‘No violation, no foul play in bully victim’s death’ | Inquirer News

‘No violation, no foul play in bully victim’s death’

/ 08:29 AM March 07, 2012

NO open wounds. No foul play. No crime.

That sums up the Lapu-Lapu City police’s assessment of last Wednesday’s drowning of 7-year-old Joshua Veloso. “It was an accident,” said homicide investigator PO2 Franklin Bulaquia in a phone interview.

The disclosure came as social workers who received the three children linked to Joshua’s drowning said they released them because the Lapu-Lapu City police didn’t state the offense committed in their referral letter.


“We are at a loss, what should we do? There was no violation stated in the referral letter, no place, date and time of incident,” said social welfare assistant Mark Bao of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).


Bulaquia said the autopsy report indicated that there were no open wounds found on Joshua.

“The autopsy result states that the cause of death was asphyxia by drowning. There was no foul play,” he said in Cebuano.

He said Joshua’s 11-year-old companion who was with him last Wednesday told the police that he saw a group of minors bathing in the sea.

“The children said that they just bathed and they were not harming Joshua,” Bulaquia added.

Bulaquia said Joshua was seen holding on to a bamboo post (haligi) near the footbridge located five meters away beside the house of Buaya resident Wilne Morden.

Morden told the police that he saw the group of children pestering Joshua’s 11-year-old companion.


Buaya residents didn’t even know that Joshua already drowned until his 11-year-old companion cried.

Joshua’s 11-year-old companion told the residents that he could no longer see Joshua at the time.

Bulaquia said Joshua didn’t know how to swim and the seawaters were deep because it was high tide.

“If someone saw Joshua drowning at the time, they should have rescued him right away,” Bulaquia said.

The police officer said a 27-year-old resident, Van Emerson Epe, recovered Joshua from the waters.

In a separate phone interview, Senior Supt. Rey Lyndon Lawas, Lapu-Lapu City police chief, said Joshua’s case is temporarily closed.

“We’ll conduct further investigation if witnesses will show up,” Lawas told Cebu Daily News.

The three children aged 11 years old were accompanied by their parents to the DSWD in Lapu-Lapu City at past 5 p.m. last Wednesday.

Bao said the police only placed the name, age, date of birth and the address of the three children.

“It was our first time to receive a referral letter with no violations stated,” Bao told CDN in Cebuano.

Bao said the investigation is purely “police work” and DSWD will provide “protective custody.”

“How do you expect DSWD to provide further intervention if we are at a loss?” Bao said.

Bao explained that if the police states the offense committed by a minor, social workers will locate the parents of the child who committed an offense.

“We can’t detain the three children because we don’t have a detention cell,” he added.

Bao said if there is an offense committed, DSWD will conduct “counseling” and inform the parents about the offense committed by their children.

Bao said they will also suggest rehabilitation for minors involved in heinous or serious crimes.

He said many things have to be validated before they are placed under rehabilitation.

Bao said Joshua’s parents went to their office last Thursday and informed them that their child had undergone an autopsy.

He said the DSWD will provide financial assistance to Joshua’s parents if they return to the office.

In a phone interview, PO1 Judith Sinadjan of the Lapu-Lapu City police’s women’s desk said the three children aged 11 years old are “not suspects” nor “witnesses” of Joshua’s drowning.

“The three children said that they have not seen Joshua and they don’t know him,” Sinadjan said.

PO2 Bulaquia said they didn’t “arrest” the three children but merely invited them for questioning.

“They were near the area where Joshua drowned … That’s why they were invited by the police for questioning,” Sinadjan said.

Sinadjan said the three children just bathed in the seawaters and they were not members of the “Sandugo” group.

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She said the three children were “too far” from where Joshua bathed. “They were 15 meters away,” Sinadjan said.

TAGS: drowning, Joshua Veloso

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