Laws disallow non-relatives from adopting-A A +A
Thursday, January 24, 2013
THE Canadian journalist who shot and killed two people last Tuesday tried to adopt a minor about three years ago, said a Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD 7) official.
John Pope lost his temper when DSWD officials declined to release the girl to him because of laws that disallow minors to be in the company of non-relatives and foreigners.
The girl was about 12 or 13 years old at that time.
Clavel Saycon, a DSWD 7 senior social worker who handles court-related cases, said Pope brought a girl to the regional office between 2009 and 2010.
“It was an act of a good Samaritan,” she told Sun.Star Cebu.
Pope claimed that he was supporting the child's schooling and had asked that the social workers help the girl, who was not doing well in school.
“According to Pope, the girl is an illegitimate child of a mother who was a drug addict,” said Saycon.
She added that when they interviewed the girl, they saw no signs she was abused.
She said the child confirmed that Pope paid for her tuition, gives her daily allowance and financed the renovation of their house.
But Saycon said they did not give the child to Pope because they did not want to violate the law.
She cited Presidential Decree 603 or the Child and Youth Welfare Code and Republic Act 7610, an act providing for a stronger deterrence and special protection against child abuse, exploitation and discrimination and for other purposes.
Pope was told to bring the mother or a relative of the child but he was unable to do so, said Saycon.
The Canadian resorted to bringing clothes and food for the girl but only on two occasions. The child's mother came to the center, though.
Jaybee Binghay, DSWD information officer, said any child accompanied by a foreigner raises questions.
“If you are not a relative, why the interest in the child? We follow rules strictly.
All children who would leave the country unaccompanied by their parents would even have to seek clearance from DSWD,” she said.
Saycon said the child stayed at their facility for some time as social workers were made to believe that the girl’s mother died.
The girl is now living with relatives.
The police found a letter written by Pope and addressed to a girl.
In the letter, he mentioned leaving a house worth P600,000 to the girl. The letter, written shortly before the shooting last Tuesday, did not say the location of the house.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 24, 2013.