Teacher, neighbors of 15-yr-old claim: Boy not into drugs
(The Freeman) - October 11, 2016 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - The class adviser and friends of the 15-year-old shot during a police operation the other day at the Damiana Compound, Barangay Guadalupe, Cebu City, said it was unlikely the minor was involved in illegal drugs like what the police are saying.

Myrna Romagus, the class adviser of the minor who is a Grade 10 student of the Ramon Duterte National High School, said she cannot believe the allegations since the minor is so shy he barely even speaks in class.

"Di gyud ko katuo kay hilumon ra man ni sya. Di magkuyog-kuyog og grupo. Hilumon nga pagkabata, everytime nga magklase mi kinahanglan siya i-push para mo-participate, buotan ra man pud siya. Di man gani na magpabadlong... hilom-hilom. Naa siya amigo pero kana ra," Romagus said.

She said the minor's father supervises his education in place of his mother who works abroad.

Romagus further said the minor's father would notify her whenever the minor would be absent due to any illness. He would even walk his son to school after a long absence in order to discourage him from being shy in coming back to school.

Three close neighbors of the minor also vouched for his innocence. One of them, who regularly plays online with the minor, said that on the night of the incident the minor could not have possibly been carrying a .45 cal. pistol because he was wearing loose-bottom shorts.

He said that the minor may have just been at the scene when the operation happened and panicked.

Another neighbor said although there is illegal drugs in their area he said that the minor was not involved in any drug operations.

The minor's father declined an interview saying they already have a lawyer.

The other day operatives from the City Intelligence Branch and City Anti-Illegal Drugs Special Operations Task Group of the Cebu City Police Office confiscated went to the compound after they received information about an armed person and illegal drugs.

After they moved to arrest a group of people gambling, several men ran off. Police said they shot the minor after he allegedly gestured like he was pulling a gun from his pants. Police later said they confiscated a pistol from the minor as well as packs of shabu he allegedly dropped.

CHR investigating

Commission on Human Rights-7 chief investigator Leo Villarino said they will investigate the incident after the minor's father gave them his statement yesterday. The father said his son was not armed during the incident and is also not involved in illegal drugs.

Villarino said another witness gave his statement as to what happened. CHR-7 intends to get the statement of the victim at the right time.

"Lisod sad kaayo nga atong pugson nga mohatag sa iyang statement, ilabi na nga delicate pa ang iyang pagkabutang karun. Dili sa nato apurahon," Villarino said.

Villarino said it they cannot yet tell if the police operation had lapses.

 "It's too early nga mo-ana ta nga naa'y lapses nga wala pa man ta kasugod og investigate but assuming nga naa'y lapses, we will recommend the filing of charges, dapat man g'yud na nga mo-observe sila sa ilang mga rules and regulations specially nga naa'y minor nga na-involve, so dapat naa'y extra care in handling the incident," he said.

Surveillance

CIB head Chief Inspector Christopher Lucas Navida said before the operation they conducted surveillance for a week to identify the personalities involved and even took photos of the area. Navida said the minor was identified as a runner for drug peddlers in the compound.

"'Yung runner may fixer na ginagamit usually menor de edad, especially sa nakaraang operation, ang ginagamit nila ay mga minor," Navida said.

Navida also said that there were inconsistencies in the age of the minor . He said the father first said his son was 19, and changed it to 17, until a relative came and clarified that he was 15.

"With regards doon sa sinasabi nilang mabait lahat naman siguro nung pupwedeng mag-comment na mabait which ina-accept din namin, pero hindi sa lahat ng pagkakataon eh namo-monitor nila yung activity ng tao," Navida said.

"Meron silang pre-operations briefing before conducting the operations then after that police operation must be followed, pinipilit naming makakuha ng copy ng CCTV, para makita lang natin na as to what happened kasi transparent naman tayo," said Cebu City Police Office acting director Senior Superintendent Joel Doria, who added it was obvious they had no intent to shoot the minor dead.   Doria added they welcome any charges the minor's family will file and will act accordingly if lapses are found on their side.

 "Definitely we will not condone any wrongdoings ng mga personnel natin," he said.

Police Regional Office-7 regional director Chief Superintendent Noli Taliño also said the incident was a legitimate police operation.

"Based sa investigation na ibinigay sa akin nahulihan ito ng baril," he said, adding that the presence of a gun is considered a threat.

 "Siyempre, kun ganun ang pangyayari, sabi natin palagi dapat mauna ang ating mga pulis, kasi 'yung buhay nila nasa panganib na," he added.

However legitimate it was, Taliño said it is still subject of investigation because someone was shot.

Mayor Tomas Osmeña wants deputy mayor over police matters, Cebu City Councilor David Tumulak to evaluate this matter. Tumulak already asked the assistance of Guadalupe barangay captain.

"If it is true nga unarmed ang batan-on niya gipusil then naa'y witness nga mo-testify, nga mo-file g'yud og case against those policemen, we should support the victim. It is unfair pud sa victim side nga pusilon lang ka but if true nga ang minor is armed with a handgun, it is necessary ra sad ang gibuhat sa police kay kuyaw man sad ang police nato ang mapusilan. So ang ato lang unsa g'yuy tinood, ang tinood lang g'yud ang mopatigbabaw," he said. — with Mylen P. Manto (FREEMAN)

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