Press Release
March 28, 2016


Leading vice-presidential contender Sen. Francis "Chiz" Escudero has vowed to facilitate the construction of a separate detention facility for young offenders to ensure their protection, treatment and rehabilitation in the purview of the juvenile justice system.

Escudero said the full implementation of the country's existing juvenile justice law-Republic Act No. 10630 or the Juvenile Justice System and Welfare Act of 2013-would only be possible if the government builds a correctional facility exclusive for children and young people in conflict with the law.

The veteran lawmaker said he and his presidential running mate, Sen. Grace Poe, plan to allocate funds for the construction of a juvenile detention to effectively rehabilitate youth offenders.

"Layunin namin na maglagay ng hiwalay na detention facility at ang pondo ay dapat na manggaling sa national government. Hindi kasi kakayanin ng local government unit," Escudero said.

He added: "Kapag nagawa natin 'yan at hindi pa rin umuubra, doon natin siguro dapat tingnan kung paano pa natin maaayos ang batas. Pero tingnan muna natin 'yung proseso na may paglalagyan talaga sila na hiwalay sa common criminals pero naka-detain pa rin."

The vice-presidential race frontrunner said the rehabilitation center is an important component of RA 10630, which was signed into law by President Benigno Aquino III in 2013. But the lack of infrastructure for youth offenders hampers the full implementation of RA 10630.

Under the law, a child above 15 years old but below 18 years old can be exempt from criminal liability and be subjected to an intervention program unless he or she has acted with discernment.

However, the exemption from criminal liability does not include exemption from civil liability.

Escudero said the law explicitly provides that juvenile delinquents cannot be detained in municipal jails alongside hardened criminals as administrative and criminal charges await authorities who will violate the law.

"Young people who commit crimes should be treated differently than adult criminals, and the only way to do that is to put them in a juvenile detention center that would provide them with positive, pro-social opportunities and ultimately rehabilitation," Escudero said.

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