Go after syndicates, not children used by criminals — Pangilinan
The Philippine National Police (PNP) should go after syndicates, not children, Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan said Wednesday.
Pangilinan’s statement came after PNP Chief Director General Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa said he was all for the nationwide imposition of a curfew for children to prevent syndicates from using minors in committing crimes.
Dela Rosa also cited the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006, authored by Pangilinan, as a “source of frustration for the PNP.”
“Why are police anti-crime efforts almost always focused on children? Should not PNP chief Bato focus on the syndicates exploiting children?” Pangilinan said in a statement.
“It is a crime to use children, especially for crime, just as it is a crime for parents to neglect their children. Going after the children instead of the syndicates is condoning poor and sloppy police work,” he added.
Bagong Henerasyon party-list Rep. Bernadette Herrera-Dy has filed a bill at the House of Representatives to impose a nationwide curfew on minors.
Dy’s bill seeks to impose a 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew on persons below 18 years old, saying minors were “vulnerable to abuse, exploitation, drug addiction, criminals as well as also being at risk of committing criminal offenses themselves.”
Pangilinan asked if children were the “only ones the police could go after,” while syndicates “go scot-free.”
“Even in the example he gave, of the drug lord in Davao City who uses children playing online computer games to distribute illegal drugs, shouldn’t the drug lord be blamed and arrested instead?” Pangilinan said.
“Are children the only ones that the police can go after and punish while syndicates go scot-free?” he added.
From 2003 to 2011, a total of 854 minors, aged seven to seventeen, were arrested for violating Republic Act 9165, or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, records of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) showed.
PDEA said 34 percent of the arrested minors were found to have been used by drug syndicates as pushers. /cbb
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