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Caloocan bishop takes custody of minor witness in Kian slay
Jomari (only one name given), a neighbor and friend of slain Kian Loyd Delos Santos, refuses to leave the wake of his friend Friday, Aug. 18, 2017 in Caloocan City, Philippines. Kian Loyd, a 17-year-old Grade 11 student, was killed on Wednesday allegedly in a shootout with police. The killing of Kian has sparked protests and condemnation from concerned citizens. AP/Bullit Marquez
MANILA, Philippines — Caloocan Bishop Pablo Virgilio David on Saturday said the custody of the minor witness in Kian Delos Santos’ death will remain under their diocese.
David said the decision was made after the father gave him the parental authority to continue taking custody of the children, one of whom a witness to Delos Santos’ slay.
The bishop also shared that the father was with the members of the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption and the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group to discuss the custody. He said legal counsel Jim Paras represented the groups in the meeting held at San Roque Cathedral in Caloocan City.
David said the encounter with the parties caused a little "tension" as the father demanded the custody of his children.
“Nakipagkita sakin yung grupo (VACC and CIDG,) iniwan lang itong sulat. ‘Yung ama hinihingi yung kustodiya sa mga anak,” David said in recorded press conference.
“Sabi ‘hinihingi kong irelease niyo sa akin mga anak ko,’ sabi ko naman walang problema basta’t may parental authority ang hinihintay kasulatan [nung] ama ng mga nasasangkot,” he added, saying the meeting concluded with the father allowing the Church to take custody of the children.
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David said the representatives of the CIDG and VACC initially tried to convince the father to change his decision and come with them. However, the father made up his mind and relied on the Caloocan Diocese.
“Ayaw siyang ibigay ng CIDG medyo nag-usap ulit at pilit kino-convince ‘yung ama na at least siya sumama pa rin sa CIDG,” David narrated.
“Finally, nag-decision pa rin yung tatay na ‘mas gusto ko sa simbahan,’” he added.
'Caloocan Diocese willing to release children'
The bishop said he was given authority to take protective custody of the children after the Senate hearing into Delos Santos’ case last August 24. He said the Senate’s custody lapsed so he accepted the children as long as there was a permission from their parents.
The child witnesses were previously under the custody of Sen. Risa Hontiveros.
According to David, the father had a drug case but the Public Attorneys’ Office posted bail to get him out of jail. He then executed a statement demanding custody of his children.
David reiterated that the Caloocan Diocese is willing to release the children as long as there is a parental authority. He also clarified the news circulating that he refused to release the children to their father.
“Walang katotohanan…Ngayon ko lang na-meet ang CIDG,” David said.
“Kung anuman maitutulong simbahan willing kami, basta't may pahintulot ng magulang,” he said.
The bishop said he is not meddling in politics but is only doing his duty as the diocese’s bishop. He even offered rehabilitation program for the father because he said the Caloocan Diocese has an ongoing “Stop the Killings, Start the healing” campaign.
“Addicts are not criminals,” he said. — with reports from Janvic Mateo