SAWANG Calero, Cebu City Barangay Ariel Yburan complained that drug pushers use minors as street peddlers and couriers.

He said these minors were involved in snatching and shoplifting incidents in downtown Cebu City. Most of them were released from Oplan Second Chance, a jail facility for young offenders.

Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA)-Central Visayas Director Yogi Filemon Ruiz described the village chief’s report as alarming, saying the pushers are using the children as their shield against law enforcers.

“If we catch the minors in the act a crime then we have to round them up, and if these minors will execute an affidavit attesting who pushed them to do something illegal then that’s another story,” he said.

Under the Juvenile Justice Act of 2006, minors above 15 but below 18 may be charged with criminal offense if social workers are able to determine if the minor committed the crime with discernment.

Yburan submitted yesterday the list of 71 personalities involved in illegal drug trade in the village to Ruiz.

Yburan is the fourth village chief who submitted a list to the anti-narcotics unit, following Tisa Barangay Captain Phillip Zafra, Quiot Barangay Captain Pancrasio Esparis, and Lahug Barangay Captain Jovito Taburada.

Calamba Barangay Captain Ma. Yvonne Feliciano and Duljo Fatima Barangay Captain Elmer Abella also have their lists, but the folder from the latter was not accepted because it lacks signatures.

Abella and Feliciano expressed their support to PDEA’s campaign.

Slain drug lord Jeffrey “Jaguar” Diaz is a native of Duljo Fatima. Abella admitted there are still pushers in the village, but they are not Diaz’s underlings.

Meanwhile, Ruiz said he already sent a letter last Thursday to Carreta Barangay Captain Eduardo Lauron to explain the presence of a drug den just 15 meters from the barangay hall.

Ruiz, however, said he will still press administrative charges against the official regardless of his explanation.

Last Feb. 1, PDEA operatives arrested five persons, including a 17-year-old girl during a buy-bust in a drug den at the back of Carreta barangay hall.

An informant tipped them about the illegal activity.