by Venus H. Sarmiento
DAGUPAN CITY — A Pangasinan lawyer said children should not be treated as criminals and definitely have no place in jail, indirectly opposing the clamor to revise the Juvenile Justice Act.
Atty. January Ragudo, member of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines-Pangasinan Chapter, said children who committed rape, drug pushing and other heinous crimes should not be punished like regular offenders because the law sees the children as ‘victims.’
“Children have no place in jail,” Ragudo said emphasizing that children could not choose their families and even the society or environment where they live.
The burden lies on the parents on how to raise their children responsibly, he added.
Parents’ liability for the child-offender is civil in nature, unless the parents themselves are teaching or encouraging their children to commit crimes. Given that scenario parents could be held principally liable for their child’s offense, he pointed out.
Ragudo said if a child is reared properly, he will learn to abide by the law and will be afraid to commit crimes, thus he will be far from being in conflict with the law.
“Although allowed to a certain extent na paluin ang bata, hindi allowed ang latay, corporal or inhuman punishments,” he said.
Correcting a child’s ways is good but parents should be careful that the child would not see the punishment in a negative aspect, he added.#