Cebu solon Garcia says Pangilinan Law forced many children into criminality
House Deputy Speaker and Cebu 3rd District Rep. Gwen Garcia said the Pangilinan Law (also known as Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006, or Republic Act 9344) has actually given crime syndicates an opportunity to abuse children
“We passed this law purportedly to protect our youth or our children. But, ako, I saw this mismo when I was a Governor of Cebu, my own personal experience. Instead of protecting children, this opened the floodgates for criminal syndicates and even criminal minded parents. Na gagamitin yung mga bata to commit crimes,” the lady politiko stressed.
Under the law, authored by then-Sen. Francis Pangilinan, young criminals aged 15 and below are exempted from imprisonment or other punishment, even if the act committed is a heinous crime.
In the case of young offenders between 16 and 18 years old, the Department of Social Welfare and Development is required to determine “if the perpetrator acted with discernment.”
“Palagi nang reklamo ng mga law enforcement agencies like the Philippine National Police, sasabihin nila, ang hirap. Kunwari may robbery doon, we really catch this 13 year old, eh haharapin pa raw sila. Magdadala ng birth certificate, ipapakita yung birth certificate nila,” Garcia stressed.
With this development, the Cebu solon said there is an urgent need to correct the Pangilinan Law.
“I repeat if at present, as it stands, the law which sought or purportedly was intended to protect children now have actually opened up children to abuse by criminal syndicates. And we need to correct that,” she added.
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