Cebu City police reactivate team vs street gangs

March 21, 2010 11:30 am 

CEBU CITY, March 21 — The Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) has reactivated their Anti-Street Hoodlums Team (A-Shot) to address the rising number of gang-related incidents in the city.

CCPO Director Patrocinio Comendador said the team was organized to run after gang members who engaged in crime.

Comendador said the reactivated team, composed of six dedicated police officers headed by Sr. Insp. Bonifacio Garciano, will resume operations this week.

He said he decided to reactivate the team because in every security planning, the problem of gang wars always came up among the top peace and order concerns.

In January and February this year, the Homicide Section recorded at least 10 attacks blamed on members of either Bloods or Crips Gang which resulted in the death of four victims.

In the same period last year, only one such case was recorded.

Comendador said he expects the revived A-Shot team to make an impact.

Comendador said he also ordered all police station commanders to ask the parents of gang members to watch over their children better.

Cebu Archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal commented last week that the problem of juvenile delinquency is “growing.”

He called on the Archdiocesan Commission on the Youth and other church organizations to meet with him within the month to come up with solutions.

He also plans to ask legislators to review the Juvenile Justice Law, after a 14-year-old acolyte was shot dead in a robbery by four men, one of them a minor.

Government prosecutors in Cebu also confirmed the rising number of cases involving minors.

In the first quarter of 2009, there were no cases involving minors in Cebu. But at the beginning of the last quarter of 2009, there were at least 22.

Republic Act (RA) 9344, or the Juvenile Justice Act, governs the process involving a child in conflict with the law.

It provides that no child 15 or younger at the time of his or her commission of the crime may be held responsible.

The law also provides that a child above 15 years but below 18 years of age shall likewise be exempt from criminal liability and be subjected to an intervention program, unless he/she has acted with discernment.

The Supreme Court further relaxed the process by amending those provisions of the Rules of Court that cover children.

In Administrative Matter 02-1-18-SC, the High Court declared that no child, even if found guilty during trial, will ever see the inside of a jail cell.

“If the child is found guilty of the offense charged, the court, instead of executing the judgment of conviction, shall place the child in conflict with the law under suspended sentence, without need of application,” Sec. 48 reads.

Not even if they reach legal age while still in custody.

Charged youth offenders can have their sentences suspended even after they reach 18, the country’s current legal age, as long as they are below 21 at the time they are pronounced guilty. (PNA)

DCT/LDV/EB/bh

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