A cop-out

Sun.Star Pampanga - - OPINOIOPNINION -

jail­ing them to get them out of their faces.

The amend­ment stands to ac­com­plish noth­ing more than jail even more mi­nors as nine to four­teen year olds are now crim­i­nally re­spon­si­ble. Leg­is­la­tors ought to know that nei­ther ac­cept­able nor aber­rant so­cial be­hav­ior is a func­tion of age but of fam­ily up­bring­ing, school ed­u­ca­tion and so­cio-cul­tural mi­lieu. These chil­dren need a law that will en­sure pos­i­tive re­in­force­ment from these so­cial in­stit u t i on s.

Noth­ing is solved by jail­ing more mi­nors. It even cre­ates more prob­lems than it solves. DSWD has voiced the need for ad­di­tional jail fa­cil­i­ties for mi­nors who surely can­not be put in the same fa­cil­i­ties as those hold­ing hard­ened crim­i­nals. And what about more ju­ve­nile courts and judges to try cases against more mi­nors now? More, be­cause be­fore you could only try fif­teenyear olds but now, with the amend­ment, you are obliged by law to hail to court ninet en-el even-t w el ve-t hi r t een­four­teen-year olds. What ex­actly were leg­is­la­tors think­ing when they pro­posed this so-off-the-mark amend­ment?

CICL need spe­cial­ized so­cio-psy­cho­log­i­cal help. Mak­ing them crim­i­nally re­spon­si­ble at an even younger age will sim­ply make our jails over­flow with mi­nors. Our leg­is­la­tors should maybe come up with a law pin­ning the crim­i­nal re­spon­si­bil­ity on un­qual­i­fied guardians and tak­ing aban­doned or oth­er­wise un­cared for chil­dren from the lat­ter and make them wards of the state as many na­tions are do­ing that take the re­spon­si­bil­ity for their prob­lem chil­dren se­ri­ously.

The amend­ment low­er­ing the age of crim­i­nal re­spon­si­bil­ity from fifteen to nine is a cop-out. We can def­i­nitely do bet­ter with the hope of the fa­ther­land. And in­deed they are the fu­ture of this na­tion not just the well-cared for chil­dren of de­cent folks.

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By Or­lando P. Carvajal

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