MANILA — On a drizzling Tuesday afternoon, the parents of missing activists staged a peaceful rally on their way to the Department of Justice (DOJ) for a chance to publicly voice their emotions against militant groups, amid the issue on the alleged recruitment of minors by these leftist organizations.
The parents are petitioning the DOJ for a writ of habeas corpus against Kabataan Patylist Rep. Sarah Elago to produce the minors who were recruited into the progressive youth groups.
Elvie Caalaman, one of the parents seeking for the return of their children, expressed her frustration on Elago.
“Alam naman ni Sarah Elago na hinahanap ko ang anak ko eh, bakit hanggang ngayon nasa headquarters pa rin nila. Kung anong ideolohiya ang nilalagay sa utak nila tapos ginagawang aktibista, kalaunan ginagawang NPA. (Sarah Elago knows I am looking for my daughter, but why are they still kept in their headquarters? You put ideologies in their young minds and then make activists out of them that usually ends being one of New People’s Army rebels),” Caalaman said.
Caalaman is looking for her 16-year old daughter, Lorevie.
Lorevie went to the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) but was recruited into the progressive youth group, Kabataan Partylist.
Caalaman said joining the youth group made a huge impact on her child’s personality, who eventually quit school and left home.
“Alam mo, bago kayo makilala nila, bago pumasok sa unibersidad yan, may mga pangarap yan sa buhay, isauli mo na sa amin (You know, before our children met you and before they entered the universities, they had dreams),” she said.
“Ang tagal na namin hinahanap sila, kaming mga magulang sobra na kaming nahihirapan. Nagkakasakit na sa sobrang stress dahil sa ginagawa nyo Sarah Elago, Anakbayan, (Bayan Muna Party-list Rep. Carlos) Zarate sino pa kayong mga tao na walang puso, mga Pilipino ba kayo o talagang pera-pera lang? (We have been searching for them for a long time. I and the other parents are getting sick from all the troubles and worries we get because of Sarah Elago, Anakbayan, Carlos Zarate, and the others who don’t have a heart. Do you consider yourselves Filipinos or is this all just a scheme for money?),” Caalaman added.
Lawyer Ferdinand Topacio supported the cause of the parents and accompanied them through the legal proceedings of their case.
“Sila nagpapa-aircon, ang anak nasa La Salle. Napakasama ng mga ginagawa ng mga ‘to. Si Elago, Zarate andun sila nagpapasarap sa Kongreso, merong budget eh yung mga bata andoon (sa bukid) napapatay, nagugutom. Hindi nagpapakita, nilalapastangan ang sarili nilang mga magulang (Elago and Zarate have done ugly things. They live good lives and enjoy budget in Congress while the children are in the mountains, getting hungry and getting killed, they leave their homes, ignore their parents),” Topacio said, adding that if the militant leaders truly believe in their cause, then they should go to the mountains themselves.
Caalaman is a member of the newly-formed League of Parents of the Philippines, which expressed strong condemnation of the acts perpetrated by militant organizations, such as alleged brainwashing and controlling the minds of minor students. Christine Cudis / PNA