The Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) has filed a string of criminal charges against Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder Jose Maria “Joma” Sison and three members of what the authorities referred to as the communist rebels’ legal front organizations for allegedly recruiting minors to take up arms and fight the government.
CIDG director Maj. Gen. Albert Ignatius Ferro said the cases that were filed before the Department of Justice (DOJ) stemmed from the complaints of 29-year old Joy James Saquino and a 24-year old former PUP student.
Aside from Sison, charged were Vince Hugo Villena and alleged recruiters for Anakbayan identified as Lean Porquia and Karen Edaniel.
The cases filed were for violations of Section 3 in relation to Sec 3(a)(b) of RA 9208 as amended by RA 10364 and Section 4(i) of RA 10364 (Expanded Ant-Trafficking in Person of 2012), and of Section 10(a) in relation to Section 3(d) (4) of RA 7610 (Special Protection of Children against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Acts)
The former PUP student, who used the aliases “Ka Ugnay”, “Ka Dima”, “Ka Intoy Karagatan”, and “Job Paolo Valencia,” when he was still in the underground movement, was a first-year journalism student when he was recruited to join the League of the Filipino Students (LFS).
He said his first taste of underground life was when he joined a large protest action at Liwasang Bonifacio and Mendiola after he was convinced to join the LFS in 2015.
He later joined the Kabataan Makabayan when he became the Managing Editor of the PUP’s school paper ‘The Catalyst”. It was then that he was named as the team leader of the propaganda movement of the CPP-NPA-NDF at PUP.
“During those times, he studied Lipunan at Rebolusyong Pilipino and Basic Party Course. Sometime in December 2015, while still a minor, he was immersed under the Leo Cawilan Command in Kalinga headed by a certain Ka Batid,” said Ferro.
Two years later, Ferro said the complainant officially became an NPA fighter of the Sub-Regional Guerrilla Unit (SRGU) of Sub-Regional Command 5 (SRC 5) in Sitio Bolo, Talaingod, Davao del Norte and a month after, he was transferred to Guerrilla Front (GF) 34, SRC 5 in Agusan del Sur and became its Political Instructor and Intelligence Officer until September 2018.
He was later transferred to San Fernando, Bukidnon and became a staff of the Regional Politico-Military Academy (RPMA) of Southern Mindanao Regional Committee (SMRC).
While with the SMRC, he was promoted as the Deputy Secretary of SRC 5 where he served as Front Secretary of GF 3 and 34 of SRC 4, until his surrender to the government on November 28, 2020.
In the case of Saquino, he was a 16-year old first-year BS Accountancy student of the University of the Philippines-Visayas in 2007 when he was allegedly recruited to join Anakbayan.
A month later, he became a member of the League of Filipino Students (LFS), inside UP Visayas-Iloilo Campus where he was induced to take part in protest actions against tuition fee increase and in some LFS activities.
Later, he was indoctrinated with radicalization courses such as Maikling Kurso sa Lipunan at Rebolusyong Pilipino (MKLRP) and many other courses. In September of 2007, he was recruited and joined the underground movement KM/Kabataan Makabayan and at the age of 17, he was convinced by Porquia to run for student council where he won after.
“Exploiting his position, he and respondents Porquia and Edaniel, advanced and promoted the radicalization in the school. He became a full-pledged member in March 2009,” said Ferro.
It was in April of 2009 when he joined the Southern Front in Panay Island where he was tasked to organize the ANAKBAYAN Panay Chapter. He was later given bigger tasks and extensive authority as ANAKBAYAN’s Regional Spokesperson and National Vice-Chairperson for Mindanao.
“Being prominent among the national leaders of the group, he became an electoral campaign head for senatorial aspirants Liza Maza and Satur Ocampoand all other party-lists under the Makabayan bloc. Being at the frontlines to these activities, he continued to be an active CPP-NPA-NDF member,” said Ferro.
The CIDG director said the complainant was also designated as Guerilla Front (GF) 20 Deputy Secretary at the same time as Secretary of Platoon Party Committee of Sentro de Gravidad and in January 2017, he was the GF20 Front Secretary and Secretary of Sub-Regional Peasant Bureau (SRPB).
He left GF20 in September 2017 but continued in the operations from October 2017 to April 2018 until he finally decided to leave the group along with witness Leo Bernalez.
Both the former PUP and UP students said they decided to file the charges due to the hardships and exploitation he had experienced as a minor as fighters of the CPP-NPA-NDF.