Agency chief to back lower criminal liability age if safeguards in place
Parents who willfully allow their underage children to dabble with narcotics should be jailed, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency said Tuesday, as Congress revived a proposal to lower the minimum age of criminal liability.
The PDEA last week accosted 12 minors who sell and use shabu in drugs dens found at the Navotas Fish Port.
The children, most of whom were aged 12 to 15 with the youngest at around 5 years old, are all students but confessed to skipping classes whenever the drug dens are packed with customers.
The agency summoned the children's parents, but only one complied, said PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino.
"Dapat talagang managot ang mga magulang at iyun ang dapat ikulong, iyung mga magulang na allowing these children to be involved in illegal drugs," he told radio DZMM.
(The parents should be held liable and jailed for allowing these children to be involved in illegal drugs.)
The House justice committee on Monday approved a bill seeking to lower the age of criminal responsibility to 9 years from the current 15.
The PDEA chief said he would support the proposal if safeguards for the children are put in place.
The dozen minors arrested in Navotas will be included in the first batch of PDEA's "Sagip Batang Solvent", a program that will be launched in late February to rescue solvent-sniffing street children, said Aquino.
The PDEA, he added, is also seeking stronger ties with its foreign counterparts to curb the smuggling of drugs into the Philippines.
The Navotas drug dens, he noted, are located near the address of a consignee for a shipment of canned goods that concealed millions of pesos worth of narcotics.
DZMM, 22 January 2019