MANILA – National Security Adviser and National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict vice-chair Hermogenes Esperon, Jr. on Wednesday said the Supreme Court (SC) show cause order against militant group leaders and members is a milestone against the ongoing campaign against communist terrorists.
The show cause order issued on May 19 came after the May 8 filing of petitions requesting the SC to issue writs of Habeas Corpus and Amparo by couple Francis and Relissa Lucena against respondents Kabataan party-list Representative Sarah Elago, Anakbayan Spokesperson Alex Danday, Anakbayan recruiters and members Chary Delos Reyes, Bianca Gacos, and Jayroven Ballais Villafuerte, and lawyer Maria Kristina Conti.
The SC En Banc has required the respondents to justify within 10 calendar days from the issuance of the order on why the writs of Amparo and Habeas Corpus should not be issued against them.
These petitions are in connection with the Lucenas’ search for their daughter, Alice Jasper (AJ), who was reportedly indoctrinated and subsequently recruited by the New People’s Army (NPA).
AJ had been missing since July 2019 and now under the restrictive custody of the respondents.
“This legal action is a milestone in the fight against the communist terrorist group (CTG). It reaffirms our unanimity towards our cause to rid our country of this fifty-year-old menace to society,” said Esperon, who is also Director-General of the National Security Council.
The Lucenas were aided in the filing of their petition by lawyer Ferdinand Topacio.
“We recall that in August last year, Mrs. Lucena, along with other mothers, testified at a Senate hearing and investigation on the ongoing NPA youth recruitment in schools where their missing children had been attending,” Esperon added in a statement.
He said the petition for a writ of Habeas Corpus filed by Mrs. Lucena is a request for the SC to issue a writ directing the respondents to produce her daughter before the court.
While the petition for writ of Amparo is a legal remedy for Mrs. Lucena for the protection of the constitutional guarantees of her daughter, whose rights to life, liberty, and security have been violated by her leftist recruiters through their exploitation, indoctrination, and abduction of the victim.
He added that the SC show cause order reinforces the country’s efforts in protecting the constitutional rights of children in armed conflict which the Philippines enforces as a responsible party to international law.
“We welcome this development, and we support Mr. and Mrs. Lucena, and other parents similarly situated, in their efforts to bring their children back into the care and comfort of their families,” Esperon added.
Since the country’s youth are the hope for the future, he said the government is only doing its job in protecting the well-being of these minors.
“As a champion of the country’s national interests, we are beholden to the well-being and security of our nation’s future- the youth. No less than our national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal, has been quoted as saying that ‘the youth is the hope of our future’,” he said, calling on youths victimized by the NPA to reconsider their stand and return to the folds of the law.
“Your recruiters have peddled nothing but deceptions and empty promises in order to manipulate young minds for political gain,” he added.
He said communists have repeatedly violated international law through the recruitment of child warriors, the abuse of indigenous peoples, and the use of landmines.
The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United Kingdom, the European Union, the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the Philippines.
“They try to envisage themselves as ‘socially progressive’ groups but their lies and various atrocities have exposed their true cause,” he said.
Esperon said they acknowledged the efforts of the parents of the missing children whose dedication in preventing such things from happening to other parents is highlighted by their dedication in exposing the NPA youth recruitment agenda being implemented in schools.
“As we stand abreast by these parents and their advocacy to educate the youth on this exploitation, we remain committed to ensuring that in the future, no family shall ever be broken by similar circumstances,” he added. (PNA)