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VACC to file criminal complaints vs Hontiveros this week

Senator Risa Hontiveros will face a string of criminal charges before the Office of the Ombudsman in a complaint to be filed this week by former Negros Oriental representative Jacinto Paras and the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption. Senate PRIB/Joseph Vidal, File

MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Risa Hontiveros will face a string of criminal charges before the Office of the Ombudsman in a complaint to be filed this week by former Negros Oriental representative Jacinto Paras and the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC).

In the complaint, a copy of which was obtained by The STAR, Paras and VACC will seek the indictment of Hontiveros and her alleged co-conspirators for the crimes of kidnapping through failure to return a minor, inducing a minor to abandon home, obstruction of justice and wiretapping.

The group said Hontiveros earlier took into custody the three minor witnesses in the killing of student Kian delos Santos during an anti-narcotics operation in Caloocan City last Aug. 16. 

“Respondent Hontiveros and her co-conspirators then brought the Concepcion minors and their siblings to an undisclosed location and without informing the authorities of their whereabouts. Worse, the subject minors who are eyewitnesses in the Kian Loyd delos Santos slay case were not turned over either to the Department of Social Welfare and Development or to the Department of Justice for processing and inclusion in its witness protection program, among others,” read the complaint. 

The minors’ parents initially allowed the senator to bring the three to a safehouse. But when they decided to take their children back to their custody, Hontiveros refused to turn them over.

“Despite due demand, respondent Hontiveros had refused to do so in violation of Article 270 of the Revised Penal Code (kidnapping by failure to return the minors to their parents). It bears emphasis that (the father of the minors) has the right and the duty to demand that the children, especially the minor children, be restored to him, especially since he has already regained his liberty,” the complainants alleged.

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Complainants argued that instead of returning the custody of the minors to their family, Hontiveros turned them over to Caloocan Bishop Pablo David after three weeks of keeping them in her custody.

Paras and VACC, through lawyer Manuelito Luna, accused the senator of not only committing kidnapping but also inducing minors to abandon home under Article 271 of the RPC, exploitation of minors under Republic Act 7610 (Anti-Child Abuse law) and obstruction of justice under Presidential Decree No. 1829.

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