MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte on Saturday again blamed a law on juvenile justice authored by Sen. Francis Pangilinan for crimes being committed by minors.
Speaking before an audience in Puerto Princesa, Palawan, Duterte said law enforcers are now dealing with a lot crimes committed by minors because the Juvenile Justice Act allows offenders to be released if they are 15 years old or below.
"Kayong mga pulis, tell me. Kayo ngayon dito. Kailan lumala ang sitwasyon? Iyong pinasa ni --- sino 'tong p***** i**** 'to? Si... Pinasa niya ang batas sa juvenile law at tinaas niya from the indeterminate --- 'yung law noon. 15 years old di mo makulong,"
(You policemen tell me. You who are here. When did the situation worsen? When -- who is this [curses] He passed the law on juvenile law and he raised from the indeterminate--that law. Fifteen years old, you can't jail.)
According to this law, minors who commit crimes will not be jailed but instead be put under the custody of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). It says that children who are 15 years of age or under when the offense was committed shall be exempt from criminal liability.
"Ito 'yung mga 15 years old doon na makita mo diyan sa EDSA snatching tapos tatakbo lang."
(These are the 15 year-olds you see in EDSA snatching and then run away.)
Senate President Vicente Sotto III has filed a bill seeking to lower the age of criminal liability to 13.
Last year, former House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez proposed to lower it even further to 9 years old.
The United Nations has opposed this, saying it would be a step backwards for children's rights.