Social Threat of Juvenile Delinquency

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SOCIAL THREAT OF JUVENILE DELIQUENCY
armando c. ceralde april 11, 2012
pangasinan state university

This position paper discusses the increasing number of minor offenders in our society. Juvenile delinquency has been the topic of several discussions and debates among lawmakers and social groups who express their concerns and views citing that it is a serious issue in the society.

Historically, the first law that concerns the issue is the P.D. 603 (Child and Youth Welfare Code) signed in December 10, 1974. Under this law, youth offenders were viewed as victims not aggressors. They were oriented to rehabilitation for reformation with the purpose of integrating them into the mainstream society managed by the Juvenile Domestic Relations Court. By virtue of the Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980 (B.P. 129), the authority over the adjudication of the juvenile (and domestic) cases was then designated to Regional and Municipal Courts which cannot act exclusively on proceedings for youth offenders because functions also as courts of general jurisdiction. This means that rehabilitation for reformation cannot be implemented according to purpose.

Children under the age of nine are exempt from criminal responsibility and those between nine and fifteen are liable only if they are able to demonstrate discernment, which is a level of intellectual maturity including the ability to distinguish right from wrong. P.D. 1179 qualifies a youthful offender over nine (9) but not under eighteen years of age at the time of his commission of a crime.

Children under the age of nine are exempt from criminal responsibility and those between nine and fifteen are liable only if they are able to demonstrate discernment, which is a level of intellectual maturity including the ability to distinguish right from wrong. P.D. 1179 qualifies a youthful offender over nine (9) but not under eighteen years of age at the time of his commission of a crime.

This is followed by R.A. 9344 also known as the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006. Under this law, offenders who are fifteen 15 years old and below be exempted from criminal liability. Furthermore, it modified the juvenile interventions; one of which is the establishment of community-based programmes on juvenile justice and welfare. These features of the new law on youth offenders heaved various views and have heated up arguments citing the current situations on juvenile delinquency.

Body of the Paper

Most people who usually gather in groups hang around the streets and social places are minors. It is strange that they linger too long even on unusual times when they are supposed to be home or in school. Many of them particularly the youngest ones approach people asking for money or food without hesitation and they can deceive with pitiful and innocent facial expression but suddenly transformed insensitive. Upon receiving some, they will be found gambling or smoking cigarette. However, most children at age 10 are already aware of what is right from wrong. The proof is that they avoid or evade from authorities whenever they are doing something “wrong” – meaning they know it is ‘wrong’. In other words they can already discern right from wrong. As for the older children, they simply linger from one place to another scattered around and before people notice, they are gone and somebody’s belongings are gone, too. They become snatchers and thieves from the streets to establishments and learn more crimes and tough ones because they get used to it and become their way of living. “The crimes involved run from general disorderliness and insubordinations to acts of gravest violence, not to exclude murder” (Philippine Hierarchy, 1957).

The law enforcement agencies cannot arrest and detain them because they are minors as mandated by R.A. 9344 that offenders under 15 years old are exempted from criminal liability. The police may apprehend the young offenders aged 15 years but not over 18 years...
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