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Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act

Atty. Cecilio D. Duka, Ed.D.

Professor of Law
San Sebastian College

A La Juventud Filipina
por Jose Rizal
Alza su tersa frente,
Juventud Filipina, en este da!
Luce resplandeciente
Tu rica gallarda,
Bella esperanza de la Patria Mia!

To the Filipino Youth

by: Jose Rizal
Hold high the brow serene,
O youth, where now you stand;
Let the bright sheen
Of your grace be seen,
Fair hope of my fatherland!

Child refers to a person under the age of eighteen (18) years. (Sec. 4(c), RA 9344)

Refers to person below eighteen (18) years of age or those over 18 years old but are
unable to fully take care of themselves or protect themselves from abuse, neglect, cruelty,
exploitation or discrimination because of a physical or mental disability or condition (Section 3,
Republic Act No. 7610 (1992)

Biblical Foundation
Train up the child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.
(Proverbs 22:6)

Philosophical Foundation
The mind of the child at birth is like a "tabula rasa", or a blank tablet John Locke

1989 UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

Convinced that the family, as the fundamental group of society and the natural
environment for the growth and well-being of all its members and particularly children, should be
afforded the necessary protection and assistance so that it can fully assume its responsibilities
within the community,
Recognizing that the child, for the full and harmonious development of his or her
personality, should grow up in a family environment, in an atmosphere of happiness, love and
understanding, Considering that the child should be fully prepared to live an individual life in
society, and brought up in the spirit of the ideals proclaimed in the Charter of the United
Nations, and in particular in the spirit of peace, dignity, tolerance, freedom, equality and

Constitutional Basis
The State values the dignity of every human person and guarantees full respect for
human rights. (Sec.11, Art. II)
The State recognizes the sanctity of family life and shall protect and strengthen the
family as a basic autonomous social institution. It shall equally protect the life of the mother and
the life of the unborn from conception.
The natural and primary right and duty of parents in the rearing of the youth for civic
efficiency and the development of moral character shall receive the support of the Government.
(Sec.12 Art. II)
The State recognizes the vital role of the youth in nation-building and shall promote and
protect their physical, moral, spiritual, intellectual, and social well-being.
It shall inculcate in the youth patriotism and nationalism, and encourage their involvement in
public and civic affairs. (Sec.13, Art. II)

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The State shall defend the right of children to assistance, including proper care and
nutrition, and special protection from all forms of neglect, abuse, cruelty, exploitation and other
conditions prejudicial to their development. (Sec. 3(2), Art XV)

French juvnile
Latin juvenilis, from juvenis young person
Physiologically immature or undeveloped

Juvenile Justice
Juvenile justice is the area of criminal law applicable to persons not old enough to be
held responsible for criminal acts.
The main goal of the juvenile justice system is rehabilitation rather than punishment.

Law on Juvenile Justice

R.A. No. 9344 was enacted into law on April 28, 2006 and took effect on May 20, 2006.
Its intent is to promote and protect the rights of a child in conflict with the law or a child at risk by
providing a system that would ensure that children are dealt with in a manner appropriate to
their well-being through a variety of disposition measures such as care, guidance and
supervision orders, counseling, probation, foster care, education and vocational training
programs and other alternatives to institutional care.
It provides them the opportunity and chance, thru alternative child-friendly measures, to reform
and be reintegrated into their family and community as a productive member of society. (Sierra
vs. People of the Philippines, July 3, 2009)

Children are victims

Juveniles in conflict with the law are victims of circumstances beyond their control should be
treated as individuals with a problem need help and need to be provided with appropriate
assistance and services to ensure the full protection of their rights for survival, protection,
development and participation.

Minority as an Exempting Circumstance

This law modifies as well the minimum age limit of criminal irresponsibility for minor
It changed what paragraphs 2 and 3 of Article 12 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC), as
amended in determining exemption from criminal liability. (Sierra vs. People of the Philippines,
July 3, 2009)

In providing exemption, the new law as the old paragraphs 2 and 3, Article 12 of the
RPC did presumes that the minor offenders completely lack the intelligence to distinguish right
from wrong, so that their acts are deemed involuntary ones for which they cannot be held
accountable The current law also drew its changes from the principle of restorative justice that it
espouses. It considers the ages 9 to 15 years as formative years and gives minors of these
ages a chance to right their wrong through diversion and intervention measures. (Sierra vs.
People of the Philippines, July 3, 2009)

Restorative Justice
Restorative Justice is the appropriate way of resolving conflicts with the maximum
involvement of the victim, offender and the community
with the end goal of healing and reconciliation and reintegration of the offender into the society.

Child in Conflict with the Law (CICL)

"Child in Conflict with the Law" refers to a child who is alleged as, accused of, or
adjudged as, having committed an offense under Philippine laws. (Sec. 4(e), RA 9344)

Age of criminal exemption raised from 9 to 15 years old

Fifteen (15) years old is within the stage of adolescence the transition age which is
characterized by curiosity, try-outs, and identity crisis. These circumstances expose them to
risky and delinquent behavior. At this age, children are not yet emotionally stable and their
social judgment has not yet matured.

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Studies on Youth Offenders
1. Arrested Development: The Level of Discernment of Out-of-School Children and
Youth conducted by the Philippine Action for Youth Offenders (PAYO)
2. Beyond Innocence: A Study on the Age of Discernment of Filipino Children by the
Council for the Welfare of Children.

Child at risk (Sec. 4(d), RA 9344)

"Child at Risk" refers to a child who is vulnerable to and at the risk of committing criminal
offenses because of personal, family and social circumstances, such as, but not limited to, the
(1) being abused by any person through sexual, physical, psychological, mental,
economic or any other means and the parents or guardian refuse, are unwilling, or unable to
provide protection for the child;
(2) being exploited including sexually or economically;
(3) being abandoned or neglected, and after diligent search and inquiry, the parent or
guardian cannot be found;
(4) coming from a dysfunctional or broken family or without a parent or guardian;
(5) being out of school;
(6) being a street child;
(7) being a member of a gang;
(8) living in a community with a high level of criminality or drug abuse; and
(9) living in situations of armed conflict.

Will CICL who are criminally exempt just go scot free?

No. The child will undergo an intervention program as agreed with the social worker, or
CICL and his/her family and the victim.
The program will include activities and services that will help the CICL in gaining insight
into his behavior, attitude and values and redirect counter-productive behavior patterns and anti-
social attitudes into more productive and constructive ones.
The CICL and his/her family will regularly report to the social worker and adhere to the
agreed intervention program.

Intervention refers to a series of activities designed to address issues that caused the
child to commit an offense.
It may take the form of an individualized treatment program which include counseling,
skills training, education, and other activities that will enhance his/her psychological, emotional
and psycho-social well-being.
The intervention program involves the case management process to include
assessment, planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation.
This will ensure careful and in-depth study of the case to ensure its proper handling and
the provision of appropriate programs and services.

What happen to CICL who commit heinous crimes such as rape or murder?
a. For those who are 15 years old and below and those above 15 years old but below 18
who acted without discernment -
They will undergo an intervention program
b. For those above 15 years old and who acted with discernment If the offense
committed has an imposable penalty of more than six years of imprisonment (as in cases of
rape or murder), the law provides that the child shall undergo court proceedings.
When brought to court, the child may be placed under suspended sentence and be
subjected to rehabilitation programs.
In no instance shall the CICL be put in jail.
The child can also avail of the diversion program, if qualified.

Diversion refers to an alternative process in determining the responsibility and treatment
of children in conflict with the law without resorting to formal court proceedings.
Its mechanisms include conferencing, mediation and counseling.
The diversion program shall include adequate socio-cultural and psychological
responses and services for the child.

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At the level of the Punong Barangay:
1. Restitution of property
2. Reparation of the damage caused
At the level of the Punong Barangay
3. Indemnification for consequential damages
4. Written or oral apology
5. Care, guidance and supervision orders
6. Attendance in trainings, seminars and lectures on:
a. anger management skills
b. problem solving and/or conflict resolution skills
c. values formation
d. other skills which will aid the child in dealing with situations which can lead to
repetition of the offense;
7. Participation in available community-based programs, including community service
8. Participation in education, vocation and life skills programs.

At the level of the law enforcement officer and the prosecutor

1. Diversion programs
2. Confiscation and forfeiture of the proceeds or instruments of the crime;

At the level of the appropriate court

1. Diversion programs
2. Written or oral reprimand or citation
3. Fine
4. Payment of the cost of the proceedings
5 Institutional care and custody

Would not the new law embolden children to commit more crimes?
R.A. 9344 requires the provision of preventive and developmental programs for children
at risk and their families, through the development of a local juvenile intervention program in
every local government unit (LGU).
These programs should be enforced and strengthened by the LGUs and their partners to
address the issue of CICL.
The preventive and developmental programs will divert childrens activities into
productive ones, hence, will prevent them from exposure and commission of anti-social
The law enforcement officers have the critical role in running after those who are
exploiting/ using children to commit crimes.
Surveillance system should be in place as a preventive measure for children.

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