OFFICIALS of the Operation Second Chance (OSC) blamed the recent escapes of detained minors on the lack of personnel.
Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella already tasked the City Legal Office (CLO) to look into the matter.
However, City Attorney Rey Gealon questioned OSC officials for raising their concern only after breakouts were reported.
“The investigators are looking at why they are not raising these concerns on normal times or persistently requesting whatever are needed, rather bark about it only when escape incidents occur,” Gealon said.
The OSC is a temporary home for children in conflict with the law (CICL). It is located in Barangay Kalunasan.
Seventeen CICL had bolted the facility since October 2019, prompting the CLO to place OSC officials under investigation.
That month, 11 minors escaped. As of last December, only nine had returned. The whereabouts of the other two are not known.
Last month, six CICL also fled from the facility. They claimed they were bored and they wanted to spend Christmas with their families.
Only three returned to the facility a day after the Cebu City Police Office conducted a hot pursuit.
SunStar Cebu tried to get an update from OSC director Ambrosio Ibones on Sunday, Jan. 12, 2020, but to no avail.
In the October incident, some of the minors claimed they escaped because they were being maltreated.
Ibones had said he would investigate the allegation.
In the legal position OSC officials submitted to the CLO last week, they denied any negligence on their part and instead blamed the escapes on the lack of resources, particularly personnel, to guard and secure the facility’s residents.
“The question at the fore now is whether or not they are liable under the circumstances. That remains to be seen,” Gealon said.
He said the CLO will come up with a recommendation to Labella in less than 10 days.
Labella had said he planned to move the facility to the mountain barangay of Guba because he thought it inappropriate for minors to be living so close to detained hardcore criminals.
The OSC is a stone’s throw away from the Cebu City Jail and the Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center.
The OSC is currently home to more than 70 CICL. (JJL)