CIDG charges youth group, lawmakers with kidnap
The Department of Justice (DOJ) has summoned three incumbent and former lawmakers and six members of a militant youth group to answer kidnapping and human trafficking charges filed by the police for allegedly recruiting students to join leftist groups.
The DOJ ordered Kabataan Rep. Sarah Elago and former party list Representatives Neri Colmenares and Tom Villarin of Bayan Muna and Akbayan, respectively, to appear before a preliminary investigation on Aug. 27.
Also summoned were Anakbayan officers and members Vencer Crisostomo, Einstein Recedes, Alex Danday, Bianca Gacos, Charie Del Rosario and Jayroven Villafuente Balais.
In a complaint filed on Aug. 1 based on claims made by Relissa Lucena, the Philippine National Police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) accused the lawmakers and Anakbayan of kidnapping and of violating laws against human trafficking, protection of children in armed conflict, child exploitation and the international humanitarian law.
Lucena claimed that Anakbayan recruited her daughter Alicia shortly after she enrolled in college in July 2018. The younger Lucena denied this.
The CIDG also submitted to the DOJ the sworn statement of alleged rebel returnee Ma. Rebecca Pecayo, who claimed she was recruited by the League of Filipino Students when she was a student.
In a statement, the Kabataan party list condemned “these disgusting efforts of exploiting blatant lies to sideline dissent and persecute opposition.”
Edre Olalia of the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers said the charges proved that “(the government was) lining and rounding up the most voluble and visible people who… fight back against repression and injustice.”
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