Home / Philippine News / Gov’t readies fresh charges vs. IP kids’ abductors

Gov’t readies fresh charges vs. IP kids’ abductors

MANILA – The National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) rebuked the Communist Party of the Philippines and its military wing, the New People’s Army (CPP-NPA), for gloating too much over the dismissal of criminal cases filed against seven of their comrades who were arrested during the rescue operations for Indigenous People (IP) students inside a Cebu City university earlier this year.

Lawyer Marlon Bosantog, NTF-ELCAC spokesperson for Legal Affairs and IP Concerns, said the government is readying charges against these same individuals for violation of Republic Act No. 8371, otherwise known as the Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act of 1997 (IPRA), that will “amplify the case” during a virtual conference with the parents and tribe leaders of the abducted students.

“This is a separate and distinct offense. Separate special offence from the (original) criminal case,” Bosantog said in a news release on Wednesday.

Earlier, the Provincial Prosecutor’s Office dismissed the kidnapping, serious illegal detention, human trafficking and child abuse charges against Chad Errol Booc, Segundo Lagatos Melong, Benito Dalim Bay-ao, Moddie Langayed Mansimoy-at, Esmelito Paumba Oribawan, Roshelle Mae C. Porcadilla and Jomar Benag.

Bosantog pointed out that the dismissal was due to lack of jurisdiction.

He clarified that there were findings in the prosecutor’s resolution that the elements of the crimes were actually committed, “it just so happens that the crimes committed were out of jurisdiction of Davao del Norte, so the filing of the case is improper.”

He added that the crimes were committed while transporting the 19 IP students from Davao del Norte to the University of San Carlos in Cebu City.

Bosantog laid out the legal options after hearing the sentiments of the parents and tribe leaders of Talaingod, Davao del Norte during the conference. They said the abducted minors were taken by the communist group without their consent to be trained as “child warriors.”

Meanwhile, Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Undersecretary Lorraine Badoy, NTF-ELCAC spokesperson for Social Media Affairs and Sectoral Concerns, said they will continue fighting the case by filing a motion for reconsideration aside from the new IPRA violations charges mentioned by Bosantog.

“This is only the first round, and we’re sure to win this, the resolution said there were crimes committed and it’s just a question of jurisdiction. That’s a very big win for us,” she said.

She pointed out that the claims of the communist group that the cases were dismissed for being baseless is a “big lie.”

“Baseless is template responses of CPP-NPA. They are the ones who committed terrible crimes,” Badoy said.

In December 2017, President Rodrigo Duterte declared the NPA and the CPP as terrorist organizations.

Both the CPP and the NPA are also designated as terrorist organizations by the United States, New Zealand, and the European Union composed of Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, and Sweden.

The Anti-Terrorism Council of the Philippines created under the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 designated the CPP-NPA as terrorist organizations in the Philippines on December 9, 2020. (PR)

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Credit belongs to : www.pna.gov.ph

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