Romero to PNP, AFP: Those who trample upon civil liberties must be punished

Published May 14, 2021, 5:52 PM

by Ben Rosario

Deputy Speaker and 1PACMAN Partylist Rep. Michael “Mikee” L. Romero on Friday, May 14, called on the country’s top military and police officials to guarantee the protection of civil liberties and human rights of all Filipinos following the dismissal of criminal cases filed against seven Lumads students and teachers arrested during a police-military raid in Cebu City last February.

Romero lauded the Department of Justice for its dismissal of the illegal detention charges filed against the seven respondents who were denied bail and remained under detention since their arrest.

Joining Romero in commending the DOJ investigating prosecutors were Asst. Minority Leader and ACT Teachers Partylist Rep. France Castro and Kabataan Partylist Rep. Sarah Jane Elago.

Romero said the dismissal of the charges by the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor of Davao del Norte indicated that evidence were fabricated.

The House official called on newly-installed Philippine National Police chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar to investigate the incident and make those involved answer for their wrongdoing.

It will be recalled that Romero stood on the House plenary to condemn the joint military and police raid conducted at the University of San Carlos Retreat House where the respondents were teaching Lumad children.

He called on the police and the military to spare the children from police operations that could have triggered violence and caused them harm.

Meanwhile, Castro welcomed the dismissal of the alleged “trumped up charges” agains the seven individuals arrested in the Cebu raid.

“This is another slap to the faces of red-taggers everywhere who malign advocates, progressives, and the oppressed who are fighting for their rights as “terrorists,” and legitimate causes and constitutionally protected activities as “anti-government”—without even the least amount of evidence,” she said.

Castro added: “The prosecutors are correct: The PNP had no evidence to support its tales of kidnapping, serious illegal detention, human trafficking, and child abuse”

For her part, Elago called on the public to remain vigilant as the government remained unrelenting in its “red-tagging” drive against its critics.

She said the seven respondents were clear victims of the injustice that they suffered at the hands of law enforcers.

“The fight is far from over since the seven have yet to be released from detention, and with several SOS Network volunteers and teachers in the bakwit school UCCP Haran are currently facing trumped charges,” she said.