Gov't preys on kids to 'cover up' failure in arresting drug lords–NUPL
MANILA, Philippines — The Duterte administration focuses on criminalizing children to cover up its failure to arrest drug lords and syndicates, the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL) said on Wednesday.
“The Duterte administration has finally unmasked the beast in it preying on the lives of the young and innocent to cover up its incompetence and epic failure in conquering lords and syndicates of adult offenders,” NUPL said in a statement.
The NUPL’s latest stand on the issue came after the House Justice panel approved Monday a bill lowering the age of criminal liability from 15 to nine years old.
NUPL then said the proposed bill abandoned government’s mandate to uphold and protect the children’s rights as per the 1987 Constiution and 1990 UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
“The proponents of this piece of legislation have let down and abandoned the State’s domestic and international obligations of protecting and upholding children’s rights as mandated by the 1987 Constitution and the 1990 UN Convention on the Rights of the Child,” the organization said.
The lawyers’ group also raised concerns on the specific rehabilitation that will be offered to children who will be committed in the Bahay Pag-asa or the children rehabilitation center.
“This monster bill introduces the concept of rehabilitation, distinct from intervention and diversion, which is also a cause for a 9 year-old to be committed in a Bahay Pag-asa. However, the bill fails to define what rehabilitation shall constitute and how it shall be done as well as the circumstances that will merit a child’s commitment therein,” the group said.
“It must be underscored that when children’s rights and interests are involved, laws should never be vague and subject to different interpretations. Otherwise, we will be leaving to the infantile whims of interpreters of the law the liberty and future of these children,” NUPL added. /jpv