CHARGES of kidnapping, serious illegal detention and qualified trafficking in persons were filed online Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021, against two Bakwit School teachers, three adult Lumad students and two Lumad elders.
The charges were filed by the Philippine National Police Anti-Kidnapping Group (AKG) before the Davao del Norte Provincial Prosecutors’ Office in Tagum City during virtual inquest proceedings held via Zoom videoconferencing app at the Police Regional Office Central Visayas (PRO 7) Wednesday.
Those charged were teachers Chad Booc and Roshelle Mae Porcadilla; Lumad datu or elders Benito Bay-ao and Segundo Milong; and Lumad students Jomar Binag, Esmelito Oribawan and Moddie Mansumoy-at.
Lumad is a Visayan term referring to indigenous peoples (IP). The seven were among 26 persons rounded up in what the police claimed was a “rescue operation” at a retreat house inside the University of San Carlos (USC) Talamban campus on Feb. 15.
The charges filed against the seven were kidnapping and serious illegal detention in violation of Article 267 of the Revised Penal Code; child abuse or exploitation in violation of Section 10 of Republic Act (RA) 7610; and violation of Sections 4 and 9 of RA 9208, or Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act.
Except for Porcadilla, the accused are being detained at the PRO 7 while the minors are now under the custody of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), except those whose parents and guardians came to fetch them.
Lawyer King Anthony Perez, spokesperson of the National Union for People’s Lawyers (NUPL) Cebu who is representing the seven accused, said Porcadilla is being held at the Cebu City Police Office detention facility for women.