THE Department of Justice (DOJ) has found no probable cause to pursue the kidnapping charges filed against former Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares and Kabataan party-list Rep. Sarah Elago in connection with the case filed by the parents of “missing student activist” Alicia Jasper Lucena.
Assistant State Prosecutors Xerxes Garcia and Noel Antay Jr. signed the 11-page resolution dated October 15. It was approved by Senior Deputy State Prosecutor Richard Anthony Fadullon and Prosecutor General Benedicto Malcontento.
Aside from kidnapping charges, Colmenares, Elago and Anakbayan president Vencer Crisostomo, secretary general Einstein Recedes, and Anakbayan members Charie del Rosario, Bianca Marie Gacos, Jay Roven Balais, Al Omaga, Shittie Sharine Amerol and Alex Danday were also sued for violation of anti-trafficking laws and protection of children for allegedly abducting students they recruited into their groups such as Lucena.
Prosecutors also junked the case against the respondents for violation of Republic Act 9851 or the Philippine Act on Crimes against International Humanitarian Law, Genocide, And Other Crimes Against Humanity.
The cases were filed by the PNP-CIDG while Lucena’s mother, Relissa acted as the private complainant.
In junking the case, state prosecutors said the respondents could not be accused of kidnapping or failing to return a minor under Article 270 of the Revised Penal Code since the complainants failed to show that they were entrusted with the care of Lucena.
There was also no evidence presented to show that they deliberately prevented or failed to return her to her home.
“While it may be true that Alicia was still a minor when she left her home and joined the Anakbayan on February 3, 2019, the complainants failed to show that the respondents were entrusted with the custody of Alicia. ON the contrary, the affidavit of private complainant and the handwritten letter of Alicia to her parents show that even when Alicia joined the Anakbayan, there were instances that she returned home,” the DOJ said.
The state prosecutors also dismissed the testimony of two former NPA members narrating the alleged modus operandi of youth groups in recruiting members to eventually become full-time communists.
They said that the two who were identified by their nom de guerre as Rebecca and Edison can only testify on personal matters they know through their knowledge and perception as members of the League of Filipino Students, Kabataang Makabayan and Gabriela Youth and not on Anakbayan since they are not members of the said group.
“In fact, their allegation that Anakbayan recruits minors to become members of the CPP-NPA-NDF remained unsupported by any evidence and would not suffice to determine the existence of probable cause,” the DOJ said.
As to the case for violation of RA 9851, the state prosecutors said the complainants failed to prove that Anakbayan is an armed force or that the members used children to participate in armed hostilities.
“There is also no evidence presented showing that Anakbayan is the recruiting arm of or somehow connected to the CPP-NPA-NDF,” it said.