LEGAZPI CITY, April 3 (PNA) -- He used to be a street child and a menace for the members of the Tabaco City Police Station (TCPS) because of his involvement in cases of theft and other illegal activities in the city.
Being a young offender, however, the police could not charge and put him in jail so they thought of a good solution to their problem -- enrolling him in the school.
On March 31, John Paul Torrefranca,16, was part of the graduating class of the San Carlos Elementary School (SCES) and received the "Most Dependable" student award.
Torrefranca, popularly known as Avatar, was a resident of Purok 7, Barangay Pinagbobong, Tabaco City.
Supt. Robert Capuz, TCPS chief, said Torrefranca was the offspring of Fe Torrefranca Formento, a former streetsweeper of the local government unit of Tabaco City, when she was still single.
He had not seen his real father since he was born, Capuz said.
When Fe got married to Gerry Formento, they had four more children.
His second father, however, treated him unkindly, beating him always, so at the age of 10, he decided to leave home.
Since then, Torrefranca became part of the city streets, roaming around and later turned to be a headache to the police as he got involved in theft, robbery and being a lookout of notorious groups involved in illegal activities.
Cases of illegal activities involving the young boy grew and it was at this time that the TCPS personnel decided to address the problem and they hit the nail on the head by deciding to adopt him, cloth him and give him what he needed so that he would no longer leave the station.
Torrefranco was then 14 years old.
Since the boy had reached Grade 4 and had a dream to finish his studies, the TCPS decided to enroll him at the SCES in the city.
Despite being the eldest and tallest in the class, this did not deter Torrefranco from studying and finishing elementary.
While feasting on a simple blowout given by the TCPS, Capuz asked Avatar what he dream is if grows old.
The teenager said he wants to be a policeman and enforce peace and order in the streets where he grew up.
Touched, the TCPS members promised to assist in fulfilling his dream to study in high school and college until he becomes a police officer.
When the administration of the Tabaco National High School, a leading public secondary school in Bicol, learned about Torrefranco's story, it immediately got in touch with the LCPS and offered full scholarship to the young man.
Owing to this, the TCPS personnel hope that they can help their adopted son go through college and successfully return to his family later.(PNA) BNB/FGS/JH/CBD/PJN