Heavier penalties for ‘delinquent’ parents eyed

February 01, 2019

PARENTS who will be found remiss in monitoring their children who committed serious crimes should face a maximum of 6 years jail sentence, the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights has recommended.

The Senate panel proposed in their committee report the raising of the penalty for parents whose child, aged 12 years old but below 18 years, committed serious crimes.

The 13-page Committee Report 622 contains the lowering of minimum age of criminal liability (MACR) from 15 years old to 12.

Under the measure, parents of children who committed serious crimes “shall suffer the penalty of prision correccional in its minimum period to prision correccional in its maximum period,” or a minimum of six months and one day to a maximum of six years imprisonment.

This would amend Article 60 of Presidential Decree 603, or the “Child and Youth Welfare Code, which imposes parental liability of “imprisonment from two or six months or a fine not exceeding five hundred pesos, or both, at the discretion of the court, unless a higher penalty is provided for in the Revised Penal Court or special laws...”

Meanwhile, under Section 20-D of Republic Act 10630, or “An Act Establishing a Comprehensive Juvenile Justice and Welfare System” enacted on July 23, 2012, “the court may require the parents of a child in conflict with the law to undergo counseling...”

The increased penalties for parental liability is in accordance with the recent pronouncements of President Rodrigo Duterte urging Congress to legislate provisions in the law that imposes punishment for parents of children in conflict with the law.

Duterte had said parents should be “conscious of the criminal accountability” of their children because they, too, would be held accountable for their children’s offenses.

Among the serious crimes minors today commit are parricide, murder, infanticide, kidnapping, serious illegal detention where the victim is killed or raped, robbery with homicide or rape, destructive arson, rape, or carnapping where the driver or occupant is killed or raped, or offenses under Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 that is punishable by more than 12 years in prison.