Robbery trial awaits boy, 15

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Tuesday, August 19, 2014


A 15-YEAR-OLD boy will face trial after he was charged by the Cebu City Prosecutor’s Office for stealing items from a delivery van of a pharmacy and attacking two guards.

Assistant City Prosecutor Aida Sanchez found enough evidence to indict Lionel (real name withheld, because he is a minor) for robbery, physical injuries and attempted homicide.

Meanwhile, the 16-year-old girl who was accused of shoplifting inside a mall in Mandaue City was released last Friday by the Mandaue City Social Welfare Services (CSWS), after her father came to her aid.

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CSWS Head Violeta Cavada said that the owner of the boutique where Josephine (real name withheld) allegedly stole items worth almost P10,000 has yet to file a complaint against the minor.

Recent crimes involving minors—including teenagers being used as mules for millions worth of illegal drugs—have prompted some police and local officials to call for a review of the law that protects minors from criminal liability.

Exemptions

Under Republic Act 9344 (the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006), a child younger than 15 is exempted from criminal liability. If arrested, they should be released to the custody of their parents or guardians.

Those 15 but below 18 years old are also exempted from criminal liability, unless they acted with discernment upon committing a crime.

The incident involving Lionel happened in Barangay Guadalupe, Cebu City last Wednesday morning.

He was charged yesterday with attempted homicide case; he had allegedly attacked Rolando Boganotan with a screwdriver, which left scratches on the security guard’s left eyebrow, left hand, left knee and one finger.

A physical injuries case was also lodged against Lionel for harming another guard, Restituto Molina, whose hands were wounded while he and Boganotan tried to restrain the minor.

The boy was also charged with robbery for allegedly stealing assorted items amounting to P6,770 from a pharmacy’s delivery van.

Discernment

A certificate from the Cebu City social welfare office, which stated that Lionel appeared to have committed the crime with discernment, was among the evidence presented to Sanchez during the inquest proceedings.

During the inquest, Lionel opted not to avail himself of a preliminary investigation, causing the complaints to be endorsed right away to the court for trial.

Sanchez set the bail at P12,000 for attempted homicide, P2,000 for physical injuries, and P24,000 for robbery.

In his sworn statement, security guard Boganotan said was sitting inside the guardhouse when he heard a noise from the delivery van.

He walked outside and saw Lionel carrying a sack. The boy was allegedly getting some things from the van’s front seats and tried to run after he noticed the guard.

Boganotan caught Lionel, who wriggled to free himself until the items inside the sack spilled to the ground.

Acted alone

Molina later arrived and helped hold down Lionel, who stabbed them.

“Then, an unidentified man riding a motorcycle volunteered to call for help. The boy was still stabbing us,” said Boganotan.

Both guards said they had to handcuff Lionel because they could no longer contain him. Two tanods arrived and brought the teenager to the Guadalupe barangay hall.

PO2 Christine Luardo, head of the Guadalupe Police Station women and children’s protection desk, said that Lionel was alone when he committed the crimes.

The boy was turned over to Operation Second Chance, a rehabilitation center for minors in conflict with the law, she said.

The other minor who is in the news for a brush with the law will not spend time in Second Chance.

The CSWS in Mandaue released her, after getting a copy of her birth certificate, which showed that she is 16 years old, said Cavada.

Earlier, Josephine’s guardians in Cebu also promised to pay for the items, which included clothes and shoes.

Busy week

Police turned over Josephine to the CSWS last Aug. 12 after she was brought to the Subangdaku Police Station by Jessamyn Romagos, owner of Stud Boutique.

Two days before that, Josephine and two other women were also brought to the station after allegedly arguing inside a club. Josephine, who owed P9,000 to the women, reportedly settled the problem.

Recorded images from a closed-circuit television of a mall reportedly showed Josephine entering the boutique last Aug. 7 and going out wearing a different outfit.

Cavada said the CSWS will coordinate with its counterpart in Leyte Province, where Josephine and her family live.

Cavada said there was nothing peculiar about Josephine’s behavior during her stay with social workers. “Wala ra man siya’y problema (There seemed to be no problem with her),” she said.

The minor’s guardians said they have a relative working as a psychologist who may check her condition.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 19, 2014.

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