Police official warns vs ‘child terrorists’

By Nancy C. Carvajal
Last updated 07:34am (Mla time) 07/27/2007

MANILA, Philippines — A police official Thursday sought a review of the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006 (Republic Act 9344), saying it could be used by terrorists and other criminals.


Chief Superintendent Pedro Tango, director of the Northern Police District, said children could be “brainwashed or threatened to carry out terrorist activities and used as a tool to commit heinous crimes.”


“The police cannot pursue a case against a minor, and criminals know this,” he said.


Thus, he said, RA 9344 should be “reviewed to give police the authority to take custody of and prosecute child offenders who committed terrorist activities and high criminal offenses.”


He added that the cases of children in conflict with the law who are neither hard-core criminals nor recidivists should be addressed separately.


Tango pointed out that child offenders in middle-class areas were different from those in depressed areas.


“The physical and environmental conditions of the offender should also be considered and treated adequately,” he said.


Even if the same children are rearrested for the same offense, they have to be released without charge, he said. “Otherwise, the arresting officer could be charged with violation of RA 9344.”


These cases mostly involve snatching, robbery and physical injury, according to police records.


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