CAGAYAN DE ORO, Philippines – Police pressed murder complaints against five more street gang members identified to have taken turns in beating up and killing a teenager in broad daylight in a commercial district in Cagayan de Oro on Sunday afternoon, October 23.
Except for one, though, the rest of the suspects are minors, Lieutenant Colonel Ivan Viñas, the spokesperson of the Cagayan de Oro City Police Office said on Wednesday, October 26.
Two of the suspects were taken by the police and handed over to social workers following the arrest of the primary suspect, 18-year-old Raul Lumamba Jr.
Lumamba, who was detained, was identified as the young man who finished off 14-year-old Nathaniel Ibalang with a 10-inch knife in full public view near the Ayala Centrio Mall on Corrales Avenue.
Viñas said the police were still looking for three other suspects, all minors.
“We submitted all the information for a murder case against all the suspects on Tuesday (October 25). It’s now up to the prosecutors to evaluate and decide what to do with the suspects,” Viñas told Rappler.
Ibalang’s killing sparked an uproar in Cagayan de Oro because no one intervened while Ibalang was being chased for nearly two kilometers from a park near city hall while crying out for help.
The uproar prompted Mayor Rolando Uy to order the police to crack down on street gangs in the city.
Police said video recordings showed the suspects taking turns in beating up Ibalang.
They repeatedly struck him with an iron pipe, a shovel, and a piece of wood before Lumamba finished him off.
City police chief Colonel Aaron Mandia said Ibalang and the suspects were members of two warring street gangs who started fighting at the crowded Gaston Park near city hall and the Saint Augustine Cathedral.
Lumamba earlier told reporters it was Ibalang’s group that provoked them when one of its members threw a bottle at them.
Police said the brawl sent Ibalang and his companions scampering.
Lumamba and the other suspects chased them and cornered Ibalang alone near a street corner between the mall and the state-run Northern Mindanao Medical Center.
City councilors said they were disturbed about the violent crimes being committed by young people in the city.
Sunday’s broad daylight killing followed the October 9 riot among young people that ended with a car plowing through one group and killing 26-year-old John Paul Levita on the Emmanuel Pelaez Bridge in Barangay Indahag.
“Times have changed, and today’s generation is different. Many youngsters are so intimidating and have no qualms about participating in violent activities,” said Councilor Ian Mark Nacaya.
The chairman of the City Council’s public order committee, Councilor Romeo Calizo, said citizens need to help and not rely on officials and the police alone in dealing with the problem of juvenile delinquency.
He said these following sharp criticisms about the absence of authorities during Sunday’s rumble and the long chase that ended in murder.
“This must be a concerted effort. We should help and understand each other when it comes to security matters. We should account for our family members,” said Calizo.
Nacaya, one of the co-authors of Cagayan de Oro’s Parental Responsibility Code of 2016, said the ordinance defines the role of parents and guardians in guiding their children.
He said the local government, through social workers, should start a city-wide campaign to educate parents about their responsibilities and accountability based on the city law. – Rappler.com