Mothers of minors allegedly recruited by leftist groups turn emotional at Senate hearing
Robie de Guzman • August 7, 2019 • 1730
MANILA, Philippines – Several mothers of missing students who were allegedly recruited by leftist groups turned emotional when they testified and narrated their ordeal before a Senate panel on Wednesday.
Among them were Luisa Espina, Gemma Labsan, Relissa Lucena and Jovita Antoniano who recounted the pain of being abandoned by their children and the changes they saw in them since joining leftist groups like Anakbayan.
According to Espina, her 17-year old daughter, a student at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP), started not going home when she joined an organization in their school.
They later found out she became a member of the Anakbayan.
“Magmula noong napasok siya diyan sa Anakbayan na yan, nagulo ang utak niya, masyadong magagalitin, kapag dinebate mo siya sa pulitika galit agad siya, kaya di na kami nanunuod ng news sa TV,” she said during a hearing held by the Senate Committee on Public Order & Dangerous Drugs.
Labsan’s 16-year old daughter, a student at the far Eastern University, also left their home when she got recruited to a left-leaning group. She said they found out about it when they saw files about armed conflict and communism on her mobile phone.
“Kinuha ng papa niya ang cellphone niya, nakita po mga files, mga armadong pakikibaka, komunismo po. Nagalit na po kami, nakita ko po dun sa libro duon nakalagay Struggle of Democracy by Joma Sison,” she recounted.
Lucena narrated the same account, saying her daughter left their home after becoming an officer of a leftist organization.
When she did not come home for three days, they reported it to authorities. When her daughter returned home and found out that she went to the police and her school, she even got mad at her mother.
“Sabi niya sa akin full-time na siya siya sa Anakbayan, tapos nung nalaman niya na nagsumbong ako sa PNP at saka sa school, ang sabi po niya sa akin, kalaban na daw po ako,” Lucena said.
“Isipin ko daw na wala na akong anak,” she added.
She said she had tried to get her daughter back home but her efforts were unsuccessful.
The Philippine National Police (PNP) said it has taken up measures to address the leftist groups’ alleged recruitment of minors in schools, including visitation of campuses every now and then.
It also eyes monitoring teachers who are allegedly requiring students to attend protests in streets.
However, the PUP administration expressed apprehension on issuing a formal order on police visitation in campus.
“Ina-assert po minsan ng faculty o kaya ng ilang estudyante ‘yung mga aktibista na rin na meron silang academic freedom,” PUP president Emmanual de Guzman said during the hearing.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), for its part, advised parents to take note of any sudden changes in their children’s behavior and actively monitor their movements in school, whereabouts, and the organizations they are taking part in.
AFP deputy chief of staff for Civil Military Operations MGen. Antonio Parlade also shared some indicators that parents may take note if their children are being recruited to left-leaning groups.
“Marami na silang alibi, marami silang paalam, pupunta kung saan, may field trip duon, sometimes, often these are not sanctioned by school and then organization namin merong pupuntahan. Ito na yung indicators na nagi-immerse na sila, and this immersion, they really meet the armed NPA’s (New People’s Army)” he said.
Based on data from the AFP, at least 513 students have been recruited as combatants by the NPA from 1999 to 2019.
Senator Ronald dela Rosa, who chairs the Senate Committee on Public Order & Dangerous Drugs, said this report is especially alarming because communist terrorists are recruiting minors as their fighters.
“Alarming in the sense na mga menor de edad ito na dapat nag-aaral. Bakit nasa kalsada? Nabi-brain wash, pinopoison ang utak nitong mga makakaliwa para lumaban sa gobyerno,” he said.
The lawmaker previously cited a statement by the Department of the Interior and Local Government on the Communist Party of the Philippines’ activities to “poison the minds of the children to take up arms against the government,” and teaching them to “join rallies calling for the overthrow of government.”
MANILA, Philippines – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) on Wednesday vowed they will be relentless in their fight against communist terrorists in compliance with President Rodrigo Duterte’s order to wage an all-out war against the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA).
“The AFP is compliant with the directive of the President and Commander-in-Chief. We are engaging the New People’s Army all out,” AFP Spokesperson Brigadier General Edgard Arevalo said.
Arevalo said the military has been employing and using all its resources in a “focused, surgical, and deliberate lethal and non-lethal operations towards the decisive defeat of the communist terrorists.”
On Tuesday, Duterte reiterated his call on the government troops to launch a full-scale attack and end the CPP-NPA before his term ends in 2022.
“I am ordering an all-out-war against the NPA. If I can, I will end the insurgency problem within my term,” the president said during a press briefing in Malacañang on Tuesday.
“Walang hintuan. Magpalit-palit ‘yung isang battalion diyan na walang gamit na wala masyadong kalaban ‘yang ano…. Pagka-bone-weary na ang mga sundalo, palit na naman. Tuloy-tuloy. At kung maaari, lumaban sila nang husto kasi hindi ako magtanggap ng surrender,” he added.
The PNP, for its part, vowed it will launch swift and relentless police operations against communist rebels.
“The final push to end local communist armed conflict will be firm and decisive under the guidance and direction of the national leadership,” the PNP said.
“Police operations against the armed components of the communist terrorist movement will be swift and relentless just as it will be lawful and judicious,” it added. RRD (with details from Correspondents April Cenedoza & Rosalie Coz)
Senate President Vicente Sotto III on Wednesday (September 11) said more witnesses on the controversial good conduct time allowance (GCTA) will be presented at the Senate hearing on Thursday (September 12).
Four to five new witnesses might testify during the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee hearing tomorrow.
According to Sotto, these are former inmates and employees of the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor). Their testimonies will center on the GCTA and “hospital pass for sale” issue.
“I signed seven subpoenas which include subpoena duces tecum, but personalities will be presented tomorrow,” he said.
Meanwhile, the calls and messages from Elvira Sanchez have been retrieved. Sanchez is the common law wife of former Calauan, Laguna Mayor Antonio Sanchez.
The Senate is also seeking the assistance of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) to identify who texted Elvira that her husband will be released.
In a previous hearing, Ms. Sanchez already said she did not know who texted and called her.
“Ang trace nila galing sa loob, (The trace came from the inside). It was a text from an inmate. As a matter of fact hindi lang text (it’s not just a text). Hindi accurate iyong sinabi ni Ms. Sanchez, [may] tawag, (Ms. Sanchez’s statement was not accurate, there was also a call)” according to Sotto.—AAC (with reports from Grace Casin)
MANILA, Philippines – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Friday said it would work with the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), the Department of Justice (DOJ), the International Police and other relevant agencies for the service of the warrant of arrest for Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) leader Jose Maria “Joma” Sison.
In a statement, AFP spokesperson Marine Brigadier General Edgardo Arevalo said they are ready to use available legal recourse to bring Sison and his cohorts to justice.
“We may not be able to serve the warrant right away as they are outside our jurisdiction. But we are not without recourse,” Arevalo said.
Sison and his wife have been in self-exile in the Netherlands for more than 30 years now.
“We are sure that the long arm of the law will soon catch up on Mr. Sison and his cohorts,” he added.
The AFP also expressed elation over the court’s issuance of arrest warrant against Sison, his wife and 36 other members of the communist group.
A Manila court on August 28 issued the warrant of arrest for Sison and company in relation with a murder case for the discovery of a mass grave in Inopacan, Leyte in 2006. The site allegedly contained the bones of the victims of a mass killing by the New People’s Army in the 1980s.
No bail was recommended for the accused.
The so-called “Inopacan massacre” was said to be a purging activity by the CPP of people in Leyte Province who were suspected of being government spies.
According to the AFP, around 300 people died in the incident which the NPA infamously dubbed as “Oplan Venereal Disease.”
“This is a crime against humanity. Though it’s too early to claim victory, we are happy for the Filipino people – especially for the families of the victims of this heinous crime – because the wheels of justice shall begin to grind,” Arevalo said.
The AFP official also promised to go after terrorists who perpetrated these “dastardly, cowardly, and devilish acts” to serve the warrant and arrest them.
“We are as devoted, as other agencies of government are, in bringing them to the bar of justice and answer for this crime most painful against the bereaved families of the victims who continue to live in a day-to-day anguish,” he said.
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