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Saturday, January 19, 2019

Briones: Ideal criminal

THEN why did he run? That's what people are asking. If indeed he was not guilty, why did he bolt when operatives of the CIB and Caidsotg introduced themselves as policemen inside Damiana's Compound in Barangay Guadalupe, Cebu City last Saturday night?

And why was he carrying a .45 caliber handgun with seven live bullets?

Because of these circumstances, 15-year-old boy John (real name withheld for being a minor) was wounded in what police described as a shootout.

Of course, his relatives are saying the gun and bullets were planted in his shorts. That he was just hanging out in the area when the operatives chanced upon him.

So again, why did he run?

Because he was scared, John said. But didn't he say he was just loitering there after playing video games? If that was the case, then he had nothing to be afraid of. Unless, of course, the police's allegations are true. That John is actually a drug runner.

The CIB and members of Caidsotg did go to the compound after they received numerous telephone calls about an armed person and the presence of illegal drugs in the area.

Chief Insp. Cristopher Navida, CIB chief, admitted that his men didn't know John was a minor when they chased after him down a narrow alley. The fact that the boy was not killed also supports their claim that they never intended to hurt him.

However, John was shot in the back. Well, probably because he refused to stop even though he was already cornered. Operatives did say they saw him raise his arm--the one allegedly holding the gun--so maybe that was why they opened fire.

Anyway, Navida said they are ready to face investigation. John's family has already decided to press charges against them, while the Regional Internal Affairs Service 7 is looking into the incident.

The police official said the whole thing was captured by a closed-circuit television camera and they plan to use the footage as evidence.

Hmm, if everything happened the way Navida described it did, then John, a grade 10 student, and his family have a lot of explaining to do. If the footage says otherwise, well, we couldn't expect any less from Navida and his men.

But let's get one thing straight. Just because John is under 18 doesn't automatically make him innocent. That he can't be what the police are saying he is.

Criminal elements have taken advantage of minors since Republic Act 9344, or the Juvenile Justice Welfare Act of 2006, was put into effect.

After all, persons under 15 years old and below cannot be imprisoned even when they commit heinous rimes like rape and murder. And if the offender is between 16 and 18, authorities must determine that he or she acted with discernment, meaning the person knew what he or she was doing during the commission of the crime.

Trust me. Someone like John is an ideal drug runner since the law cannot touch him. And he won't be the last.
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