Rescue of Lumad children a case of ‘illegal seizure’, says Cebu school

Published February 18, 2021, 7:57 AM

by Calvin Cordova 

CEBU CITY—The organization responsible for bringing the Lumad children in Cebu described last Monday’s police operation as “illegal seizure”.

Prof. Regletto Imbong, convenor of Save Our Schools Network Cebu, said that instead of rescue operation, what happened last Monday was “over seizure.”

“If we look at the standard protocols, there were many things that were violated,” Imbong said in a press conference at the Cebu Archbishop’s Palace last Tuesday.

Imbong said the police did not coordinate with the administration of the University of San Carlos-Talamban Campus (USC-TC).

The police also didn’t have search and arrest warrants when they barged into the retreat house and arrested seven persons, including a teacher, Imbong said.

“If it was a rescue operation, why there had to be a lot of armed personnel. The ones who were rescued were handcuffed, choked and cried,” said Imbong.

Police Brig. Gen. Ronnie Montejo, chief of the Police Regional Office-Central Visayas (PRO 7), has said the police, accompanied by social workers, had to rescue the Lumad children from Davao del Norte upon the request of their parents.

Nineteen LUmad children were rescued during the operation, Montejo said.

The police said charges for kidnapping, human trafficking and child abuse will be filed against the arrested persons.

A student organization at USC also condemned the presence of the police at USC-TC.

“We condemn the trespassing of our university. We assert that USC is a zone of peace,” said Angel Mendiola, vice president of the USC Supreme Student Council.

“It was not a rescue operation. It was harassment to the students and teachers. We condemned the presence of the police in the campus,” added Mendiola.