Batas Mauricio .
NOW that even President Duterte is blaming Sen. Francis Pangilinan for the lack of discipline gripping the Filipino youth in the four corners of the Philippine archipelago today, on account of Pangilinan’s Juvenile Justice Law, there is a need for Malacanang to also investigate the lawmaker and find out what truly motivated him to push that kind of a law.
For, insinuations and innuendos are rife as to why Pangilinan worked so hard to remove any criminal liability on the part of children who have committed crimes, even if they are aged only 15 years old or below. Among these is a serious accusation by the senator’s detractors that, they said, tried to explain why he acted the way he did.
What is this serious allegation? According to some people I already talked to on the matter, Pangilinan was actuated by purely personal interests, which he must endeavor to clarify posthaste: is it true that he had relatives who were of very tender ages when they committed a serious crime and whom he desperately wanted to save from incarceration? Senator Kiko must tell the people the truth about this.
This issue on Pangilinan’s law had already been repeatedly discussed, tackled, and tossed over in this column. I have been saying then that this law negatively impacted on our children.
But, surprisingly, not even one congressman or senator dared to act to set aside the law. Almost all of our lawmakers have chosen to remain silent about this, firmly closing their minds collectively, as if all of them were fearful to cross swords with Pangilinan.
Because Pangilinan’s law remained valid and binding nationally, wayward children roamed freely to commit even the most heinous of crimes. This gave rise to nightly riots in many places. Syndicates also took advantage of Pangilinan’s law to further their operations, with minor children being utilized by them to the hilt since they could not be arrested anyway.
What is more, the law instilled fear and doubt on barangay tanods or village policemen, on social workers, and even on policemen and other law enforcement authorities who even had to face criminal cases instituted by parents of erring children they have arrested. The uniform accusation against the authorities was that they violated Pangilinan’s law when they acted to stop juvenile criminals from their criminality.
Pangilinan’s law is also said to be the reason why minors no longer have any desire nor any aptitude to learn in their schools, especially in public schools being run under the leadership of Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones of the Department of Education.
Why, school-aged children can no longer be subjected to disciplinary measures by their teachers or other school authorities because of Pangilinan’s law, even if the children no longer attend classes or study their lessons. Truly, because of this law, the Filipino youth have been transformed irretrievably from being the “hope of the fatherland” to being the “curse of the nation.”
I really don’t know if Kiko Pangilinan can still sleep soundly at night with what he had done. But we should not lose sight of the fact that he is not solely to be blamed either for this monumental fiasco. The lawmakers who approved of his measure then, and even the president who signed that measure into law, must also share the blame, or must likewise be held answerable for this crime against the Filipino youth.