PNP welcomes lower age of criminal liability

Maan Macapagal, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 21 2019 08:40 PM

MANILA - The Philippine National Police (PNP) said it considers it good news that a lower House panel approved an amendment to the Juvenile Justice Act which lowers criminal liability age to 9 years old.

PNP Spokesperson Chief Superintendent Benigno Durana Jr. said those involved in crimes like illegal drugs, rape, among others, are getting younger. 

As a law enforcement agency, the PNP will implement whichever law that will be passed by Congress. 

“Definitely, as a law enforcement agency, we will enforce it to the letter. We will enforce without fear or favor,” Durana said. 

Durana also said they are inclined to support the amendment since criminal syndicates use children to serve as couriers and other roles.

“That’s one reason why Congress and some other advocates, not only within but outside of the government, have decided to lower the age of criminal liability,” Durana said.

Based on PNP Reported Children in Conflict with the Law (CICL) Incident data, 14,993 minors were involved in crimes in 2014. 

Number one on the list of crimes committed by minors was theft with 5,886. This was followed by physical injury with 2,601, robbery with 883, rape with 743, and RA 9165 or illegal drugs with 314. 

In 2015, PNP data had total of 11,616 minors involved in the top 5 crimes which were theft, physical injury, robbery, rape and malicious mischief.

In 2016, there were 11,643 minors involved in the top five cases, namely theft, physical injury, illegal drugs, driving without license, and robbery involving minors. 

“From 2015 to 2016, the most prevalent crime committed by ‘children in conflict with the law’, number one is theft, followed by physical injuries, robbery, rape, then malicious mischief. The same pattern across, ganon pa rin. Yun ang most prevalent crime but the trend is on the downtrend, reflective of the overall crime situation in the country,” Durana said.

In 2017, rape cases involving minors was third on the top 5 list--theft, physical injury, rape, robbery, illegal drugs--out of 10,388 recorded incidents. 

In January to December 2018, 11,229 cases involving minors were recorded. Top violations on the list were physical injury, theft, malicious mischief (Reckless Imprudence Resulting in Damage to Property), illegal drugs, and rape.

The number of Children In Conflict with the Law (CICL) cases rose in 2018 with 6,276 cases compared to 4,501 in 2017.

The top 5 regions with the most number of CICL cases in 2018 are Ilocos Region, Cagayan, Eastern Visayas, Central Visayas, and Calabarzon.

“Most prevalent sa 2018, reckless imprudence resulting to damage to property. Next is theft. Next is oral defamation, related sa values. Damage to property, theft, physical injuries,” Durana said.

“Based on the reality of crimes in our country, I think it’s also a wise move to consider lowering the age of criminal liability. But then again, I’m sure marami namang safeguards iyon. If ever it will be passed, there will be a lot of safeguards to make sure na itong mga kabataan na ito will be reformed, not destroy their lives because of their criminal liability. May safety nets ang batas na ipinapatupad ng ating pamahalaan,” Durana said.