The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) on Friday said it will conduct a motu proprio (on its own) investigation into the lock-up of a 13-year-old boy with special needs inside a cage in Calape town which eventually caused his death when a fire broke out in his family’s home.
The teenager died on May 23 when a blaze engulfed his family’s home in Barangay Tinibgan while he was in his cage, but the Calape police as of Thursday had no ongoing investigation on the boy’s lockup while a social worker of the town’s Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office (MSWDO) said that it was “okay” to cage the boy as it was for “safekeeping.”
According to CHR Bohol chief Jonathan Tibay, detaining the boy inside a cage is unlawful regardless of the circumstances.
“Sayop siya. Sila may concerned agency gyud dapat ana, sila maoy mangita og alternative ana. Dili ingadtuon, bawal siya. Dili man pwede mo ingon ang MSWDO na ingadto lang, sili mangita og paagi og unsaon pero not to the extent na itangkal,” said Tibay.
Tibay said charges may be filed against the family or any other person who will be found liable for the boy’s death or his detention inside a cage.
“Kung naay liable ana, file-an g’yud na nato og kaso,” he said.
Meanwhile, Department of Social Welfare and Development Bohol team leader Jimmy Crucio said that his office will conduct an assessment on the issue.
“Definitely dili g’yud na pwede na imong e-detain ang usa ka bata pero tan-awon sa nato ang circumstance kung unsay nakapaaghat sa family ngano ilang giingon ana,” he said.
The boy died when the fire razed their home on Sunday last week while under the supervision of his grandmother Maxima Umosuro and mother Emelda Umosuro who, authorities said, is also suffering from a mental disorder.
However, Tibay said that it still needs to be verified whether or not the mother indeed has a mental condition.
“Dili ta mo rely sa statement lang na ang inahan wala sa saktong pang-isip, dapat na siya e-assess sa doctor,” he said.
When asked if it was legal to lock the boy up in a cage, Teohenisa Algusar of the Calape MSWDO on Thursday said “okay ra man na for safekeeping.”
“Lami man pud siya og butanganan, naa man pud siyay katre,” she added.
According to Algusar, the boy’s family particularly his grandmother got tired of looking for him when he goes out of their home without permission.
“Pamungon ra man pud nija og molakaw, unja mura’g gihagoan na siya sige’g bantay moa to ila na g’yung gi safekeeping,” she added.
Meanwhile, no investigation on the boy’s lockup inside a cage has been conducted by the police as of Thursday, four days after his death.
Staff Sgt. Francis Monton of the Calape Police Station who was assigned to look into the fire incident said that they will still coordinate with the Women’s and Children’s Protections Desk (WCPD) of the same station to determine if the family may be held criminally liable for locking up the boy in a cage.
“Sa analysis namo ana, gibutang pud na diha nila kay hadlok pud sila og makagawas ng bata kay laagan man na,” said Monton.
“Daghan man gung sitwasyon na ngana, ila pud sigurong gi huna-huna kay laagan man ning bataa pud, galing og buhian nila sila gihapoy mo suffer,” he added. (A. Doydora)