Girl, 14, delivers shabu worth P5.9 million
A 14-year-old girl was taken into custody after she was caught delivering shabu worth P5.9 million during a buy-bust operation in Cebu City over the weekend.
The drug bust in barangay Labangon has renewed calls to amend the law that exempts child offenders from being punished for committing crimes.
Cebu Gov. Hilario Davide III yesterday said he supports calls to amend the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006 following the arrest of the teenager, whom police suspect was just used as a drug mule.
The girl remains with the child welfare facility of the Punta Princesa Police Station, which is tryng to locate her parents.
Police said a drug sale was transacted in Labangon and that the girl later showed up with a carton of shabu packs.
Senior Insp. Arieza Otida, chief of the Women and Children’s Protection Desk, said the family elders may be charged with child abuse or parental neglect.
“We will take into consideration the possibility of filing a case against her parents,” she said, adding that the girl’s birth certificate also has to be checked.
Police said they identified the supplier of the drugs but Supt. Romeo Santander, chief of City Intelligence Branch (CIB) withheld the name since operations were still going on.
Governor Davide said drug dealers are using the law – Republic Act 9344 – to their advantage by using minors to transport illegal drugs.
“Yes, when I was still councilor of Cebu City, we’ve always moved for the amendment of the Juvenile Delinquency Justice law. Nowadays, the children have been made as instruments of these crimes especially on drugs,” he told reporters yesterday.
Child offenders aged 15 and below must be immediately released to their parents, guardian or nearest relative.
Otherwise, the child is entrusted to the Department of Social Welfare and Development or other registered nongovernment or religious organization, or barangay official.
Davide said the age limit must be amended to allow the filing of charges against the offending minor. He cited the Revised Penal Code that allows the temporary suspension of a sentence on minors until they reach legal age.
“There could be a suspension of sentence on minors found involved in criminal acts but when they reach the legal age, the sentence will be served.,” he said.
“It’s imperative that Congress should review that law,” he added.
Davide said it all boils down to good parenting and the responsibility of parents to set a good example to their children.
When a child commits a crime, he said their parents should also be held liable because “everything starts at home.”
“When you raise children and they lack discipline and proper instruction while growing up, there’s a big tendency that they’ll be involved in crimes, not just drugs but theft, robbery,” he explained.“
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