Police in southern Metro Manila are on the lookout for minors being tapped to distribute counterfeit money as the Christmas season draws closer.
The Southern Police District said the modus operandi was uncovered with the arrest of a 15-year-old caught paying for goods with a fake bill, radio dzBB's Sam Nielsen reported.
SPD head Chief Superintendent Benito Estipona was quoted in the report as saying this indicates rings distributing counterfeit money are exploiting Republic Act 9344, the Juvenile Justice Act.
Under RA 9344
, a child 15 years old or below "shall be exempt from criminal liability" though he or she will be subject to an intervention program.
Also, the report quoted police as saying some of the minors move quickly and are less likely to be detected.
Earlier, Malacañang cautioned the public against the possible proliferation of fake bills
in markets as the Christmas season draws closer.
Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said unwittingly passing fake currency can also get one in trouble, even if he or she did not mean to distribute it.
“Bawal ‘yan. Makukulong kayo. Hindi biro ang ginagawa ninyo. Naka-alerto ang pulis,” she said on government-run dzRB radio.
Under Chapter III of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ Circular No. 61 (1995), “(n)o person or entity, public or private, shall design, engrave, make or execute in any manner, or use, issue, or distribute any object whatsoever bearing the likeness or similitude as to design, color or the inscription thereon of any legal tender Philippine currency coin or any part thereof, in metal form, irrespective of size and metallic composition, without prior authority from the Governor, BSP or his duly authorized representative.”
“Any violation ... shall subject the offender to imprisonment of not less than five years, but not more than 10 years. In case the Revised Penal Code provides for a greater penalty, then that penalty shall be imposed,” it said
. –KG, GMA News