Lawyer to media outfits: Careful when reporting about Davao kids captured on CCTV while stealing jeepney driver’s money

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 12 Sept) – A lawyer here handling cases of children in conflict with the law (CICL) has advised media outfit to be careful in airing children’s faces and names when the latter were captured on CCTV as one of them was stealing a driver’s income while his jeepney was parked at a gas station.

The high definition video, supposedly captured at the Flying V gas station along Ponciano St. last August 17, has gone viral, with over 1,000 shares on Facebook and aired on TV news networks.

It showed five children roaming near the gas station, and approaching a Multicab jeepney with plate number LWK835. One of the minors then reached for the driver’s income through the jeepney’s front window.

According to the video poster, with username Shangy Aishiteru, the suspects were apprehended minutes later through the coordination of the Public Safety and Security Command Center and the Davao City Police Office, with officers catching the minors reportedly at People’s Park, roughly 300 meters away from the crime scene.

“I hope they self-regulate,” regional prosecutor Francis Calatrava said in an interview Wednesday at the Department of Social Welfare and Development office.

Calatrava said media outfits should remember that the faces of the minors should not be shown in public, citing the Juvenile Justice Welfare Act or Republic Act 9344, eventually amended by RA 10630.

“You are not allowed to use the children’s names and not even allowed to look at the blotter at the police station during investigations,” Calatrava said.

The lawyer, who works with the Public Attorney’s Office, said media outfits should ask themselves about the effect of the infamy of any image they pose to the public, especially involving children in conflict with the law.

“Is this helping the child?” Calatrava asked. “You have to ask, why are these children living a life like this? Maybe it’s because they were neglected. Or maybe because they are just hard-headed. Either way, you should nurture goodness and raise the children properly in the right environment,” he pointed out.

Calatrava, meanwhile, lauded the efforts of the Davao City government in helping out CICLs, among these through the provision of more plantilla positions for social workers as well as the development of halfway houses for minors who have run-ins with the law.