Marcial "Baby" Ama: A Minor Executed Via Electric Chair

On October 4, 1961, back in the day when the Pangilinan Law was not yet in existence, the legal age for men and women were 16 and 14 respectively. The new generation may no longer be familiar with Marcial "Baby" Ama. However, earlier generations can recognize this notorious person, who ironically, gain folk hero status when his biography was turned into a movie in 1976.  Baby Ama was a minor executed via electric chair. He was nicknamed "Baby" because of his youthful good looks. The nickname may sound innocuous, but Marcial Perez (Baby Ama) did not fit the definition. 

Perez was imprisoned due to stealing money. It was said that he stole money to help a friend. When Perez was incarcerated, life became much harder for him. Aside from being the subject of abuse and ridicule, his wife also committed suicide due to being sexually abused by a prison guard. This is when Perez became fiercer than he was. Aside from being a hitman inside the Bilibid prison he was also the leader of a notorious gang, Sige-Sige Gang. 

He earned his notoriety when he spearheaded the biggest riot in Bilibid Prison. It was considered to be the deadliest as well with 9 inmates killed  and one of them beheaded. Perez was found guilty of stabbing a man to death. Hence, he was sentenced to death by electric chair. 

Under Section 6 of the Republic Act No. 9344 otherwise known as the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006, "A child fifteen (15) years of age or under at the time of the commission of the offense shall be exempt from criminal liability. However, the child shall be subjected to an intervention program pursuant to Section 20 of this Act.

A child above fifteen (15) years but below eighteen (18) years of age shall likewise be exempt from criminal liability and be subjected to an intervention program, unless he/she has acted with discernment, in which case, such child shall be subjected to the appropriate proceedings in accordance with this Act.

The exemption from criminal liability herein established does not include exemption from civil liability, which shall be enforced in accordance with existing laws."

The bill lowering age of criminal responsibility from 15 years old to 9 has not received a positive response from lawmakers. Even 55% of Filipinos according to a survey conducted by Pulse Asia on May 5, 2017 are not in favor of the bill reducing the age of criminal liability. Although the age of criminal responsibility remains subjective, the fact cannot be denied that there are still minors who do not even undergo any type of due process, guilty or not guilty. That said, one cannot simply dismiss untimely death by random execution as collateral damage or worse, another "isolated case".  Once an epitome of notoriety, Baby Ama is now a case study. His behavior used to make people cringe, but in the era of war pigs, violence is the new normal. 

Pinoy Attorney

Written by : Pinoy Attorney