President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday blamed the Juvenile Justice Act and its author, Senator Francis Pangilinan, for producing generations of youth offenders who grew up without respect for the law.
In a speech during the investiture ceremony of the Boy Scouts of the Philippines (BSP), Duterte said the law, which was passed in 2006, allowed youth offenders to walk free if they are below 15 years old "regardless of the gravity of the offense."
"The problem with Pangilinan, he was too in a hurry. Pinalusot niya yun kaya we produce—mga 15 years ago—about five to six generations of people who committed crimes and released on the same day, irrespective of the gravity of the offense," he said.
He said these offenders, now grown up, are the cause of the drug problem he has been targeting.
"Now na malaki na sila, we have produced people who are of criminal mind. That is why it is hard to stop the drug problem now kasi sila labas-pasok at nag-negosyo at gustong sirain kayo," he said.
"The reason why there is so much criminality...the reason why, nobody respects the law anymore. It's because of that Pangilinan Law. Generations of 'labas pasok' using these guys as couriers. You cannot arrest them.
"15 years old, they can be used and reused and utilized. Labas pasok sila. Lumaki sila na ang psychological set is there is no law or if there is one, it does not have a bite. The missing link between ito at generation natin is the fear to violate the law. Wala na yun. Even the sense of obedience, wala na."
He emphasized the reason he wants to clamp down on these criminals is to protect the youth who are the future of the country.
"Kaya ako, pag nagalit ako, talagang papatayin ko sila kasi ayaw ko kayong mapahamak sa masama. Trabaho ko yan. Na pag tapos na kami, patay na kaming lahat ng matatanda, kayo na, alam ninyo kung ano ang tama at mali at alam ninyo gaano i-protect yung mga anak ninyo," he said.
Duterte allies at the Lower House, acting on his campaign promise, have proposed to lower the age of criminal responsibility to 9 from the current 15.