By Hannah Torregoza
Senator Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa on Wednesday was on the verge of asking members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) to retrieve the minor who joined a militant group but abandoned the attempt after realizing it would only be an exercise in futility.
Dela Rosa nearly asked the PNP to recover Relissa Lucena’s child, Alicia after the mother disclosed that her child was present in the press conference organized by Kabataan Party-list Representative Sarah Elago and other leaders of leftist groups.
“Nung napanood ko yun, sabi kasi ng anak ko, sana daw hindi daw ganito yung (ginawang) paraan (ko) kasi nakakatanggap siya ng death threats, (When I watched that, my daughter told me, I should not have come out in the open because she’s now receiving death threats),” Lucena told the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs during its second hearing on the issue.
“Ang sakit sa akin na magulang na nakakatanggap ng ganun (death threats) yung anak ko. Tapos ang katabi niya, kung sino-sino. Di ba po dapat ako yun? Kasi ako yung magulang? Bakit nasa kanila yung anak ko? (It’s painful for a parent like me to know your child is receiving death threats. Then those surrounding her are different people. Isn’t it right that I should be with her because I am the parent? Why is my child with them?” Lucena said in between sobs.
This forced Dela Rosa to ask “where is the death threat coming from?” “Do you think you are now under threat to the police and military? Di ba dagdag na naman yung panloloko?”
“Basta kami, from the government sector, I assure you that nobody from the government sector is going to harm your child. I can assure you that,” dela Rosa told the parent.
But Lucena responded that while it is possible, her daughter may not be amenable to that: “Opo, pero yung utak ng anak ko nate terrorize na po. Gusto ko po makuha na yung anak ko. Alam ko po sa akin safe siya…Pwede po bang makuha ko na ang anak ko?”
To which Dela Rosa responded: “ Then, samahan ka ng pulis…puntahan niyo nag pa presscon sila ngayon dun. Kunin mo anak mo, may pulis kang kasama. Hilahin mo.”
“Anak mo yun!” dela Rosa exclaimed. “You have all the right to put your daughter into your custody.”
But Lucena said she fears this may further aggravate the situation: “Kaya lang po baka kasi pag nai-uwi ko ang anak ko, baka tumakas ulit siya eh.”
At this, the former PNP chief sighed: “Yan ang problema,” he said, shaking his head.
“Sakit ng ulo ito.”
Lucena further pointed out that they were supposed to celebrate her daughter’s 18th birthday last July 24, thus, she is no longer a minor.
In an interview after the hearing, Dela Rosa said he continues to extend his invitation to Elago, and the other party-list representatives whom he invited to come to the probe to shed light on the issue.
Dela Rosa said their refusal to participate in the Senate probe only indicates that they cannot defend their position in the issue.
“It’s either wala silang sagot or wala silang pang counter sa allegations ng mga parents Their position is indefensible kaya (ganun) siguro. That’s as far as I can take,” he told reporters.
“This is not a battle between the left and the right. This is a battle between the legal and illegal. This is a battle between moral and immoral. Is it morally acceptable? To induce these minors to become armed rebels, is it moral?” he pointed out.