By Jeffrey Damicog
An 18-year-old runaway and dropout from the Far Eastern University (FEU) has refuted the claims of her mother that the youth was abducted by leftist groups.
Alicia Lucena stated this in her sworn affidavit submitted before Assistant State Prosecutor Christine Perolino who is conducting the preliminary investigation on the criminal complaint against Kabataan party-list Rep. Sarah Elago and several others, including former Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares, over allegations of recruiting minors for leftist groups.
Last August 1, the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) and private complainant Relisa Lucena, Alicia’s mother, filed the abduction complaint before the Department of Justice (DOJ) against the respondents.
In the complaint, the respondents are accused of having violated the Republic Act 10364 (Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003), RA 11188 (Special Protection of Children in Situations of Armed Conflict and Providing Penalties for Violations thereof), and RA 7610 (Special Protection of Children Against Child Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act).
Aside from Elago and Colmenares, other named respondents in the case are former Akbayan party-list Rep. Tom Villarin, Anakbayan chairperson Vencer Crisostomo, Anakbayan secretary-general Eistein Recedes, Anakbayan spokesman Alex Danday, Bianca Gacos, Charie Del Rosario, and Jayroven Villafuerte Balais
“Pinasisinungalingan ko ang mga paratang ng mommy kong si Relisa Santos Lucena laban sa mga kasamahan ko sa Anakbayan na sina Ate Cherie, Bianca Gacos, Jayroven Villafuente at Alex Danday at laban kina Cong. Sarah Elago ng Kabataan Partylist at Atty. Neri Colmenares (I refute the allegations of my mother against my companions at Anakbayan as well as against Rep. Sarah Elago of Kabataan party-list and Atty. Neri Colmenares),” read Alicia’s sworn statement.
“Hindi totoo at gawa-gawa lang niya ang mga paratang niyang ako raw ay kinidnap, ayaw pauwiin sa aming bahay at bine-brainwash ng mga kasama ko sa Anakbayan para maging isang NPA (Her allegations are not true and she only made up the claims that I was kidnapped and not allowed to return home as well as brainwashed by Anakbayan to join the New People’s Army),” she added.
“Ang totoo, tumakas talaga ako sa poder ng aking mga magulang at nananatiling kasapi ng Anakbayan dahil hindi ko na kaya ang ginagawa nilang pagmamalupit at pananakit sa akin (The truth is I ran away from home and joined Anakbayan because I can no longer tolerate the abuses and pain I have been experiencing),” Alicia explained.
Relisa had previously testified before Senate which conducted a probe over minors being recruited by leftist groups.
In the complaint, Relisa alleged Alicia was only a minor when she got recruited by Anakbayan after getting enrolled at the FEU in Manila in July 2018.
“She (Alicia) left her home several times without informing her mother where she will be going and will just suddenly appear home after several days,” read the PNP-CIDG referral letter to the DOJ, citing that “the mother observed adverse changes in her daughter’s attitude since joining the group and attending protest rallies.”
“On March 10, 2019, she again left their home leaving a letter to her mother containing strong messages against her mother and her policy at home, especially her mother’s contradiction to her desires,” it added.
After reporting to the police about her daughter running away, Relisa managed to convince her daughter to meet in Manila where Alicia was accompanied by Gacos, Del Rosario, and Balais.
During the meeting, Relisa recounted that Del Rosario even tried recruiting the mother to join the women’s rights group Gabriela.