By Minka Klaudia Tiangco
Three of the 12 minors rescued by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) in a drug raid in Navotas City last month had rejoined their family after almost a month of detention at the Bahay Pag-Asa residential facility.
This developed after the Navotas City Regional Trial Court (RTC) granted on Friday the petition for the Writ of habeas corpus filed by the parent of minors seeking the release of her three daughters, aged 5, 8, and 13.
“There is no reason for the Bahay Pag-Asa to keep the children any longer, especially considering that there is no case against them and that the parents are more than capable to take care of their daughters,” said lawyer Ansheline Bacudio of the Initiatives for Dialogue and Empowerment through Alternative Legal Services (IDEALS).
Representatives of IDEALS, who assisted the parent in filing the petition, said the children were excited to return to school which they missed after they were placed at Bahay Pag-Asa.
PDEA was called out by politicians and netizens after they allegedly paraded the minors they rescued in an anti-illegal drugs operation at the Navotas Fish Port Complex last month.
In a statement, PDEA Director-General Aaron Aquino said the children were not only drug users, but were used as look-outs and drug couriers inside the fish port.
The parents of the children denied the allegations and made repeated requests to release them from Bahay Pag-Asa in Navotas City. But the authorities denied the request saying the environment the children are exposed to is not fit for rehabilitation.