WATCH | Duterte hits Kiko again, blames senator for PH problem on child criminality

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File photos of President Rodrigo Duterte (from Reuters) and Sen. Francis 'Kiko' Pangilinan (from Philstar)

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte once again lashed at Sen. Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan, blaming the opposition leader for the country’s problem on child criminality.

“You know, in this country, 15 below, they do not incur any criminal liability…But if there is one single person who’s responsible for all of these criminality, when that law took effect, it is Senator Pangilinan,” the President said on Wednesday during his speech at the Palace before members of the ASEAN Law Association Governing Council.

Duterte said that while Pangilinan “is my friend” and “I do not deny his competence,” the law that the senator had supposedly copied from the U.S. was incomplete and thus ineffective.

“They go abroad. They travel. Then they observe penitentiaries and maybe in the State of Washington not DC, Washington State, Seattle, or the Juvenile Offenders’ Law of New York. He copied the 15 year olds below, no criminal liability,” the chief executive said.

“But he (Pangilinan) did not provide for after the arrest mechanisms. He could have done it by making a law that would make everything compulsory,” said Duterte.

“After the arrest, that boy has to be placed in a halfway house or facility to learn more about criminal responsibility or even the sense of accountability,” the President added.

The President was apparently referring to Republic Act 9344, the original Pangilinan Law also known as the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006.

The law had already been amended through R.A. 10630 or the Act Strengthening the Juvenile Justice System, which was enacted in 2013.

Section 20-A of R.A. 10630 states that, “A child who is above 12 years of age up to 15…and who commits parricide, murder, infanticide, kidnapping and serious illegal detention where the victim is killed or raped, robbery, with homicide or rape, destructive arson, rape, or carnapping where the driver or occupant is killed or raped or offenses under Republic Act No. 9165 (Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002) punishable by more than 12 years of imprisonment, shall be deemed a neglected child under Presidential Decree No. 603, as amended.”

The same section stated that the child offender “shall be mandatorily placed in a special facility within the youth care faculty or Bahay Pag-asa called the Intensive Juvenile Intervention and Support Center.”

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