By MINKA KLAUDIA S. TIANGCO
POLICE on Friday rescued in Bacoor City, Cavite the 15-year-old suspect in the killing of a 14-year-old teenager last week in Caloocan City.
The suspect identified as “Romel” was caught on closed circuit television footage beating the 14-year-old victim to death with a wooden block in Barangay 144 while neighbors watched the incident unfold on Aug. 24.
Romel’s relatives sought help from barangay officials who immediately notified the police. Police were told that Romel was going to voluntarily surrender to them.
Police arrived at the house of Romel’s grandmother where he hid after committing the crime. However, he ran amok and had to be restrained by lawmen. It was later revealed that Romel did not know that the police would come.
“Technically, rescue ‘yon. Hindi po namin siya in-aresto. Minor ito, eh. Mas appropriate ‘yung term na rescue kaysa ‘yung arrested,” said Senior Supt. Restituto Arcangel, Caloocan police chief.
“Pag 15 pababa, wala siyang criminal liability. So ano magiging rason para iaresto siya? Wala po. So ‘yung pag-restrain sa kanya, rescue ‘yon,” he added.
The suspect told Caloocan Mayor Oca Malapitan that an old grudge was the motive behind the crime.
Police said Romel had prior records of stealing a fire extinguisher and a motorcycle.
Arcangel said murder charges will be filed against the four bystanders who only watched and took videos while the crime was being committed
He also revealed that the four suspects have been identified and one of them has an existing warrant of arrest for theft.
“Under the law, kapag may nakita kang pinapatay…at hindi ka nag-exert ng effort para tulungan, criminally liable ka,” Malapitan said.
“Nakita nila hinahataw tsaka nakita nila bata, kayang-kaya awatin, eh wala silang ginawa. Dun palang, criminally liable na sila,” he added.
Romel denied that he was taking drugs and agreed to a drug test. The suspect will be temporarily turned over to the City Social Welfare and Development while police investigate.