SAYS SENATOR BEHIND STEEP RISE IN YOUTH VIOLENCE
BY ROGER M. BALANZA
Davao City vice mayor Rodrigo Duterte is unstoppable in his harangue against Senator Francis Pangilinan over the Juvenile Justice Act that he said emboldened youth offenders to inflict misery on the public.
Duterte makes no bones about his disappointment at Pangilinan and the law he authored — the perennial target of his acerbic comments in his weekly television show, media interviews and in speaking engagements where the issue at hand is about children in conflict with the law (CICL).
The vice mayor on television also verbally lashed at lawyer Alberto Sipaco, the Davao director of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) for saying persons below 21 should be considered minors.
At the Ato ni Bay cable television program last week, Duterte said the Juvenile Justice Act authored by Senator Pangilinan stole away the sense of responsibility among youth offenders making them more brazen in committing more crimes.
The vice mayor, a strong supporter of public outcry against the law blamed for increase in youth violence, said both Pangilinan should share in the grief of relatives of victims of crimes by minors who go scot-free due to their age—Pangilinan for his authorship of the law and Sipaco, for his stand on the age that a person should be considered a “minor.”
Under the law, 15 years old cannot answer for their crimes, with those under 20 needed to have their discernment established.
Duterte said he is daring Sipaco to come up with a list of crimes committed during the last ten years in Davao City and their victims, where the perpetrators got off the hook because they were “minors.”
He said the Pangilinan law is a copy of a similar law in the United States that is not suitable to local settings and wanted the law amended.
Duterte said those below nine years old should be considered innocent, those above nine to 12 placed under observation, and the 12-year-olds and above made to answer for their crimes already having the capacity to discern. RMB