CEBU City, June 10, 2015—A Catholic priest and children’s rights advocate has expressed outrage over the detention, “mishandling,” and possible sexual abuse of two female minors last Easter Sunday in Cebu City at the hands of suspected local police officers, resulting in the death of one of the victims.
“This is a gross humiliation and criminalization of children and psychological abuse. The police should be fired for gross ignorance of the law and rights of the child and charged with violation of R.A. 7610, the ‘Child Protection Law’,” says Fr. Shay Cullen, founding president of Preda, an Olongapo-based foundation that seeks to protect women and children from sex slavery, denouncing members of the Cebu police force, who had allegedly taken part in “brutalizing” two street children, Chastity Mirabilis and Miriam (not her real name), both 11.
Kids’ rights violations
According to him, the two were sleeping on the pavement in Cebu’s Fuente district on the night of April 5 after begging all day for food when a still unnamed policeman from Station 2 under the command of Chief Inspector Wildemar Tiu came up to the girls and kicked Chastity in the face, dragging them into a police van.
Miriam later told social workers the cops tortured Chastity with electricity.
The Columban missionary recalls the children were so battered they could hardly walk, with Chastity dying soon after from her injuries.
“The next day they were allegedly kicked out of the police station but Chastity could not stand up and walk and Miriam carried her on her back. No medical help was given. Investigators have yet to release a report or evidence to rule it out that they were sexually abused,” says the Irish priest, adding that the heartless and cruel policemen must be held accountable because they bring disgrace to the Philippine National Police (PNP).
Cullen notes that Inspector Wildemar Tiu reportedly left the country for the United States immediately after news of Chastity’s death came out.
“Will justice ever be done? Will the state really prosecute police for this crime of alleged murder and child abuse? They will likely favor the cruel corrupt police over what they have until now considered a worthless street child. They are considered less than human, so worthless they allow them to sleep on the streets and scavenge in their garbage dumps. They allow it because they see the children as worthless garbage,” he explains.
Cullen laments that some consider the likes of Chastity as “worthless street children.”
“The conscience of the nation ought to be awakened to these terrible, unchanging conditions bringing suffering to the poor, the children, and disgrace to the Philippines,” he notes. (Raymond A. Sebastián/CBCP News)