Suspected gangsters kill 2 in Davao City

Killed were Pedro Hernan, 50, a jeepney driver from Bansalan, Davao del Sur, and government employee Anthony James Villanueva, 30, from this city. The latter, an employee of the City Environment and Natural Resources Office, was hit by stray bullets fired by assailants to Hernan.


The attending staff of an ambulance who responded to the emergency call declared both Hernan and Villanueva to have died on the spot, the police report filed by Police Officer Leo Dayuno said.


Police said the unidentified suspects posted as jeepney barkers demanded P20 from Hernan. Irked when Hernan refused to hand the cash, the suspects fired using a hand-made gun, the police report said.


The blotter report at the San Pedro police station said the suspected assailants were members of Davao City' youth gangs.


The incident occurred at around 3:40 a.m. when Hernan stopped in front of a bakery awaiting for more passengers.


The report said the gun used was not identified but three empty shells of 9mm bullets were recovered from the crime scene.


The incident was the latest in street killings here blamed on the city's notorious gangsters.


Police said they have pursued a crackdown on the spread of gangs in the city.


Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, in a speech in a forum against drugs and gangs in September at the University of Immaculate Conception, warned against the youth joining gangs.


He said parents should monitor their children and bring them away from gangs.


Duterte has appealed to Congress to amend Republic Act 9344 or the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act, which provides that children 15 years and below be exempted from criminal liability.


He said the law does not help solve the problem on young offenders but instead it "compounded" the situation.


He cited complaints by judges and police on the law's flaws. He said it does not provide an agency that would receive and deal with the children in conflict with the law.


Duterte, in earlier interviews, said he agrees with the intention to rehabilitate the offenders but said the government lacks funds.


He has ordered a strict implementation of the curfew on minors to mitigate crimes committed by minors.


Police Officer Teresita dela Peña, officer-in-charge of the women's and children's protection desk at the San Pedro station, said most of those caught for involvement in gang-related crimes have no parents or are products of broken and poor families.


She said majority of the gangsters caught are from the city's slum areas, but some are from other places like Kidapawan, Agusan and Surigao.


Dela Peña said one of the problems of gang members, mostly minors, is that they do not receive guidance from their parents.


Many of them, she said, are no longer afraid to be in conflict with the law.


She said RA 9344 prohibits the imprisonment of children.


She said it is sad that these children grow as violators of the law. "They will soon become the future big time criminals," she said.