Cops gun down Davao teen for allegedly resisting arrest
Updated @ 10:52 p.m., Feb. 3, 2019
DIGOS CITY — The debate over lowering the age of criminal liability from 15 to 12 or even 9 years old took a bloody twist in this city after a 16-year-old boy was killed by police for supposedly resisting arrest for alleged theft.
Congress, apparently egged on by President Rodrigo Duterte’s rant against youth offenders getting away with crimes because of their age, is currently debating on measures to lower the age of criminal liability to 12 years old.
The measures appeared headed for approval.
The 16-year-old boy was being arrested by operatives of the police’s Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) in Davao del Sur, who were carrying a warrant for the boy’s arrest for theft past noon on Thursday.
Supt. Deozar Almasa, Digos City police director, said police and CIDG operatives tried to arrest Ernesto Placibe Jr., alias Pidot, at the village of Cogon here based on the warrant issued by Regional Trial Court Branch 18 Judge Marivic Trabajo Daray.
But Placibe resisted arrest, Almasa said.
Almasa said instead of yielding peacefully, Placibe drew a homemade revolver, prompting police to fire at the boy.
Placibe was brought to Davao del Sur Provincial Hospital where he was declared dead.
Police said the boy was also wanted for another robbery case.
Almasa said Placibe was one of the suspects in a series of theft and robbery cases in the city.
As Congress continued to deliberate on the proposal to lower the age of criminality, police in the city said they had recorded crimes being committed by minors between 10 and 17 years old.
A recent survey by pollster Social Weather Stations (SWS) showed that most Filipinos wanted 15 years old as the minimum age of criminal liability.
But Malacañang said the survey results did not mean that the people opposed measures to lower the minimum age of criminal liability to 12 years old.
Most respondents in the SWS survey agreed that juvenile offenders should be jailed if they committed rape, murder, drug offenses or stole mobile phones or food.
Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the survey might have been conducted when lawmakers were pushing for the lowering of the minimum age of criminal liability to 9 years old.
Duterte pet peeve
The SWS survey was conducted in July and December last year among 1,500 respondents.
The House of Representatives had passed on final reading House Bill No. 8858, which sought to amend Republic Act No. 9344, to lower the minimum age of criminal responsibility to 12 years old.
The President, who blamed the existing law for a rise in juvenile crimes, had said 12 years old as the minimum age of criminal liability was acceptable to him.
Malacañang said the President was leaving the fate of the move to lower the age of criminal responsibility up to Congress.
“Even assuming that majority of Filipinos would not want it, again, the President will always leave it to Congress,” Panelo said.
He said people should always keep an open mind and consider studies from other countries supporting a lower age of criminal liability.
“I cannot even understand where they’re getting this study showing that 9-year-olds or 12-year-olds do not commit crimes,” Panelo said.
He said the measure would protect children instead from falling victims to criminal syndicates and against parents’ neglect.
Those opposed to the measure, Panelo said, “see it the wrong way.” /gsg /pdi
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