Senate probes student rape incidents

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Education (DepEd) on Wednesday confirmed three rape incidents in Malabon, Sta. Maria, Bulacan and Ajuy, Iloilo — the victims and perpetrators were all minors.

Sen. Chiz Escudero, who chairs the Senate Committee on Education, Arts and Culture said his committee will determine whether this is still a DepEd problem or already a security issue.

“Inaalam at aalamin namin ang bagay na yan kung gaano talaga kalaganap kung saka-sakali at kung paano ito maiiwasan dahil nagaganap at nangyayayari yan madalas sa labas naman ng paaralan at hindi habang may klase (We are looking into its extent and how to deter such things because these usually happen outside the school and not during class hours),” he said.

This prompted question on whether the incidents are enough reasons to lower the age of criminal liability to nine years old.

“Pabor ako na tingnan muli yung lumang batas na Child and Youth Welfare Code, i-juxtapose sa kasalukuyang batas para makita ano ba ang pinakamagandang paraan para hindi lamang mabigyan ng katarungan pero mabigyan din ng pagkakataong ma-rehabilitate ang sinomang nagkamali sa murang edad, (I am in favor that we revert to the old law – Child and Welfare Code juxtaposed with the current law to determine what’s the best way not only to give justice but also provide opportunity to rehabilitate youth offenders),” said Escudero.

Under the law, which was decreed by former President Ferdinand Marcos, the sentence against a youth offender is suspended.

If the youth offender is rehabilitated and has behaved properly, the court will dismiss the case and expunge it from the records. Otherwise, he will be convicted and punished for the crime he committed once he is 21 years of age.

A bill is now pending in congress lowering the age of criminal liability to 9 years old.  — Roderic Mendoza | UNTV News and Rescue

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