DOJ junks police’s plea to revive charges vs youth activists

The groups are firm that the filing of charges against them and their members are pure harassment as these charges were later dismissed by the courts.


MANILA – The Department of Justice (DOJ) junked the petition filed by the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) seeking to reverse its decision to dismiss criminal charges against Kabataan Partylist Rep. Sarah Elago and several others last year.

In a resolution by Justice Assistant Secretary Margaret V. Castillo-Padilla dated June 2, the petition was dismissed for failure to comply with mandatory requirements under the Department Circular No. 70 series of 2000.

Padilla said that the petitioners failed to provide the respondents and the Prosecutor General copies of proof of service as well as the certified true copy of the resolution appealed from.

“The right to appeal is neither a natural right nor part of due process. It is merely a statutory privilege and may be exercised only in accordance with the law. The party who seeks to avail of the same must comply with the requirements set forth in the law,” Padilla pointed out in the resolution.

The appeal stems from DOJ’s resolution in October last year dismissing the complaint filed by Relisa Lucena and CIDG-Major Crimes Investigation Unit of the PNP against Elago, Bayan Muna former Rep. Neri Colmenares, Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder Prof. Jose Maria Sison and nine leaders and members of Anakbayan.

Lucena is the mother of Alicia Jasper who is a member of Anakbayan.

Lucena accused Elago and others of kidnapping her daughter who decided to leave their home for the second time on July 10, 2019.

Alicia came out in the public and categorically denied that she was kidnapped by the group. She also told the media about her estranged relationship with her mother who she said treated her badly upon learning of her membership in Anakbayan.

Lucena and the PNP filed for kidnapping and failure to return a minor under Article 270 of the Revised Penal Code and for violating Philippine Act on Crimes Against International Humanitarian Law, Genocide, and Other Crimes Against Humanity (RA 9851) against Elago and others.

In October last year, the complaint was dismissed by DOJ prosecutors due to lack of probable cause.

Read: DOJ junks kidnapping, other charges vs. rights lawyer, youth leaders

The DOJ said in its decision that while it is true that Alicia was then a minor when she first left home on Feb. 3, 2019, the “complainants failed to show that the respondents were entrusted with the custody of Alicia and that they deliberately failed to restore/return her to her home.” It added that the handwritten letter of Alicia to her parents and the affidavit of her mother also showed that she returned home even after joining Anakbayan.

The DOJ also said that the complainants failed to prove that Anakbayan is an “armed force or that the members thereof used children to participate in hostilities.”

Prior to this, in September 2020, the Supreme Court junked the petition for writs of amparo and habeas corpus filed by her parents against Elago and Anakbayan.

In its decision, the SC stressed that Alicia has already attained the age of majority in the eyes of the State and therefore has the right to make independent choices.

“Such choices, so long as they do not violate any law or any other person’s right, has to be respected and let alone, lest we trample upon AJ’s personal liberty – the very freedom supposed to be protected by the writs of amparo and habeas corpus,” the decision read.

In April, however, Alicia was reportedly taken by her mother after she and another activist went with barangay officials for a supposed randomized COVID testing in Manila. Anakbayan fears that Alicia is once again being kept incommunicado.

It was not only Lucena who filed complaints against Anakbayan and its members. Two other complaints of parents against Anakbayan were also junked by the DOJ – one complaint was dismissed on Oct. 30, 2020 for insufficiency of evidence and one on Feb. 10, 2021 for lack of probable cause.

These complaints were filed separately by two parents alleging that their children, who are members of Anakbayan, were missing.

Read: Truth-tagging? | Courts junk cases vs red-tagged activists, peace consultants

The groups are firm that the filing of charges against them and their members are pure harassment as these charges were later dismissed by the courts.

They maintained that behind these complaints is the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) that has been relentless in labeling these progressive groups as front organizations of the underground organizations.(RTS, RVO) (

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