SC junks petition vs Elago, Anakbayan: Young activist not missing, can make her choices
This file photo shows the Supreme Court compound in Padre Faura, Manila.
Philstar.com/Erwin Cagadas
SC junks petition vs Elago, Anakbayan: Young activist not missing, can make her choices
Kristine Joy Patag (Philstar.com) - September 18, 2020 - 2:26pm

MANILA, Philippines — The Supreme Court junked the petition filed by young activist Alicia Jasper Lucena’s parents who accused Anakbayan of allegedly kidnapping their daughter to join the group.

The SC Public Information Office on Friday said the court held that the writ of amparo “is not proper and that the prayer for the issuance of the writ of habeas corpus lacks merit.”

The writ of amparo is a protection writ issued to petitioners whose life, liberty and security are threatened by military, police and other state security forces, while “habeas corpus” translate to “produce the body.”

The petition was filed through the assistance of lawyer Ferdinand Topacio. AJ’s parents, Relissa Santos Lucena and Francis Lucena, said their daughter’s right to life, liberty and security “have been violated and continue to be violated through the recruitment, exploitations, cruelty and indoctrination being committed by the Anakbayan officials and its members.”

AJ in August last year denied that she was kidnapped and she voluntarily joined Anakbayan.

Named as respondents are Rep. Sarah Elago (Kabataan party-list); Anakbayan members Alex Danday, Charie Delos Reyes, Bianca Gacos, Jayroven Balais and rights lawyer Maria Kristina Conti.

Not an enforced disappearance

The SC PIO said in resolving the petition, “the Court said that there is not much issue that Alicia Jasper or AJ’s situation does not qualify either as an actual or threatened enforced disappearance or extralegal killing. It further said that AJ is not missing and her whereabouts are determinable and is staying with Anakbayan and its officers.”

The Court had also noted that it did not appear that Lucena had been deprived of her liberty or that the petitioners were excluded from the custody over her person.

“The petitioners, the Court said, failed to make a case that AJ is being detained or is being kept by the Anakbayan against her free will,” the statement added.

The court also pointed out that AJ is already 18 years old, and in the eyes of the State, she “has earned the right to make independent choices with respect to the places where she wants to stay, as well as to the persons whose company she wants to keep.”

‘Kidnapping?’

AJ’s mother, Lucena, was one of the resources speakers, in the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs’s hearings on the supposed disappearance of minors after being recruited by left-leaning groups in 2019.

Sen. Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, chair of the Senate panel, said the parents appeared in the Senate “voluntarily” and have grown desperate because their pleas have not been heard by the youth organization.”

AJ in a video posted by Film Weekley said that she was not missing and was not kidnapped. She also said that she left their home and voluntarily joined Anakbayan.

Her mother’s allegations led to filing of kidnapping complaints against Elago, Bayan Muna chairman Neri Colmenares, former Rep. Tom Villarin (Akbayan) and other members of Anakbayan.

ANAKBAYAN BATO DELA ROSA SARAH ELAGO SUPREME COURT
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