Child abuse charges eyed against Chastity’s mother
Tiu expected to return from vacation today, explain his side on case
THE Cebu City Department of Social Welfare and Services (DSWS) is building a case against the mother of alleged police brutality victim Chastity Mirabiles.
Dr. Ester Concha, DSWS chief, said Chastity’s mother Noemi may be held liable for child abuse for neglecting the girl. She hoped the case will be filed within this week.
Chastity, who was 11 when she died, should have been in school. Instead, she was on the streets begging for money or food.
The girl died several hours after she was allegedly mauled by police on April 5. She was allegedly among the street children who were rounded up by Fuente police as part of the Oplan Libod-Suroy program. Her name, however, could not be found in the pink blotter of the Women and Children Protection Desk.
Concha said the complaint against the mother will be filed regardless of the result of the fact-finding investigation being conducted by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) 7.
Chief Inspector Wildemar Tiu, who is expected to return from a month-long vacation today, will be asked to issue a sworn statement on Chastity’s case, Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella said.
Labella, chairman of the Police Coordinating and Advisory Council, said NBI 7 special agent Gregorio Algoso Jr. informed the council yesterday that NBI was waiting for Tiu’s statement.
The NBI inquiry will determine whether criminal or administrative complaints will be filed against Fuente police personnel.
Pending the results of the investigation, Tiu will stay on as Fuente station chief.
“There is no reason to relieve him as station chief, but we will look into this. If this will hamper his effectivity, we might do otherwise and I will talk to him,” said Chief Superintendent Prudencio Bañas, Police regional director.
“I expect him to be reinvigorated considering he was given a month-long leave. Of course, he has recharged. The feedback on Tiu from business establishments is good,” he added in Cebuano.
Bañas said Mayor Michael Rama has told him not to condemn Tiu while the investigation is ongoing.
“I talked with the mayor and he is a lawyer and he said ‘let us give Tiu due process.’ So let us not condemn him based on hearsay or allegations,” Bañas said.
He said he trusted the NBI to investigate the case thoroughly.
“These are responsible people. They will not file just for the sake of filing a case without due process,” he added.
Tiu and his men are also under investigation by the Intelligence and Detection Management Branch (IDMB) of Cebu City Police for the alleged rape of a sex worker and shaving street children’s hair.
The sex worker, however, refused to execute an affidavit. Inspector Aileen Recla, IDMB chief, endorsed the second case to the regional intelligence office.
The DSWS is building a case for violation of Republic Act 7610, or the Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act, against Chastity’s mother.
Concha said the Children’s Legal Bureau was helping them prepare the case. DSWS is also eyeing the filing of a complaint against the stepfather.
“She (Noemi) wasn’t able to send her (Chastity) to school when, in fact, elementary education is free. Instead, she brings her to beg which is a form of child abuse and neglect of the child since she’s being used as a source of livelihood by begging,” Concha said.
A trisikad given by a nongovernment organization to the Mirabiles family as a source of livelihood was allegedly used instead to transport Chastity and her mother to Gen. Maxilom Ave., where the child begged.
Concha said they have evidence that the mother is a drug user.
“The siblings of Chastity might even be better off and well taken care of if we bring them to a center rather than leave them with the mother,” she added.
Similar cases might also be filed against the parents of other abused and neglected children to send a message to the parents.
For his part, Labella said he will ask barangay officials to help warn parents against neglecting their children.
“I think that’s one way of solving our problem on street children roaming around the city because in the first place, it’s the primary duty of parents to take care of their children,” he said.
Labella said there is a need for the city to establish a center that will cater to street children and mendicants rounded up by the police.
He also reminded the police personnel, DSWS, and the Women and Children’s Protection Desk to properly coordinate with each other during and after rescue as well as in rounding up street children in the city.
He also recommended to the Cebu City Police Office that surveillance be made on the alleged presence of syndicates behind street children begging in the streets.
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