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Under Duterte’ we’ve seen large numbers of high-profile drug-cases dismissed and acquitted by the higher and lower courts of the land. In fact, in just 3 separate decisions from December 2018 to January 2019. Yes, just this 2019 the Supreme Court’s 2nd and 3rd Divisions acquitted a total of 6 drug suspects and ordered them immediately released from jail.
Under Duterte. Many druglords freed
Most notably the dismissal of Kerwin Espinosa, Peter Lim and other narcotics dealers involved in the 2016 drug trafficking case is an interesting irony in Duterte’s bloody war on drugs. It looks like that this administration, which is addicted to eradicating drug addicts by killing them, is the same administration that acquits a self-confessed drug lord and his big-time cohorts because of “weak evidence.?
Even Duterte promoted the same prosecutor who dismissed the cases of Peter Lim and Kerwin Espinosa.
If you remember last year. Fiscal Aristotle Reyes, one of the two Department of Justice (DOJ) prosecutors who dismissed the drug charges against Peter Lim, Kerwin Espinosa, and their accomplices, is now promoted by Duterte himself as a regional trial court (RTC) judge.
If there are many drug lords freed by Duterte at the height of his war against drugs. It makes us all wonder — is Duterte really fighting drugs or simply protecting them?
Now the biggest irony of it all. He has since been bragging about his achievements in slaughtering thousands of innocent lives in his bid to dominate the drug-trade scene. Was it really a war against drugs? Or a war against competition?
Duterte wants to lock-up 9 year olds..
Just days ago. In the House of Representative Justice Committee. Voting 9-1, the panel approved a substitute bill amending Republic Act No. 9344, or the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006 to lower the minimum age of criminal responsibility to 9 years old.
The Philippines already has a separate justice system for children, through the Juvenile Justice Law of 2006, that must be fully and effectively implemented. Lowering the minimum age of criminal responsibility (MACR) is a shortsighted solution that will mostly affect the children of the poor.
The MACR 15 years old is the lowest age by which a person can be charged in court and jailed.
We must not ignore scientific evidence that shows that criminalizing children does not solve the problem of children committing crimes; it only encourages re-offending. The change we want to see most is the stronger implementation of the Juvenile Justice Law.
Here are 5 more reasons why the MACR should NOT be lowered:
1. Children are not little adults.
Scientific research shows that “children and adolescents differ significantly from adults in decision-making, propensity to engage in risky behavior, impulse control, identity development, and overall maturity.” (Psychological Association of the Philippines, 2016)
Hence, a child should not be held to the same standards as adults. Too young to vote, get married, and have a driver’s license but not too young to be charged for a crime and be held in jails?
2. It will not result in lower crime rates.
According to the Philippine National Police, children commit only 1.72% of total crimes in the Philippines. Most are petty crimes like theft, which is often linked to poverty.
3. Lowering the minimum age of criminal responsibility will not stop syndicates from using children.
It will encourage syndicates to use children younger than 9 or 12 years old.
4. The Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006 does not need to be amended. It needs to be fully implemented.
The law already provides guidelines on how children who commit crimes should be handled. Contrary to popular belief, children who commit serious offenses are held accountable. But instead of receiving harsh punishments, the child is placed in a youth care facility or Bahay Pag-Asa to undergo intensive intervention programs supervised by a multi-disciplinary team.
5. Jail is no place for a child.
Due to lack of youth care facilities, children will most likely end up in jails where they may be subjected to violence and abuse. Detention should be the last resort, not the first and only option.