Police eye case vs parents of ‘drug mule’

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Tuesday, August 12, 2014


PARENTS of the 14-year-old suspected drug mule may be charged with child abuse for allegedly neglecting their daughter.

Cebu City Police Office-Woman and Children Protection Desk (WCPD) Chief Arieza Otida said they are also looking into the accountability of the girl’s parents.

“Maayo pud patubagon ang parents og ngano’ng naingana ilang anak (Parents should be made to answer for the fate of their child),” said Otida in an interview on Monday.

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But she said Marian (not her real name) should be charged because of the quantity of drugs involved.

Marian was caught in a buy-bust operation where she handed over last Saturday a large pack of what is suspected to be shabu to a police decoy. She told the police that she knew she was in possession of illegal drugs but she said she was not aware of their true worth.

Law

Police confiscated P5.9 million worth of suspected shabu from Marian, who was living at a friend’s house in Barangay Labangon, Cebu City.

But Republic Act (RA) 9344, also known as the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006, and its amendment under RA 10630, exempts from criminal liability any person 15 years of age and below. Those aged 15 to 18 may be held criminally liable if they acted with discernment in committing a crime.

Otida said the WCPD is still waiting for the evaluation of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)-Central Visayas on whether Marian acted in discernment.

She said they are also checking if Marian is really 14 years old.

Cebu City Intelligence Branch Chief (CIB) Romeo Santander said Marian worked for someone who is in the police drug watch list.

He declined to give more information so as not to jeopardize police operations. But he said Marian kept the shabu and would only get instructions by text to hand over drugs to buyers.

Marian told authorities she was paid P1,000 by a drug pusher.

Santander said many drug pushers use minors because they are exempted from criminal liability under the law.

“(Pero) dili gyud ni namo palampason. Gusto ni namo mahimo nga sample para sa uban nga dili sila basta-basta makagamit og mga bata (We will not let this pass. We want this to be a warning to pushers that they cannot use children in their illegal activities),” said Santander.

Marian was still detained at the Punta Princesa Police Station as of press time Monday. (JTR)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 12, 2014.

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