By JUMAI HERRERA
MANILA — Leaders of progressive groups assailed the charges in relation to the “missing minor” claims during the preliminary investigation before the Department of Justice on Aug. 27.
Kabataan Partylist Rep. Sarah Elago said,
“It seems that the PNP-CIDG (Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group) have no interest in hearing our side. Alicia Lucena has already reiterated that she was neither kidnapped nor missing, both in numerous posts online and in public appearances.”
Last week, a senate hearing led by former police chief now Sen. Ronald Dela Rosa presented mothers of young activists who they alleged are missing. Lucena, a senior high school student, already surfaced and belied the allegations, saying she left home to serve the people.
Among the charges filed against several progressives are: trafficking, child abuse, and alleged violations of the international humanitarian law for the supposed recruitment of children into armed conflict.
In a protest action outside the DOJ, lawyer Kristina Conti and the other lawyers called out the ridiculousness of the CIDG’s case citing errors in their supposed investigation. These include the address of Anakbayan headquarters and the inclusion of former Akbayan Partylist Representative Tom Villarin in the case, mistaken by the police as “Anakbayan Partylist.” When asked about the inaccuracy, CIDG representative replied that it was just what their “tropa” (colleagues) had given them.
The lawyers and the groups also reiterated the legality of Anakbayan as an organization even claiming that the evidence filed by the CIDG, the constitution and by-laws of Anakbayan, are proofs of the group’s legitimacy.
Antonio La Vina, counsel for Kabataan Partylist, added that Lucena’s participation in the campaign of Kabataan is protected by the Constitution as her right to expression, association, and suffrage.
Makabayan Chairperson Neri Colmenares hit the charges as an age-old tactic to quell the administration’s critics and dissenters and called the PNP’s operations as a waste of taxpayer’s funds.
The groups also reiterated that the “missing minor” narrative itself has been proven to be false and malicious by ALucena herself.
Conti reiterated in her social media post that “[t]he charges will fall in face of the truth, and sheer ridiculousness.”
In a statement, College Editors Guild of the Philippines National President Daryl Baybado called on the PNP to stop these harassment against people’s organizations.