GORDON REFILES BILL INCREASING PARENTAL LIABILITY
Sen. Richard Gordon has refiled a measure raising the penalty for parents whose child committed serious crimes.
In his Senate Bill No. 81, Gordon, who has retained chairmanship of the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights, said parents of children who committed serious crimes "shall suffer the penalty of prision correccional in its minimum period to prision correccional in its maximum period," or a minimum of six months and one day to a maximum of six years imprisonment.
This amended Article 60 of Presidential Decree 603, or the "Child and Youth Welfare Code, which imposes parental liability of "imprisonment from two to six months or a fine not exceeding five hundred pesos, or both, at the discretion of the court, unless a higher penalty is provided for in the Revised Penal Court or special laws."
Under the measure, any person, including the parent of a child, who use children in the commission of a crime, shall be imposed the penalty of reclusion perpetua (an imprisonment of 20 years and one day to 40 years) if the crime committed is punishable by imprisonment, or reclusion temporal (12 years and one day to 20 years) if the crime committed is punishable by imprisonment of six years or less.
During hearings conducted by the committee on proposals to lower the age of criminal liability, Gordon found out that not one criminal using minors to commit crimes had been charged or convicted. The same goes for the parents of these children.
Gordon also pointed out that children used in the commission of crimes could be used to testify against the criminals or syndicates but their safety should be ensured. He called on law enforcers to file charges against criminals or syndicates using minors to perpetrate their nefarious activities as well as the parents of these children.
The measure was passed on third reading during the previous Congress but was never ratified.
"The essence of nation is to prepare the youth for the future. Children should be part of nation-building but they should also have accountability. One crime done by a young person is one too many," he added.
The increased penalties for parental liability is in accordance with the pronouncements of President Rodrigo Duterte urging Congress to legislate provisions in the law that imposes punishment for parents of children in conflict with the law.
Duterte had said parents should be "conscious of the criminal accountability" of their children because they, too, would be held accountable for their children's offenses.