DOJ drops kidnapping, other criminal raps vs Anakbayan, militant solons
MANILA, Philippines — There is no evidence presented to prove that Anakbayan is an armed organization, the Department of Justice said in a resolution dismissing the kidnapping and crime against humanity cases filed against incumbent and former solons who belonged to the Makabayan bloc at the House of Representatives.
The case is in connection with the complaint filed by the Philippine National Police’s Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG), together with the parents of activist Alicia Jasper Lucena.
Aside from the case of kidnapping, Kabataan party-list Representative Sarah Elago, former Bayan Muna Representative Neri Colmenares and Anakbayan president Vencer Crisostomo, secretary-general Einstein Recedes, and Anakbayan members Charie del Rosario, Bianca Marie Gacos, Jay Roven Balais, Al Omaga, Shittie Sharine Amerol, and Alex Danday were also cleared of violation of Republic Act 9851 or the Philippine Act on Crimes Against International Humanitarian Law, Genocide, And Other Crimes Against Humanity.
Prosecutors said the complaint lacked probable cause as complainants failed to show proof that Lucena was kidnapped and prevented from returning to her parents.
“While it may be true that Alicia was still a minor when she left her home and joined the Anakbayan on February 3, 2019, the complainants failed to show that the respondents were entrusted with the custody of Alicia. On the contrary, the affidavit of the private complainant and the handwritten letter of Alicia to her parents show that even when Alicia joined the Anakbayan, there were instances that she returned home,” the DOJ said.
The state prosecutors also dismissed the testimony of two former NPA members narrating the alleged modus operandi of youth groups in recruiting members to eventually become a full-time member of the communist movement.
They said that the two who were merely identified by their nom de guerre as Rebecca and Edison can only testify on personal matters they know through their knowledge and perception as members of the League of Filipino Students, Kabataang Makabayan and Gabriela Youth and not on Anakbayan since they are not members of the said group.
“In fact, their allegation that Anakbayan recruits minors to become members of the CPP-NPA-NDF remained unsupported by any evidence and would not suffice to determine the existence of probable cause,” the DOJ said.
“There is also no evidence presented showing that Anakbayan is the recruiting arm of or somehow connected to the CPP-NPA-NDF,” it said.
The DOJ also said the complainants “failed to present any evidence that would connect the respondents to the CPP-NPA-NDF.”
The resolution was signed by Assistant State Prosecutors Xerxes Garcia and Noel Antay Jr. and approved by Senior Deputy State Prosecutor Richard Anthony Fadullon and Prosecutor General Benedicto Malcontento.
While the cases were being heard by the DOJ, Lucena’s parents also filed petitions for the issuance of writs of amparo and habeas corpus before the Supreme Court but the High Court in a decision issued in September 2019 junked the plea for lack of merit and for asking the wrong remedy.
Lucena’s parents claimed Anakbayan brainwashed their daughter into joining their organization saying she could not have given her consent since she was not yet 18 years old at the time.
But the SC said Lucena was not missing and her whereabouts are determinable with the Anakbayan and its officers.
Likewise, the SC said a writ of habeas corpus is only proper in cases of illegal detention or confinement, which is not present in Lucena’s case.
Lucena earlier accused her parents of detaining her twice and in a press conference in August 2018, refuted their claims in a Senate inquiry that she was being held against her will by Anakbayan.
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