LEGAZPI CITY (7 December) — ALBAY PROVINCE registered the highest crime rate statistics among Bikol provinces in the last quarter of this year with reportedly high incidences of crimes against persons and property, and increased number of rape cases reported in November this year.
This is according to PNP regional office spokesman Police Chief Insp. Jun Samson who admitted nonetheless that actual comparative statistics among the Bikol provinces have yet to be publicly presented; he added that actual assessment of statistics will be revealed in a PNP RECOM-5 report at the end of this year.
Samson also said that Bicol PNP Chief Supt. Cecilio Calleja Jr. noted recently the mounting number of crime cases involving minor offenders.
Cases involving minors were reported in Camarines Sur towns, mostly involved in theft and robbery cases, and a robbery-holdup gang recently apprehended in Sorsogon City involving minors from 15 to 17 years of age.
Samson said that Calleja has ordered the PNP Regional Investigation and Detective Management Division (R7) and the PNP regional Legal Service to look into the matter of minor offenders being handed to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), and later returned to the custody of parents.
Recent crime incidents showed that criminal elements are using minors in many theft and robbery cases in Bikol.
Under RA 9344, “The Juvenile Justice Welfare Act of 2006,” teenage offenders below 15 up to 18 years of age are merely handed to the custody of DSWD until they reach the proper age when they could be charged legally.
Samson said that in many cases, minor offenders who were handed back to the custody of their parents by the DSWD later return to the streets and often get involved in another crime.
The police spokesman also bared that Calleja had lauded the efforts of the Police Intel-Division and the Camarines Sur PPO for having neutralized in November this year, the Nazaret-Lamadrid robbery-holdup gang.
Reportedly, notorious armed-robber Roberto San Jose Nazaret, a former NPA rebel, and Reymund Posadas Lamadrid, who both died in a shoot-out with the police were responsible for the killing of a barangay captain, a salesman in Libmanan town, a grocery owner and his son, and a Japanese national in San Fernando, Camarines Sur.
According to the Camarines Sur PPO, four more Nazaret gang-members are at large and are being hunted by a police intel-tracking team in the region. (SONNY SALES)