Hontiveros calls for CHR probe into alleged rescue in Cebu school

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 16 2021 09:56 AM

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MANILA - Sen. Risa Hontiveros on Tuesday said the Commission on Human Rights should look into the alleged rescue operation of students in a Lumad school inside a university campus in Cebu.

Police officers launched the operation inside the University of San Carlos' retreat house in Talamban, Cebu City supposedly to rescue Lumad students who were being indoctrinated and recruited to be armed combatants. 

It led to the arrest of 25 people, including 2 teachers and 2 tribal leaders, according to the Save Our Schools (SOS) Network.

"We’ve heard similar stories before, the Supreme Court has pronounced at least once already that such a story did not hold water in that case. The CHR, I think, is a lead investigative body, commission that needs to look into whether proper procedures were observed by the national police and whether there were any protocols that were violated," Hontiveros told ANC's Headstart.

Hontiveros said looking at the video of the operation, the people taken into custody during the operation did not look like victims relieved to be rescued.

She said the conduct of the operation "may be part of a disturbing pattern that is emerging in our society."

"That tone seems to be echoed consistently over the past many months or few years. It’s a tone that is getting louder, and it seems to be getting more aggressive or violent," she said.

The University of San Carlos and the Societas Verbi Divini (SVD) Philippines Southern Province said there was no need for a rescue since the Lumad students were staying in the USC campus due to the lockdown, and they were preparing to return to their homes in batches.