that the problem with Pangilinan is that he was in too much of a hurry in passing the law and that this resulted in five to six generations of people who committed crimes and were released on the same day without being given any corrective action to address juvenile criminal behavior.
The President also said that the country had produced people with criminal minds and that nobody respects the law anymore which is why the country’s drug problem is already out of hand.
He also promised to make the Reserved Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) in schools mandatory, in order for children to immerse themselves in patriotism and learn how to defend themselves. He also criticized the “libertarian attitude” among today’s youth who would rather drink, go on rumbles and take drugs and ruin the nation’s reputation.
According to data from UNICEF Philippines, there are over 50,000 children who had been arrested and detained in the country since 1995. It has also been reported that crime syndicates would often employ a service of a child to commit a crime, as there is a lack of sufficient juvenile measures to address criminal behavior in children.