PNP chief defends rescue of Lumad children from University of San Carlos retreat house in Cebu

Published February 19, 2021, 3:28 PM

by Calvin Cordova 

CEBU CITY – The Philippine National Police (PNP) insisted that there were no irregularities in the police operation that led to the arrest of seven persons and the supposed rescue of 19 Lumad children from a retreat house of a university here.


 PNP chief Police Gen. Debold Sinas said standard protocols were followed during the Feb. 15 police operation at the retreat house of University of San Carlos-Talamban Campus.

 Sinas said the PNP is ready to face charges questioning the legality of the police operation.

 “Social workers were present during the operation and it was supervised by the Women and Children’s Protection Desk. I don’t know what was violated. They should file a complaint and we will face it,” said Sinas.

 “What’s important is that there were parents who complained that their children were abducted,” said Sinas.

According to the police, the Lumad children had not gone home since 2019 and that the parents were unaware that the children were brought to Cebu.  

Sinas met with some of the parents of the Lumad children Friday at the Police Regional Office-Central Visayas (PRO 7) in this city.

 “I am encouraging you to pursue the filing of charges so this will not happen that your children will not be kidnapped again,” Sinas told the parents.

Sinas said charges have been filed against two teachers, two adult Lumads, and two Datus, who were with the rescued children during the operation.

Charges for illegal detention and kidnapping were filed against Chad Errol Booc, Roshelle Mae Porcadilla, Benito Bay-ao, Segundo Milong, Jomar Benag, Esmelito Oribawan and Moddie Mansimuy-at.

Sinas said the suspects will be detained in Cebu unless a court issues an order for their transfer to Davao del Norte where the charges had been filed.

 “The case is continuing so they will be staying unless the court orders that they should be transferred,” Sinas said.

Sinas added that a separate investigation will be conducted to determine the possible liabilities of the university.

“We are investigating to check if something was amiss. It is a separate investigation, we have communicated with the Department of Education or Commission on Higher Education or whoever has the jurisdiction,” Sinas said.