CEBU City’s Department of Social Welfare Services (DSWS) will file this week child abuse complaints against the mother of 11-year-old Chastity Mirabiles and her live-in partner.

Dr. Ester Concha, head of the DSWS, said they will base their complaint on the apparent neglect of Chastity allegedly by her mother Noemi and her partner Mario Buyoc.

That the couple opted not to send the child to school so she can go out to the streets to beg for money is a form of neglect and abuse, Concha told reporters yesterday.

DSWS’ background investigation on Noemi also yielded information that she allegedly uses illegal drugs.

“But for now, we will focus on the child abuse aspect. At 11 years old, Chastity was not in school. The mother did not send Chastity even to a public school, which is free, because she would bring the child with her in the streets to beg,” said Concha.

Chastity is the child beggar who died last April reportedly after being rescued by a team from the Fuente Police Station in Cebu City. In media interviews, Noemi accused Fuente Police Station Chief Wildemar Tiu of physically hurting her daughter, which allegedly resulted in her death.

The DSWS also learned that the couple received a trisikad from a non-government organization to help them with their livelihood.

“But instead of using it for their livelihood, they used the trisikad to ferry the mother and child to Mango Ave. (Gen. Maxilom Ave.) to beg. So unsaon man nato ang kita ana, sige lang isuyop (What did she do with their earnings)?” she asked.

Concha said the DSWS and the Children’s Legal Bureau (CLB) still need to sit down again and prepare the documents on their background investigation results for the filing of the complaint “most likely this week.”

Shelter

The DSWS and the CLB will also try to take custody of Noemi’s other children and bring them to a temporary shelter, where they can be better taken care of.

At the Cebu City Police Coordinating Advisory Council (PCAC) meeting yesterday, National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Special Agent Gregorio Algoso Jr. reported that they have asked Tiu to submit this week his counter-affidavit and finally answer all the complaints raised against him in relation to the death of Chastity.

They will then hold a clarificatory hearing with Tiu before resolving the case.

Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella, the PCAC chairman, said the NBI could dismiss the complaint outright or submit it to the Office of the City Prosecutor or the Office of the Ombudsman for a preliminary investigation, in so far as the criminal aspect is concerned. An administrative proceeding is also not being ruled out.

Labella said that at this point, Tiu will remain as police station chief and will not be placed under preventive suspension just yet.

“This is still a fact-finding investigation but if the NBI says there is probable cause to file a complaint against Tiu, then I will strongly recommend his preventive suspension or reassignment,” he told a news conference.

Ongoing

Interviewed separately, however, the head of the Police Regional Office (PRO) 7 said that Tiu will not be charged in connection with Chastity’s death.

“I talked with the director of the NBI and there was no case...no evidence should warrant the filing of the case against Chief Inspector Tiu,” said Chief Supt. Prudencio Tom Bañas, PRO 7 director.

He said that NBI 7 Director Ricardo Diaz told him “what was printed in the newspaper is still an allegation.”

Bañas said there was no need to relieve Tiu, who will report back to work today after a month-long vacation leave.

When asked about Bañas’s statement that Tiu will not face any complaint, lawyer Augusto Eric Isidoro, NBI 7 assistant director, said: “It is premature to speculate because the investigation is still ongoing.”

“Maybe RD (Regional Director) Bañas and RD Diaz were referring to the criminal aspect of the case,” he said in a text message. Isidoro is overseeing the investigation conducted by three agents.

The PCAC also requested the DSWS, the CLB, the City’s Anti-Mendicancy Board and the Cebu City Police Office’s Women’s and Children’s Desk to come up with sufficient facilities such as temporary shelters for street children and children in conflict with the law.

Back again

Labella said the same offices were requested to coordinate with each other before operations involving minors, and to start a program that will educate parents on giving their children proper guidance and care.

Bañas, for his part, expects Tiu to be “reinvigorated” when he reports back to work.

Kawawa na man ang tawo. He was maligned in public through the media when in fact there is no evidence to show that he was guilty of what was imputed against him,” he said. “Maganda naman ang feedback ng business establishments dyan. He was doing a good job.”

Irish-American businessman Larry Marshall said he is glad Tiu will assume his post again.

Marshall, 50, said he saw fewer street children, pickpockets, drug dealers, pimps, and prostitutes outside his pub after Tiu assumed as Police Station 2 chief.

“He did a good job,” said Marshall, who is living in the country for more than two decades.