Davao City police sue leftist lawmakers for child abuse

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FILE PHOTO. ACT Teachers party-list Rep. Antonio Tinio and Anakpawis party-list Rep. Ariel Casilao

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 5) Davao City police have filed child abuse raps against two lawmakers for leading a protest participated in by children.

The chief of the Women and Children's Protection Desk of the Davao City police said ACT Teachers party-list Rep. Antonio Tinio and Anakpawis party-list Rep. Ariel Casilao committed child abuse for "influencing minors to be angry and to resent the present government" during an October 23 protest.

"They were leading the group, including the children with them, prompting them to listen to what their leaders and speakers were talking and saying," Senior Inspector Lilibeth Liza Remolar said in a November 8 complaint.

Remolar said police were unable to approach the minors as "many persons surrounding them were somewhat aggressive and did not allow them to go far from their group."

The two are accused of violating Republic Act 7610, or the Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act and Presidential Decree (PD) 603.

Under the Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act, those who commit any other acts of child abuse, cruelty or exploitation or are responsible for other conditions prejudicial to the child's development would be jailed for six years and one day.

The provision of PD 603 guarantees children's "right to protection against exploitation, improper influences, hazards, and other conditions or circumstances prejudicial to his physical, mental, emotional, social and moral development."

The complaint comes about a month after Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte called on Congress to expel the Makabayan bloc after the Davao chapter of ACT Teachers party-list said teachers do not get allowances from the local government.

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So, ACT Teachers Davao, hindi lang kayo terrorista at sympathizer ng mga terrorista, you are also LIARS. In December 2016 and 2017, the City Government of Davao gave gift cheques worth Php 2,000/person/year to all teaching and non-teaching employees of DepEd. We have copies of the budget, pictures of distribution and the liquidation with all signatures. Pahirapan pa nga magpa approve ng grant ninyo at kami pa ang nasa alanganin and you have the temerity to lie. Kung puwede lang sana kayo iexpel outside of Davao City. I waited for your paper and yet you always keep missing opportunities for unity, because you are never sincere. DepEd should dismiss terrorists from their ranks, how ironic for government to pay public money to people who work against the government. Congress should expel the members of Makabayan bloc, the Partylist system is the milking cow of terrorists. And why would NTC give a permit to an anti-government station Radyo ni Juan? Why is our government supporting the same people who want to overthrow it?

A post shared by Sara Z. Duterte (@indaysaraduterte) on

 

Casilao said the charges are "baseless" and "was clearly intended to harass and malign our persons."

"Last time I checked, speaking in peaceful demonstration is still guaranteed in our constitution. The filing of trumped up charges against the Makabayan lawmakers is part of the grand scheme of this government to silence opposition, critics and dissent," he said in a statement.

Harassment?

Gabriela party-list Reps. Emmi de Jesus and Arlene Brosas, and Kabataan party-list Rep. Sarah Elago are the only members of the Makabayan bloc who are not facing charges under the Duterte administration.

Last week, ACT Teachers party-list Rep. France Castro and former Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Satur Ocampo were slapped with trafficking and kidnapping charges for allegedly transporting minors and transporting 14 children from Talaingod, Davao del Norte to a unknown location without the knowledge of their parents.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police have since accused them of being "active members" and supporters of communist rebels. The Makabayan bloc is eyeing charges against the AFP for its "red tagging" of Ocampo and Castro, saying it endangers their lives.

In January, a policeman who said he was injured by protesters during the Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit in Manila in November 2017 sued Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Carlos Zarate direct assault, resistance and disobedience to a person in authority and violation of the Public Assembly Act of 1985.

"Makabayan lawmakers will not be cowed by such desperate action of the powers-that-be aimed to stop us from protecting human rights and continuing the fight for genuine social reforms," Casilao said.

The seven-member militant bloc of Congress was previously aligned with President Rodrigo Duterte in the early days of his term, but bolted out of the supermajority in the lower house after being disappointed with his policies.

Duterte was warm with the Left, having offered them posts in his Cabinet and having restarted the peace talks with local communist rebels, who have been waging Asia's longest communist insurgency.

However, relations with the Left gradually soured with the termination of peace talks and the removal of the National Democratic Front-nominated Cabinet members. The Left also disagreed with Duterte's policies, which they have repeatedly dubbed as "anti-people" and "anti-poor."

In the case of Ocampo and Castro, Duterte said the police were correct in arresting them and 16 others, who, he said, transported children to "eventually us[e] them in their armed struggle."