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Philippine News Digest 83

September 29, 2006 · 

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Contents:
-NEW LAW ON JUVENILE JUSTICE WEAK- CBCP

-RP to withdraw from UN pact on death penalty?

-Pampanga fiscal nabbed for extortion

NEW LAW ON JUVENILE JUSTICE WEAK- CBCP
Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer
September 29, 2006

A committee in the Catholic Bishop’s Conference of the Philippines concerned with the issue of child protection has criticized the recently passed Juvenile Justice Law for being “weak” and called for its amendment.

In a statement, the CBCP’s Episcopal Commission on Prison Pastoral Care said the Juvenile Justice Law or Republic Act 9344, was not specific on how the restorative justice portion of the law would be carried out.

Under the law children aged 15 years and younger when they commit an offense are exempt from criminal liability. If they are over 15 but under 18, they may be charged if they committed the offense knowing it was a crime. The penalty for a child offender differs depending on whether or not he acted with discernment when he committed the offense.

Rodolfo Diamante, Executive Secretary of the ECPPC said a new law should be crafted to correct the loopholes in the Juvenile Justice Law adding that the ECPPC and other groups would support an alternative juvenile justice bill crafted by PAYO(Philippine Action for Youth Offenders) that has a restorative justice paradigm.

RP to withdraw from UN pact on death penalty?
The Philippine Star Sept. 29, 2006
by: Pia Lee-Brago

The Philippines might withdraw as signatory of the United Nations Second Optional Protocol in the event the 1987 Constitution is amended to reimpose the death penalty law.

Ranking officials of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said the Philippines presented a very good image before the UN when it signed the protocol that prohibits state signatories from reintroducing the death penalty. Officials, however, pointed out the possibility of amending the Constitution which might succeed and reintroduce capital punishment. Officials said the signing of the protocol is a “significant advance in Philippines’ human rights practice and it is a benchmark of international law.”

The repeal of the death penalty law and the signing of the Protocol also came as a fulfillment of the Philippines’ pledge as founding member of the newly established UN Human Rights Counsel based in Geneva. The Philippines has a seat in the Counsel until 2007. The Protocol makes it mandatory for the signatory country to move against reimposing the capital punishment.

Pampanga fiscal nabbed for extortion
The Philippine STAR, The Nation
By: Ding Cervantes
Publication Date: [Saturday, September 23, 2006]

SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga – Agents of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) arrested last Thursday a provincial prosecutor while accepting P10,000 he allegedly demanded from a complainant.

Lawyer Lauro Reyes, acting NBI regional director, said provincial prosecutor Otto Macabulos, 55, is now detained at the NBI regional office in Clark Field upon the request of the San Fernando City prosecutor’s office who feared for his safety in the provincial jail.

Macabulos had also been the subject of motions for inhibition filed by private lawyers for dismissing controversial cases in Pampanga, including the massacre of three youths in Mabalacat town last February and the rape-abduction of a female shopping mall employee here also last February. The respondents in the dismissed

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