Police filed a string of criminal charges that include kidnapping and child exploitation against seven people which authorities accused of recruiting and indoctrinating 19 Lumad children during a raid at the University of San Carlos retreat house in Cebu City.
Brig. Gen. Ildrebrandi Usana, spokesman of the Philippine National Police (PNP), said those charged were presented for Inquest proceedings before the Provincial Prosecutor’s Office of Davao del Norte at the Hall of Justice, Capitol Site, Mankilam, Tagum City via video conference.
Those charged were two officials (datu) of the Manobo tribe, two teachers and three adult Lumad students, one of them was Chad Booc, a Computer Science of University of the Philippines- Diliman who graduated cum laude but chose to be a volunteer teacher for lumad students.
Among the charges slapped against them were violation of Article 267 of the Revised Penal Code (Kidnapping with Serious Illegal Detention), violation of Section 10 of the Republic Ac 7610 and Violation of Sections 4i, 4j, 4k and Section 9 of RA 9208 as amended by RA 10364 (Human Trafficking).
The inquest prosecutor, Grazielynne C Corpuz, received the charge sheet and gave the respondents 15 days to submit their counter-affidavit.
The seven accused are being represented by the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL).
Usana said the case stemmed from complaints by six Ata Manobo parents of the rescued Lumad children who were herded in Talaingod Davao del Norte in 2018 and brought to Cebu City without their consent.
While the police called the raid a rescue operation for the 19 children, several groups and personalities said the children need no rescuing since their presence at the USC is part of their education after the military shut down their schools after being tagged as a recruitment ground for communist rebels.