For President Rodrigo Duterte, the law is to be blamed for the number of children out on the…
During a campaign caravan in Eastern Visayas on March 22, Hugpong ng Pagbabago chairperson and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio expressed support for the lowering of the minimum age of criminal responsibility (MACR).
The presidential daughter made the comment as authorities investigated the murder of a 16-year-old girl in Cebu City, whose mutilated body was found on March 11. The primary suspect was the victim’s 17-year-old alleged ex-boyfriend.
The lowering of the MACR is meant to address youngsters’ criminality. In numerous speeches before and since winning the 2016 polls, the older Duterte has said that Republic Act 9344, authored by Sen. Francis Pangilinan, has produced a “generation of criminals” that have grown up with “no sense of accountability” because of a lax juvenile justice law.
The House of Representatives passed a bill on Jan. 28 holding children as young as 12 years old criminally liable for their actions -- three years younger than the current age limit of 15.
However, are the crimes committed by the country’s children as heinous as Duterte makes them out to be? Here are three things you need to know.
The number of children in conflict with the law (CICL) has recently gone down
According to Philippine National Police data, reported cases of CICL have been reduced by almost a fifth from 2016 to 2018. Under RA 9344, CICL refer to children who are “alleged as, accused of, or adjudged as having committed an offense under Philippine laws.”
From 14,389 cases in 2016 and 14,409 in 2017, PNP recorded just 11,324 incidents of CICL last year, a reduction of about 21 percent.
Minors’ crimes account for only 2% of total crimes nationwide
Top offenses by kids not heinous crimes
PNP data on CICL obtained by VERA Files shows that the top three offenses committed by minors from 2016 to 2018 are physical injury, theft, and malicious mischief resulting in damage to property.
The three also account for about 40 percent of the total CICL cases for each year.
However, VERA Files’ CICL data from the PNP tells a different story. Broken down by region to show the number of underage offenders of each of the 100 crimes recorded in 2016, 101 in 2017 and 116 in 2018, the data shows rape was the sixth most common offense in 2017, as well as sixth overall in the past three years.
More, while Duterte was correct in saying theft is a common crime of minors , theft cases have actually been on a downward trend since 2015.
GMA News Online, PHL embassy protests Washington Post story on killings, Feb. 26, 2019
Inquirer.net, Duterte, Cayetano want minimum age of criminal liability lowered to 12, Feb. 2, 2016
Manila Standard, PH-US defense pact likely item in Pompeo visit, Feb. 27, 2019
Philstar.com, PNP: Total crime volume down in 2018, Feb. 26, 2019
Philippine National Police, Data on Reported Children in Conflict with the Law Incident (CIRAS) 2016 to 2018.
Philippine National Police website, Form A PNP Performance Accomplishments FY 2016, n.d.
Philippine National Police website, Form A PNP Performance Targets and Accomplishments FY 2017, n.d.
Presidential Communication Operations Office, Media interview of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte following the groundbreaking ceremony of the new site of the San Lorenzo Ruiz General Hospital, Jan. 29, 2019
Presidential Communications Operations Office, Speech of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte during the 35th founding anniversary of Army Reserve Command (ARESCOM), Nov. 22, 2018
Radio Television Malacanang, Speech of President Rodrigo Duterte During the 7th Anniversary of Buhay OFW and Anti-Trafficking OFW Movement (ATOM) Launch, Oct. 18, 2017
Sun Star Davao, Duterte-Cayetano tandem vow to amend Juvenile Justice Law, Feb. 2, 2016
The Freeman, Duterte-Cayetano tandem eyes revision to Juvenile law, Feb. 4, 2016