Cebu News

“Beautiful shoplifter” now with stepfather

Michael Vencynth H. Braga - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines- After she allegedly flew into a rage and starting throwing the things inside the children in conflict with the law (CICL) facility in Tacloban City, the “beautiful shoplifter of Cebu” is now in the custody of her step-father.

Cebu Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office (PSWDO), assistant Officer-in-charge Rose Jao disclosed in an interview with the media on Friday that the stepfather of the minor has balked and ‘accepted’ already the minor.

The stepfather earlier sent a letter to the PSWDO giving his consent to let the office handle the minor and house her in a shelter for women in Barangay Labangon, Cebu City.

Jao said the province supposedly was to turn over the minor to another CICL facility Tacloban City, but the girl reportedly resisted and threw the things and belongings of the social workers there.

Due to what she did, the facility, the only one of its kind in Tacloban, refused to take custody of the minor.

“She thought iadto siya sa ilang balay. Amo man siyang giingnan daan nga ‘day depende ani kung dawaton kas imong amahan.’ Unsaon pag-adto nga di pa man siya dawaton sa family, sa iyang stepfather,” Jao told reporters.

The incident prompted the facility to call the minor’s stepfather, who later claimed her and brought her home, still assisted by social workers.

Jao said Tacloban’s social workers in Tacloban assured to “regularly” observe and monitor the minor, who is now living with her stepfather, half-sister, and grandparents in Sogod town, southern Leyte.

After being held under custody of Cebu social workers in Cebu for three months and not seeing her family and relatives, the minor, tagged by netizens as “beautiful shoplifter of Cebu” was sent by PSWDO to Tacloban last February 25.

National Bureau of Investigation, Department of Social Welfare and Development-7, and Cebu Province Civil Security Unit personnel escorted her.

 “I was careful because she was still under my custody then. Anything that would happen to her, ako gihapon accountability,” Jao said.

The minor was housed in a shelter in Cebu after she was charged with estafa December last year for allegedly not paying her bill at a Cebu resort.  The court placed her under PSWDO’s custody after provisionally dismissing the case on February 17 after the complainant submitted an affidavit of desistance after somebody settled the bill for her.

It took several days more the minor could be sent back to Leyte as PSWDO had to wait for an order to release her from its custody, considering that she is not yet an adult.

“Gibalik namo siya sa shelter on that day (February 17). We could not release her (yet that day) bisan kang kinsa; wa ta kabalo something might happen beyond our control,” she said.

Under the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act, the authority has the duty to immediately release a child to the custody of his or her parents or guardian, or in the absence thereof, the child’s nearest relative.

However, if the parents, guardians or nearest relatives cannot be found, or if they refuse to take custody, the child may be released to any duly registered nongovernmental or religious organization or the Barangay Council for the Protection of Children.

The minor had gained prominence in social media after being involved in a shoplifting incident in a store in Mandaue City in August. — /RHM (FREEMAN)


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