A STRING of criminal charges were filed yesterday with the Cebu City Prosecutor’s Office against four men who shot dead an altar boy after the victim fought back and refused to give his P500-mobile phone to the culprits.

The police filed robbery with homicide charges against Marvin Sanchez, Joypher Enriquez and a 16-year-old boy for the killing of Carlo Mangitngit, 14, in Horseshoe Hills in Barangay Guadalupe, Cebu City.

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A separate criminal complaint for attempted murder was also filed against Sanchez, the minor suspect and a certain Jason Villarama.

Frustrated murder charges were hurled against Sanchez and Villarama while a violation of the election gun ban was filed against Enriquez.

The four were presented yesterday to Cebu City Assistant Prosecutor Noel Cellona for inquest proceeding. They did not sign a waiver of detention, which would allow the prosecutor to file the case in court.

Cebu Archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal yesterday urged legislators to review the law that protects minors from criminal liability.

Despite the successful capture of the suspects, Vidal was saddened by the acolyte’s death.

“I am very sorry for that,” Vidal told reporters.

Vidal said Mangitngit’s death also reminded him of the robbery-slay case of City of Naga priest Fr. Jovencio Rabusa.

Early last year, Rabusa, 46, was shot dead by three men in the Talisay City side of the Cebu South Coastal Road after he refused to hand over his two cellular phones to the robbers.

Vidal said Mangitngit’s death reminded him of Rabusa’s killing, as the perpetrators in both cases included minors.

“When one of our priests was killed, the suspects were so young,” said Vidal.

Vidal said that to prevent such incidents, he is urging legislators to review the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006.

“I hope that they would reconsider it as it is prone to abuse,” said Vidal.

Meanwhile, police are digging deeper into the background of the three arrested robbery suspects.

Chief Insp. Michael Anthony Bastes said they are verifying reports that Marvin Abella Sanchez’s group may have perpetrated the robbery of a habal-habal driver in Canduman, Mandaue City last week.

During that incident, the suspects took the motorcycle of Liborio C. Vega, 33, before killing the victim.

Bastes said the Mandaue City Police Office is coordinating with the Guadalupe Police Station to verify the information.

Mangitngit was walking around 8 a.m. last Sunday to a vegetable stall along with an eight-year-old companion when three of the suspects on board a black XRM motorcycle with no plate number grabbed his mobile phone while he was texting.

When Mangitngit tried to run away, one of the suspects pulled a gun and shot him in the head. The suspects all wore helmets and black jackets, and covered their faces with T-shirts.

Mangitngit struggled for his life for at least eight hours at the Vicente Sotto Memorial Center, but did not survive a gunshot wound.

The slug from the .38 revolver used in the shooting tore into the back his head, exiting through his forehead.

A joint team from the Theft and Robbery Section, Guadalupe Police Station and the Investigation and Detective Management Branch (IDBM) arrested Sanchez, Enriquez and the minor.

The three admitted the crime and said they looked for money to buy liquor.