THE Commission on Human Rights (CHR) in Negros Oriental filed charges against two members of human rights group Karapatan for allegedly abusing a child.

Human rights special investigator Jesus Cañete filed charges of violation of Republic Act 7160, or the Anti-Child Abuse Law, on Friday morning against Jonathan Alforque and a certain Maben.

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Cañete told media that a mother of a 13-year-old boy who requested anonymity sought the help of the CHR following the alleged abuses committed by the suspects.

The suspects allegedly took the 13-year-old boy to guide them in Sitio Subo, Barangay Nagbinlod, Sta. Catalina, Negros Oriental without the mother's permission.

The mother she was attending a dialogue between government troops and community residents on Monday afternoon when the boy was taken.

Cañete said only two of the five respondents were identified by the boy's mother, but they were identified to be members of Karapatan.

The boy told Cañete that although he was not harmed by the suspects, he had to go with them because they threatened to spend the night at the victim's home if he refused.

After showing them the way to at least two houses the group wanted to visit, the boy said he was allowed to go and walked more than a kilometer from where he left the suspects.

The mother said this is not the first time her son was invited by suspected militant groups as they also asked him to join them a few months ago.

In a separate interview, the boy said he was also recruited by the suspects to join the New People's Army (NPA). He, however, clarified that he was not offered to hold any gun.

Jose Luis Blanco of Karapatan-Negros Oriental, however, said in a press statement that the 79th Infantry Battalion is bent on pulling all stops possible to discredit them to pave the way for grave human rights offenses.

He said in their extensive human rights experience, it is the military who used guides, regardless of age, to their dangerous operations that has, in fact, resulted in the death of a militiaman last year.

He said even a senior citizen was physically assaulted by 79th IB soldiers as a result of him refusing to accompany them to their NPA camp-hunting.

"We have to be sure that it is not the military that used the child and other young people in Sta. Catalina in combat operations. That should be the thing that Canete should look into," he said.

He also urged Canete not to get too excited in issuing allegations that fall beyond his mandate as a human rights investigator.

"The latter's title is conflicting in itself if he just blurbs things without prior investigation," Blanco said. "Nowhere in the minor's statement that he was forced, coerced or anything that would constitute a violation of his rights, but if it is Pio Dinoso's thugs dragging him to their operations, that is an absolute human rights violation."

Lieutenant Colonel Dinoso is a commanding officer of the 79th IB of the Philippine Army.

Blanco believed that the 79th IB and Cañete might coerce the family to file charges against them.

"We are also alarmed on the aggressiveness of the military to use cheap propaganda against us even using minors and unsuspecting mothers to complain," said Blanco.

"This might signal another wave of trumped-up charges and morbid harassments against our human rights monitoring teams detailed in the province," he added. (Victor L. Camion)