VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Duterte repeats wrong claim that youth offenders go scot-free

Discouraging Filipinos to vote for opposition senator and vice presidential aspirant Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan, President Rodrigo Duterte again made false claims about the Juvenile Justice Welfare Act that the former had authored.

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Discernment is defined by the Supreme Court as a child’s capacity to “understand the difference between right and wrong and the consequences of the wrongful act.” (See VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Duterte misinforms public on juvenile justice law)

For serious crimes such as murder, rape, robbery with homicide, children in conflict with the law (CICL) who are 15 to 18 years old and committed the act with discernment, may undergo a diversion program, formulated depending on the weight of evidence, personal circumstances of the child, frequency and severity of the act, among other factors.

Those who have pending proceedings will have to stay at a Bahay Pag-Asa (House of Hope), a 24-hour juvenile detention center that provides residential care to children.

Children who are unable to avail of diversion will undergo normal court processes. If convicted, their identities shall remain confidential.

CICL who are 12 to 15 years old and have been found to have committed serious crimes are “exempted from criminal liability” but will be placed in a Bahay Pag-Asa for at least a year and will have intensive juvenile intervention.

The same goes to repeat offenders who have already undergone community intervention.

Editor’s note: This article was updated to include the video fact check.

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RTVMalacanang YouTube, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s Talk to the People, Jan. 10, 2022

RTVMalacanang YouTube, Part 1: President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s Talk to the People, Jan. 4, 2022

Official Gazette of the Philippines, RA No. 9344: Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006, April 28, 2006

Official Gazette of the Philippines, RA No. 10630: Act amending Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006, Oct. 3, 2013

Juvenile Justice Welfare Council, Revised Rules and Regulations Implementing Republic Act No. 8 9344, as amended by R.A. 10630

(Guided by the code of principles of the International Fact-Checking Network at Poynter, VERA Files tracks the false claims, flip-flops, misleading statements of public officials and figures, and debunks them with factual evidence. Find out more about this initiative and our methodology.)