The House of Representatives has approved on third and final reading a bill providing just and proficient parameters in the treatment of children in conflict with the law, especially youth offenders who acted with discernment.
House Bill 6052, which seeks to strengthen the Juvenile Justice System in the country, amends Republic Act 9344 or the "Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006."
HB 6052 substituted six separate but related measures consolidated and sponsored in plenary by the Committee on Revision of Laws chaired by Rep. Marlyn L. Primicias-Agabas (6th Dist., Pangasinan).
The authors of the bill are Reps. Salvador Escudero III (1st Dist., Sorsogon); Cinchona Cruz Gonzales (Party-list CIBAC); Mel Senen Sarmiento (1st Dist., Western Samar); Jerry P. Trenas (Lone Dist., Iloilo City); Karlo Alexei B. Nograles (1st Dist., Davao City); Pablo Garcia (2nd Dist., Cebu); Mary Mitzi Cajayon (2nd Dist., Caloocan City); Roberto Puno (1st Dist., Antipolo City); and Rex Gatchalian (1st Dist., Valenzuela City).
The bill defines youthful offender as a child above 12 but at least 15 years of age who acted with discernment and a child above 15 years old but under 18 years of age at the time of the alleged commission of a criminal offense.
The measure also suspends the sentence of a child 12 years of age or under and a child above 12 years old but at least 15 years of age who acted with discernment and was found guilty of an offense, but mandates that the child be committed to a repository institution or to the custody of the DSWD or any duly licensed agency.
If the child failed to comply with the conditions of the repository institutions mentioned, the child would be returned to the committing court for the imposition of the penalty upon reaching 18 years of age.
If the offense charged is murder, parricide, homicide, kidnapping, rape, robbery, drug trafficking or other offenses punishable by more than 12 years, such child shall be presumed to have acted with discernment.
Under the measure, the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Council, which is currently attached to the Department of Justice, shall, upon enactment of the measure, be attached to the Department of Social Welfare and Development and placed under the latter’s administrative supervision.
The JJVVC is also mandated, among others, to conduct, every three years, a study on the age of discernment of Filipino children which shall be the basis for legislative review of the minimum age of criminal responsibility.
The co-authors of the bill are Reps. Erico Aumentado (2nd Dist., Bohol); Anthony T. Golez, Jr. (Lone Dist., Bacolod City); Romeo M. Acop (2nd Dist., Antipolo City); Pedro P. Romualdo (Lone Dist., Camiguin); Rene Relampagos (1st Dist., Bohol); Rufus Rodriguez (2nd Dist., Cagayan de Oro City); Cesar Sarmiento (Lone Dist., Catanduanes); Jeci Lapus (3rd Dist., Tarlac); Carlo Lopez (2nd Dist., Manila); Mercedes Alvarez (6th Dist., Negros Occidental); Ma. Zenaida B. Angping (3rd Dist., Manila); Susan A. Yap (2nd Dist., Tarlac); Arnel Cerafica (1st Dist., Taguig City-Pateros) and Primicias-Agabas.
House of Representatives