/ 25 December 2021

SENATOR Panfilo Lacson called for a review of the Juvenile Justice Law to make it more effective and to introduce provisions that will also punish the neglectful parents of children who knowingly commit crimes.

Lacson cited a precedent involving a teenager charged with multiple crimes in the United States.

He issued the statement following a discussion on the loopholes of the Comprehensive Juvenile Justice and Welfare System in the country.

A youth leader expressed concern over the apparent inadequacy of Philippine laws on  juvenile justice, making it difficult for the Department of Social Welfare and Development to reform minors who turn to a life of crime.

Lacson had proposed a review of Republic Act 9344, the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006, to address some of its defects particularly in determining the age of discernment of children in conflict with the law.

“I think we need to revisit the law kasi na-test na ito—‘yung tinatawag na test of time—may mga isyu, may mga problemang na-e-encounter. Sabi mo nga, nag-commit ng crime, pero dahil nga covered ng batas dinadala lang sa DSWD, tapos ni-re-release din,” Lacson told the youth leader.

“I think we should revisit that law kasi may mga defects. ‘Yung age of discernment, masyadong malawak… Dapat medyo i-constrict natin nang konti ‘yung definition,” the veteran lawmaker said.

To this end, Lacson recommended that the parents of children in conflict with the law must also be held liable, if it can be proven beyond reasonable doubt that their neglect contributed to the criminal behavior of the child.

“I think dapat ding bigyan ng shared responsibility ‘yung parents, ano. Sa America, ‘di ba, have you heard about that minor who shot to death several persons? ‘Yung parents niya na-charge ng involuntary manslaughter,” he said.