Dispute Resolution, Litigation, Arbitration

2019 Revised Rule on Children in Conflict with the Law, now in effect.

On 22 January 2019, the Supreme Court released the 2019 Revised Rule on Children in Conflict with the Law, effective on 07 July 2019 (“Revised CICL Rules”). The revisions introduced aim to strengthen the protection of children in conflict with the law and establish that charges involving a minor are now bailable as a matter of right.

The main changes introduced by the Revised CICL Rules are:

  • Non-applicability of the Rules to a “Child at risk”

A “Child at risk” is defined as a “child who is vulnerable to and at the risk of committing criminal offenses because of personal, family and other social circumstances.” Included in this definition are children who violate ordinances enacted by local governments concerning juvenile status offenses.

  • Procedure in Taking a CICL in Custody

A child in conflict with the law taken into custody shall now be searched by a law enforcement officer only of the same gender and shall not be locked up in a detention cell. Instead, immediately and not later than eight (8) hours after apprehension, the CICL shall be turned over to the Social Welfare and Development Office or other accredited non-government organizations, and the child’s parents/guardians and Public Attorney’s Office shall be notified of such apprehension.

  • Duties of Law Enforcement Officers

During initial investigation, law enforcement officers’ duties include:

  • o Determining whether the case involves a CICL and where to refer the CICL to;
  • o The taking of the statement of a CICL shall be conducted in the presence of (a) child’s counsel of choice, or in his absence, a Public Attorney’s Office lawyer; (b) the CICL’s parents, guardian, or nearest relative, as the case may be; and (c) the local social welfare office. If the CICL’s parents, guardian, or nearest relative, as the case may be, and the local social welfare and development officer are absent, the investigation shall be conducted in the presence of a representative of a non-government organization, religious group, or member of the Barangay Council for the Protection of Children.
  • Social Welfare Officer’s Duty to Conduct an Initial Assessment and Render Intake Report

Upon taking of the CICL into custody, the social welfare worker assigned should conduct an initial assessment to determine whether to place the CICL under community-based intervention or diversion, depending on the circumstances of the case, and prepare an Intake Report (containing the personal and other circumstances of the CICL), which should be submitted to the court prior to arraignment in the event that a case is to be filed in court.

  • Intervention / Diversion Programs

The following are factors to be used by the Diversion Committee in determining whether diversion is appropriate:

  • o Nature and circumstances of the offense charged;
  • o The frequency and severity of the act;
  • o The circumstances of the child (e.g. age, maturity, intelligence, etc.);
  • o The influence of the family and environment on the growth of the child;
  • o The weight of the evidence against the child;
  • o The safety of the community; and
  • o The best interest of the child.

If diversion is appropriate, the Diversion Committee shall formulate a diversion program for the CICL depending on various factors such as the availability of community-based programs for rehabilitation and the past records of the child. Diversion will include adequate socio-cultural and psychological responses and services for the child and address the satisfaction of the civil liability of the child, without prejudice to the liability of the parents for damages. To avoid liability for damages, the CICL’s parents may prove to the satisfaction of the court that they exercised reasonable supervision over the child at the time of commission of offense and reasonable effort and utmost diligence to prevent or discourage the child from committing another offense.

  • Rehabilitation Centers

A child charged with an offense who was not released on bail or recognizance may be transferred to a “Bahay Pag-asa” or rehabilitation centers or other appropriate accredited facilities by the Department of Social Welfare and Development, which will have an intensive juvenile intervention and support center. Further, sexual orientation of the CICL shall be taken into consideration in determining the adequate quarters at Bahay Pag-Asa.

  • Bail

It was likewise clarified that all charges involving a minor are bailable as a matter of right as, for purposes of bail, minority is a privileged mitigating circumstance.

  • Credit in Service of Sentence

While previously, there were exceptions to the Credit in Service of Sentence of the child in conflict with the law, all CICLs shall now be credited in the service of his/her sentence with the full time spent in actual commitment and detention. Further, any form of physical restraint including community service and commitment to a rehabilitation center shall be considered preventive imprisonment.

To read the entire 2019 Revised Rule on Children in Conflict with the Law, click here.

To read the entire 2009 Revised Rule on Children in Conflict with the Law click here.

Disclaimer: The information in this website is provided for general informational purposes only. No information contained in this post should be construed as legal advice from Platon Martinez or the individual author, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information included in, or accessible through this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances.