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IBP vs PNP: On Decriminalization of Minors
« on: August 13, 2007, 10:01:18 AM »
Reported By KIT BAGAIPO
The Bohol Chronicle


Amid a growing clamor for amendments on the new law protecting minor offenders, the president of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) Bohol Chapter and the Bohol PNP chief expressed their own views on the decriminalization of offenses committed by minors below 15 years old.

IBP-Bohol president Isabelo Sales, Jr. is among those who call for amendments to Republic Act 9344 or the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act.

Sales aired his views during the launching of the joint IBP and Bohol Sandugo Jaycees radio program "Punto Legal" over dyRD that the law is being used to the disadvantage of the general public.

He said that while RA 9344 is intended to help innocent youngsters, it is largely abused by juvenile delinquents.

Under the law, minor offenders aged 15 and below have no criminal liability. Offenders aged 16 to 17, acting without discernment, also don't get arrested or charged in court.

Instead of placing offenders in detention cells, the law states that they should be referred to rehabilitation centers while the younger ones are returned to their parents.

There are minors who habitually break the law, Sales said.

Amendments should be made on the law, according to Sales, without eliminating the intent to help youthful offenders while penalizing the juvenile delinquents.

The IBP president urged that the law's main sponsor, Sen. Francis Pangilinan, be informed of possible revisions citing the crimes being committed by youngsters that would be penalized.

"There should be a way, that amendments be introduced not only for the benefit of the youth but for the benefit of the larger community," Sales stressed.

"GOOD LAW"

Meanwhile, Bohol police director SSupt. Edgardo Ingking defended RA 9344 saying that children needs the protection of the justice system.

Ingking said that although the law goes against the goal of law enforcers, it is important to consider that children are victims themselves.

"Although a crime has been committed by a minor, it looks at minor offenders as victims and not as perpetrators," he said. "In my personal opinion, it is a good law, since it focuses on the problem of children."

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