Child abuse raps filed vs solons critical of Duterte admin
MANILA, Philippines — Child abuse cases have been filed against opposition lawmakers ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio and Anakpawis Rep. Ariel Casilao in relation to a protest held in Davao City in October apparently participated in by minors.
Tinio and Casilao said they received a subpoena for the case on Tuesday.
Sr. Insp. Lilibeth Remolar complained that “many children” participated during a rally at Freedom Park, Roxas St., Davao City last October 23. Remolar claimed the children were “coached” to shout and were holding anti-administration placards.
She also stated in her affidavit that Tinio, Casilao, and the other progressive groups there were “influencing the minors to be angry and to resent the present government.”
By citing these instances, the policewoman said the two lawmakers violated Article VI, Section 10 of Republic Act No. 7610 or the Anti-Child Abuse Law, as well as Article 3 of Presidential Decree No. 603, which stipulates the rights of a child.
Article VI, Section 10 of RA 7610 states that other acts of child abuse include “cruelty or exploitation” or “other conditions prejudicial to the child’s development.”
‘A clear case of harassment’
Tinio denounced the complaint as a “clear case of harassment,” saying it was targeted to silence critics of the Duterte administration.
“Kinukundena po natin ang complaint na ito. Ito po ay isang halimbawa na yung exercise of constitutionally-guaranteed rights, in this case ‘yung pagsalita namin sa rally… ay nais nilang palabasin na krimen. This is a clear case of harassment,” he said in a press conference.
“Nakikita na talaga natin dito ‘yung padron na talagang tina-target for harassment ang Makabayan bloc. Talagang ang layunin ng Duterte administration kasuhan at ipakulong ‘yung mga oposisyon, ‘yung mga kritiko ng administrasyon,” he added, as he vowed to face the charges.
Casilao, for his part, believed Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio is behind the complaint, pointing out that the presidential daughter was the one who criticized them for allegedly encouraging children to participate in rallies.
“Dito mo makikita kung gaano ka-desperado ang kasalukuyang rehimen. Wala silang ibang maibato sa amin,” Casilao said.
“Kung babasahin nyo po ‘yung account at ‘yung laman ng information at affidavit of complaint ng isang pulis, matatawa ka at maaawa ka dahil alam naman nila pilit na nag-file nito, dahil sa utos ng mayor ng Davao City,” he added.
Casilao also said this poses a dangerous precedent against freedom of expression.
“What is dangerous is, even publicly expressing opposition to the martial law in Mindanao, they are trying to criminalize our freedom…,” Casilao pointed out.
Last week, former Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo, incumbent ACT Teachers Rep. France Castro and 16 others were slapped with kidnapping and human trafficking charges after they participated in a solidarity mission in Talaingod town in Davao del Norte. /kga
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