MANILA — The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) on Wednesday filed charges before the Navotas City Prosecutor’s Office against the parents of minors rescued in a recent anti-drug operation in the city.
Facing charges for violation of Section 10 (a) of Republic Act 7610 (Special Protection of Children against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act) and Presidential Decree 603 (Child and Youth Welfare Code) are Joland Fernandez Sta. Maria, Geralyn Gulles Patalita, Nicanor Alarde Rosalijos, Emie Moreno, Daniel Bautista, Mary Ann Paraon, Cipriano Glico Moso, Arlene Cortes Salvamante, Loren Ambulo, Rowena Mendoza, Gregory Rojo, Norma Dalimit, Liza Montalban, Ronjing Montalban, Romulo Aguilar Mahinay, Rosebel Sarno Mendoza, Jeffrey Molina Baltazar, all residents of Navotas City.
“Filing the appropriate charges will serve as a warning to parents for their neglect and letting their child roam in the streets, making them vulnerable to be used by groups involved in drug trafficking,” PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino told reporters.
According to Aquino, the children belong to their homes under their parents’ care, not on the streets where they are exposed to danger at such a young age.
“PDEA emphasizes the important role of parents in keeping these kids off the streets. The parents, as head of the basic unit of society, must provide their children the basic services needed for a good quality of life,” the PDEA chief said.
Once proven that they coerced, forced, or intimidated their children to be involved in illegal drug trafficking, or pushing, the parents will also be held responsible under Section 10 (e) of RA 7610.
If found guilty, they will suffer the penalty of imprisonment of six years and one day to eight years.
Last Jan. 16, authorities arrested two drug suspects and rescued 12 minors, aged four to 15, from suspected drug dens in Navotas Fishport in Barangay North Bay Boulevard.
Investigation revealed that the minors were utilized as runners of the drug den maintainers.
Based on actual video surveillance footage, the rescued minors were used either as runners, pushers, or drug den maintainers, and were even shown facilitating and participating in the pot sessions.
When the children were taken into custody, PDEA observed the procedures in accordance with the provisions of Republic Act 9344, or the “Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006”.
The minors rescued are under the custody of Navotas City Bahay Pag-asa, a child-caring reform centers for children in conflict with the law.
Christopher Lloyd Caliwan / PNA – northboundasia.com