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‘Joma, Makabayan lawmakers face trafficking, child abuse cases’

A mother fights back at the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) by filing multiple criminal complaints for child abuse and child trafficking against its groups’ leaders, including CPP founding chairman Jose Maria Sison, Kabataan Partylist Rep. Sarah Jane Elago and Anakbayan national chairperson Vencer Crisostomo, with the Department of Justice (DOJ) Friday.

Luisa Dela Cruz Espina—Vice-chairman of Hands Off Our Children (HOOC) and the mother of Louvaine “Beng” Erika, who was recruited by the NPA in 2018, was accompanied by the Philippine National Police – Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP – CIDG) and several former NPA cadres who will become witnesses in the trial.

Filed before the DOJ are charges for violation of Section 3 in relation to Section 3(a)(b) of Republic Act (RA) 9208 otherwise known as Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003 and the Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2012 (RA 10364), as well as RA 7610 or the Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act, were slapped against Sison and other respondents for recruiting students and other minors to their armed struggle to topple the government.

Docketed as NPS No. XVI-IN, V-21J-00306, besides Sison and Elago, criminal complaints were also filed against: Kylie Paul Anareta, Sittie Sharine Amerol, Lalaine Ramos, Alexis Danday, Einstein Recedes, Caryl Jane Bequillo, and all other officers and members of Anakbayan.

Appearing as Mrs. Espina’s witnesses were Kurt Russel Sosa, alias “Ka Ugnay,” a former Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) student, Daniel Castillo alias “Ka Steven,” a former University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman student, “Ka Virgo” a member of the Indigenous People (IP) and farmer in Davao De Oro, Lady Desiree Collado Miranda alias “Ka Shane”, Joy James Alcoser Saguino alias “Ka Amihan”, and Jeffrey Luces Celiz alias “Ka Eric”, all former Communist Terrorist Groups (CTG) officials who have personal knowledge of the systematic recruitment of minors including Louvaine.

Mrs. Espina averred that they noticed a radical behavioral change in their daughter after being recruited and joining the Anakbayan in October 2016 when she was just about to turn 16 while studying at PUP Sta Mesa, Manila. She said Louvaine was always with members of Anakbayan and there were many times when she did not return home for several days.

Since 2017, Louvaine was active in Kadamay and Anakbayan rallies and immersion activities, and in several occasions, she went missing for days. “Si Beng ay unang beses nawala noong March 25, 2017 at nakita na lang namin siya na kasama sa rally ng Kadamay at Anakbayan sa Pandi, Bulacan,” said Mrs. Espina.

“In July of 2018, Louvaine left home again to attend a rally during the SONA 2018 and only came home in October 2018. After a month, she left home again and returned on December 5, 2018, with other Anakbayan members. The last time she was home was on December 16, 2018, and her family has heard nothing from her since then,” she added.

“Itinatanggi ito ni Elago. Narecruit ang anak ko, simpleng aktibista, dinala nila sa kanilang armadong pakikibaka. Nanawagan ako kay DoJ Secretary Menardo Guevarra na maproseso ang kasong ito. Hanggang ngayon di ko alam kung saan dinala ang anak ko. Tulungan niyo kami at sana pakinggan, tatlong taon ko nang di nakikita ang anak ko,” Espina said as she filed the complaint.

This was collaborated by Castillo who admitted that he was the one who recruited and became the political officer of Louvaine, now known as “Ka Pam” in the NPA.

Castillo’s sworn statements were part of voluminous documents that were submitted to the DOJ.

Celiz, another surrenderee who volunteered to be one of the witnesses in the said case, will also assist in the disqualification case filed against the Kabataan Partylist with the Commission on Election to ensure that the partylist and the other Makabayan Bloc members in Congress will not be included in next year’s polls.

“Kabataan Partylist at ang buong Kamatayan Bloc are involved in the CTG recruitment,” Celiz said of the Makabayan Bloc.

“Very dangerous and destructive recruitment. Maging ground sana ito for their disqualifications. And for the Dutch Embassy here para mapauwi si Sison. Para maisyuhan siya ng warrant of arrest,” Celiz added.

It can be recalled that the CIDG earlier filed similar complaints against the respondents but were dismissed. This time however, with the new testimonies and evidence gathered, the CIDG is confident that these cases will push through.

“Our re-filing of cases against the officers and members of the said CTG is only proof of our strong desire to fight for the truth and bring justice to the victims of the systematic exploitation and hardship caused by false ideology and propaganda of the terrorist groups,” CIDG Director Major General Albert Ignatius Ferro said.

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