Young “criminals” @12

EDITORIAL

Twelve years old may now be the new age for criminal (or social) responsi-bility or liability. This means that those who commit serious or heinous crimes on from age 12 to 15 are exempt from criminal (but not civil) liability and instead   will be subject to an intervention (or rehabilitation)  program by the DSWD, no longer by the DILG or the police.

This new bill which is good as passed by  the lower house , and if finally passed by the Senate, will surprisingly be imposed side by side with a similar law RA 9344 which is called the Juvenile Justice Welfare Act JJWA which is also amended by RA 10630, the biggest amendment of which is lowering the age of criminal liability.

The reason being, that children aged 12 and up are used by criminal syndicates , knowing that the child is exempt from jail. What is now to be strictly forced will be the “intervention program” in the bahay  pag-asa.

Unfortunately, out of the 200 mandated  bahay pag-asa, only 60 are  built and worse, they are very ill-equipped.   NO child if confined there will ever become better. They could turn worse because of the poor environment.  Our guess is that Dumaguete does not even   have this functional bahay pag-asa except  the City’s balay dalangpan which is for distressed and abused children and women, located in Bantayan.

The law may be good but if poorly implemented— if at all,— then it will be a mere scrap of paper. …Moreover, children commit crimes because they grow under  absentee parents. Under the new proposed law, these absentee and negligent parents are also liable , even with a higher penalty.

The pros and cons of this new criminal –social responsibility age of 12 is spelled out in the News Notes column of the editor-publisher in this issue.

Try to read and compare  RA 10630 and RA 9344 and the new proposed law— and you will find out that they are practically the same. That’s what is bad with too many laws, they are quite duplicating , and now harder to implement because of the confusion.

Anyway, that is what most Filipinos are good at.