Drugs agency wants parents of offenders jailed-A A +A
Thursday, May 5, 2011
AS MORE and more children are becoming couriers and sellers of illegal drugs, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) wants the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006 amended to include penalties for parents of these minors.
Emerson R. Rosales, officer-in-charge of the PDEA in Davao, said drug syndicates are using minors as couriers knowing that they have to be returned to the custody of their parents when caught.
But because of the extensive use of minors in this illegal trade, only the children are caught.
"Ang mahuli natin yung mga minors, instead of yung nasa likod talaga ng illegal na gawain. Yung mga minors naman na huhuli, hindi naman natin pwede ikulong kaagad dahil sa batas na nakasaad na hindi nga pwede," Rosales said.
The Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act, or Republic Act 9344 is a virtual reproduction of Western juvenile laws penned by Senator Francis Pangilinan, who has been receiving criticisms from local governments and law enforcers.
The law provides that the youngsters under at the time of the commission of an act or omissions are generally exempt from criminal liabilities.
For those found to have acted with discernment, their liability is suspended and they are to be committed to a children's institution until they reach 18 years old.
For lack of such institutions, since the law did not include the infrastructure for the implementation, the offenders are released back to their communities.
"Dapat sana paggawa nila niyan (law), nagpatayo na rin sila ng mga facilities para sa ganitong purpose. Malaking problema kasi pag wala tayong facilites, nag-aalaga tayo ng monsters, na in the future silang papatay sa new generation," Rosales said.
Thus, Rosales supports the calls for parents to take the brunt for their children's crime since minors cannot be imprisoned or fined for their involvement in illegal activities pursuant to the law.
The suggestion was raised by the PDEA Director III Wilkins V. Villanueva of Metro Manila.
"Hindi naman sa ikukulong, pero they would be held for civil liability. Pwede rin makulong depende sa crime kung sakali makitaan na accessories pala sila sa ginagawa ng kanilang mga anak," Rosales said.
Senior Inspector Leonardo Pamplona, deputy chief of the Davao City Police Office's Intelligence and Detection Management Branch (DCPO-IDMB), echoed the same sentiment, as many minors are now involved in gangs that frequently figure in riots.
Pamplona said some of these children are even involved in robbery and killings.
Rosales said there is continuous trade in illegal drugs, as the PDEA quarterly report showed that this year, the agency confiscated around 43.1005 grams of shabu, 6.8 kilos of marijuana dried leaves, 6.99 grams of marijuana sticks, 443 grams of marijuana tops, 124 pieces of marijuana plants, and 44 pieces of marijuana seeds in Davao Region alone.
Unlike last year's first quarter record that only reported 22.1584 grams of shabu, 26.877 kilos of marijuana dried leaves, 0.5 grams of marijuana sticks, 46.2 grams of marijuana tops, 1,502 pieces of marijuana plants, and 324 marijuana seeds seized.
The prevailing price of shabu is P7,500 to 8,000 per gram, while fully grown marijuana plant goes for P170 each. Marijuana seedlings cost P50 per small pack, marijuana dried leaves at P35, marijuana cigarette or stick costs P20, and ecstacy at P1,500 to 1,700 per tablet.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on May 05, 2011.