hrist in the Philippines (UCCP) Haran Center were ordered arrested based on a warrant issued against them by the Regional Trial Court (RTC) over alleged child abuse cases.
Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 12 presiding judge Dante Baguio issued the warrant on April 21 against UCCP Southeast Mindanao Jurisdiction Area Bishop Hamuel Tequis, Reverend Daniel Palicte, Ephraim Malazarte, PASAKA Confederation of Lumad Organization in Southern Mindanao secretary-general Jong Monzon, Lindy Trenilla and Grace Avila.
They have been charged with two counts of violation of Republic Act 7610 or Special Protection of Children Against Child Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination.
Bail of P80,000 bail each for the temporary release of the respondents was set by court.
The charges stemmed from criminal cases filed by four members of an indigenous people’s (IP) group from Davao del Norte before the City Prosecutor’s Office in September 2020 against some leaders of the New People’s Army and the administrators of the UCCP Haran Center.
The plaintiffs, who were members of the Ata-Manobo tribe and minors at the time of the commission of the crime, accused Haran executives of harboring communist terrorist groups and for forcing them against their will for the purpose of engaging them in armed activities, forced labor and armed conflict.
They also accused the Haran officials for involuntary servitude and for other exploitative purposes.
The Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC) 11 passed a resolution in January 2020 calling for the immediate closure of the Haran evacuation center where a number of IPs have been taking shelter since May 2015.The RPOC said its operators have committed various criminal offenses, including serious illegal detention, child abuse and human trafficking.