Alvarez seeks to lower age for minor offenders
Davao Del Norte Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez, presumptive president-elect Rodrigo Duterte’s pick for Speaker of the House of Representatives, added another item in the Duterte administration’s legislative agenda to curb criminality – lower the age for minor offenders.
In an interview after the 37-member party-list bloc signed a coalition agreement to support his speakership bid, Alvarez said the cohorts of drug lords and syndicates were getting younger.
Alvarez said as Speaker he would push for the amendment of the Pangilinan law which set the age of minor offenders at above 15 years old.
He however did not say at what age a minor could be considered an offender.
“Don’t get me wrong ha. The objective of the law is noble. However, in reality, nagkaroon ng problema dun sa implementation,” Alvarez said.
“‘Yung minors natin, 15-years old below, ginagamit na ng mga sindikato. Ito yung number one reklamo ng mga law enforcers natin nung nag-ikot kami sa iba’t ibang bahagi ng bansa,” he added.
Alvarez said the amendment of the law would further lower the age for minor offenders to be criminally prosecuted.
Although he said he could not recall at what age this was, Alvarez said he wanted to bring back the minimum age for criminal liability to what was stated in the Revised Penal Code.
“Yung age na hindi ka pwedeng i-prosecute, ibababa uli natin,” Alvarez said.
The Juvenile Justice Welfare Act of 2006 (Republic Act 9344) authored by Sen. Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan mandates stated that persons aged 15 years old and below cannot be imprisoned for heinous crimes such as rape and murder.
It was amended in 2013 by Republic Act 10630 which mandated intensive juvenile intervention and the formation of a support center called “Bahay Pag-asa.”
Although the law did not amend the minimum age of criminal liability, it subjected the minor offender to a government intervention program.
Republic Act 10630 states that a child above 12 years old up to 15 years old who committed 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, as well as drug-related offenses, will be deemed a “neglected child” and mandatorily placed in the youth care faculty “Bahay Pag-asa,” which is an Intensive Juvenile Intervention and Support Center.
The law also requires the minor offender to pay the civil liabilities for his or her offense.
Duterte has picked Alvarez as his Speaker to consolidate his forces to push for his legislative agenda against criminality, which includes the reinstatement of the death penalty.
Duterte also wanted to revise the 1987 Constitution to change the country’s government from unitary to federal.
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