Boy arrested for carrying guns during checkpoint

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Sunday, February 23, 2014


RON, 16, (not his real name) learned how to use guns at a young age. But it wasn’t for self-defense. It was for committing crimes.

Ron was among the 35 people caught by Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) since January for illegal possession of firearms.

From the arrests, some 47 guns were recovered by police, both low-powered to high-powered.

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Chief Insp. Romeo Santander, head of CCPO’s City Intelligence Branch (CIB), said they have intensified their campaign against loose firearms following the rise of gun-related crimes.

Unregistered

It is also a focus of Police Regional Office (PRO) 7 Director Danilo Constantino this year, which is to go after unregistered firearms, he said.

Santander said the boy was recruited into a gun-for-hire group, which is composed of minors, age 14 to 16.

“We were caught by surprise because they are still very young,” he said.

The arrest of Ron came after police officers raided a suspected drug pusher’s house in Barangay Tejero, Cebu City last Thursday.

The suspect, identified as Harold Dequitos, eluded arrest. Police recovered two .45 pistols, .38 revolver, shotgun, KG9 machine pistol, assorted magazines and hand grenade.

Santander said Ron’s group has been tagged into several shooting incidents, including the death of a waiter in Villagonzalo last Feb. 13.

“Kusog ni sila magparegla, unya kung mosukol ka, tabangan ka nila,” the police official said, adding reports of indiscriminate firings in the area were also done by the crime group.

Without the proper guidance of parents, Santander said young boys, such as Ron, could be persuaded to join in illegal activities.

When interviewed by police, Ron said he was only left to the care of his sister and aunt. Their pictures in the social networking site, Facebook, also showed how proud the boys were.

Santander sad it is alarming that minors are now being used to gun-for-hire activities because they couldn’t be held criminally liable.

The minimum age of criminal liability in the Philippines is 15.

Republic Act 9344 or the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006 states that offenders below 15 can’t be prosecuted and imprisoned in any government jail.

Those that are 15 to 18 years old shall be free from criminal liability and subjected to an intervention program under the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), unless there is proof the minor acted with discernment.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 24, 2014.

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