Failon Ngayon: Butas sa batas

Posted at 10/19/10 3:16 PM

“Nagtatanong ako sa sarili ko kung mabubuhay ba siya. (I would ask myself if she’d even make it out alive)” Aling “Dominga” said as she stood by her daughter’s bed side. She couldn’t help but burst into tears while looking at her daughter “Anna”, whose head and neck was riddled with scratches and woulds. The marks on her neck look like as if someone had attempted to slit her throat.

“Anna”, 15 years old, was a rape and attempted murder victim.

According to “Anna”, she went to a neighbor’s house to take a bath then went home when she had finished. While dressing up, she saw the suspect standing by the door. Immediately, she told the person to leave because she was dressing up, but instead, the person came at her and started touching her in her private parts.

“Anna” started screaming for help but was repeatedly struck by a rock. She kept screaming and the suspect kept hitting her with a rock, until she lost consciousness. She could not remember anything after that.

“Anna” has been able to identify the suspect as “Mic-Mic”, who is currently in hiding. All that “Anna” and her mother want more than anything is to have the suspect brought to justice, unfortunately, according to the country’s justice system, the suspect does not have any criminal liability.

The suspect is only 14 years old.

According to Republic Act No. 9344 or the “Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006”, a child under 15 years old who has committed a crime does not possess any criminal liability. No matter how grave or how brutal the crime “Mic-mic” had allegedly committed against “Anna”, he cannot be imprisoned.

According to authorities like the police, the number of children involved in crimes has risen since the implementation of this law. In the first semester of 2009, there have been 1,153 children who have been in conflict with the law, and 119 of these children were involved in rape cases. Those numbers have almost doubled for this year, with 2,062 children in conflict with the law, and 184 of them were rape cases.

The cited law means well, and aims to prevent children from having to experience incarceration. It gives children who have done wrong a chance to redeem themselves and change their ways, but unfortunately there have been problems in implementing this law, and the tendency has been to abuse the stipulations of this law, that being the reason for the large number of minorities in conflict with the law.

Aling “Dominga” has accepted the fact that the suspect will not be imprisoned, no matter how serious the crime he commited, but she hopes that this will serve as a lesson not only to them, but to children everywhere.

“Sa ngayon, kung mahuli man siya, alam kong hindi naman siya makukulong kaagad. Ang sa akin lang, sana ‘wag na rin siyang pagtularan ng ibang kabataan. Aral na rin sa aming mga magulang din, kasi ganyan nga yung nagyari. (I know that if he gets caught now, he won’t be imprisoned immediately. I just hope that other children don’t do what he did, and it’s also a lesson to us parents, because of what happened.)”

Whatever crime committed by how ever old the suspect is, it can all be traced back to family. Family environment and upbringing is definitely a factor in how children decide to act. October 16, 2010