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PNP: Lowered age of liability to deter adults from using kids in crimes

/ 01:16 PM January 21, 2019
PNP: Lowered age of liability to deter adults from using kids in crimes

VICTIMS TWICE-OVER? A human rights lawyer has criticized PDEA for its harsh treatment of 12 children aged 4 to 15 during an antidrug operation in Navotas. The minors were reportedly being used to sell drugs in the fish port area. INQUIRER/RICHARD A. REYES

MANILA, Philippines — Lowering the age of criminal liability could discourage adults from exploiting minors in illegal activities, Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Oscar Albayalde said Monday.

Albayalde made this comment hours before the House of Representatives justice panel approved a bill lowering the age of criminal liability from 15 years old to nine.

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READ: House panel swiftly okays lower age of criminal liability

“Yes, of course,” Albayalde said in a press conference when asked if the bill could deter crimes involving minors. He added it could also discourage parents who use their children in criminal activities.

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Albayalde cited a recent operation of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) in Navotas City, where 12 minors were rescued in a raid of drug dens. Sixteen suspected drug personalities were also arrested in the same operation.

PDEA earlier said the minors aged four to 15 were reportedly selling drugs in the Navotas Fish Port area.

READ: PDEA: No mishandling of kids caught in drug dens

“You can just imagine they are being used already as drug runners,” Albayalde said, noting that some kids also commit other crimes such as rape and physical injuries.

According to Albayalde, adults encourage children to take part in criminal activities by telling kids police won’t arrest them anyway.

“Ito ring mga matatanda ang nakikita nating nagtuturo dito sa mga bata na sasabihin nila, ‘Hindi naman kayo makukulong. The most that they can do to you is (to) turn you over sa DSWD (Department of Social Welfare and Development)’,” he said.

[These adults teach the kids by saying “You won’t be arrested. The most they can do to you is (to) turn you over to DSWD.]

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While supporting the measure, Albayalde stressed parents who use their children in crimes should also not be off the hook.

Meanwhile, PNP spokesperson Chief Supt. Benigno Durana Jr. said the PNP – as a law enforcement agency – is inclined to enforce the proposed measure once it is finalized into law. /kga

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TAGS: Crime, criminal liability, Justice, juvenile delinquency, Juvenile Justice, Local news, minors, Nation, national news, news, Oscar Albayalde, Philippine news updates, PNP‎, Youth
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