PANGILINAN LAW MOLDING, PROTECTING YOUNG HOOLIGANS BY ROGER M. BALANZA

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On breeding young criminals

Vice Mayor Rodrigo Duterte has presented as an exhibit on how the Juvenile Justice Law molds youths into deadly hooligans and protects them from answering for crimes committed— a young man, who claims to be 17-years old, who robbed and shot dead in broad daylight nursing student Marjorie Kwan in Agdao District recently.

He is a product of the Pangilinan law, said Duterte in describing Carlo Maduyag Millado of Barpa, Barangay Leon Garcia, Agdao. The Juvenile Justice Act authored by Senator Francis Pangilinan could be a saving grace for Millado and free him from answering for his crime.

The Pangilinan law pegged the age of a “minor” at below 18 years old, who is not answerable for any crime committed.

Under the law, a minor could not be charged if he/she lacks “discernment” of the crime committed. Discernment here means that the young criminal should have appreciation of the consequence of the crime on the victim and society. Discernment or lack of it is determined by a special body created for the purpose led by sociologists of the social services bureau.

Duterte is among loud voices demanding that the Pangilinan law be amended for its provisions that protect the violent youth from answering for their crime.

Millado grew up in a village where crime is a habit: drunkenness, robbery, homicide, murder, etc., etc.

He is wise to the world of criminals, having been involved, according to the police blotters according to Duterte, in more than 30 criminal acts from petty to serious.

His latest caper, if he is not covered by the Pangilinan law, would have sent him straight to jail.

Alas, he says he is a minor! The worse that could happen—with the Kwan relatives crying over the killing—would be a stint for Millado, being a ‘minor’, at a halfway house for wayward youths with social workers dishing out lectures about the young being the hope of this blighted Philippines.

Soon, he would be out in the streets again to commit more crimes, with a Xerox copy of his birth certificate showing he is a minor and the Pangilinan law tucked in his pocket to show police the next time he is arrested for killing somebody.

There are many more Millados roaming Davao City today to rob, kill or maim or terrorize society, brazen in their criminal actions due to the Pangilinan law.

And there are many more Kwans waiting to be killed, robbed or maimed by these little demons.

The Pangilinan law bred young criminals and will continue to breed them if its provisions shielding young hooligans from responsibility for their violent acts due to age are not amended.

Should we say that the Dabawenyos are luckier they have the Davao Death Squad to depend on for retribution when the law fail to catch up with the young criminals? God help us. RMB

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