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The supporters of former Bayan Muna representative Neri Colmenares believe that the criminal complaint filed against him at the Department of Justice (DOJ) is part of efforts to silence critics of the Duterte administration.

Just last August 1, the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection (PNP-CIDG) filed a complaint accusing Colmenares and eight of his co-respondents over allegations of recruiting minors for leftist groups.

“Not all scripts of comical persons in authority are funny. How in heaven’s name could someone like Neri be even remotely involved, connected or liable for such inane and contrived charges that have been debunked? Totally absurd,” said National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL) president Edre Olalia.

“Make no mistake about it: they are lining and rounding up the most voluble and visible people who stand in the way and who fight back against repression and injustice,” he stated.

Aside from Colmenares, those who have been named as respondents in the complaint are Kabataan party-list Representative Sarah Elago and former Akbayan Rep. Tom Villarin.

Meanwhile, the Department of Justice (DOJ) is set to start this August 27 a preliminary investigation over the complaint and sent out subpoenas to all the respondents who were ordered to appear that day and submit counter affidavits.

In its complaint, the PNP-CIDG said the respondents allegedly committed kidnapping and violated the the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003; Special Protection of Children in Situations of Armed Conflict; Special Protection of Children Against Child Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act; and the the Philippine Act on Crimes Against International Humanitarian Law, Genocide, and Other Crimes Against Humanity.

The PNP-CIDG submitted the sworn statements of rebel returnee Ma. Rebecca Pecayo and mother Lucena Perolino.

Pecayo said she was still a minor when the League of Filipino students recruited her when she was studying at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines then made to join the New People’s Army.

While, Perolino said her minor daughter Alicia, a student of Far Eastern University, has left home to join Anakbayan without the consent of her parents.

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