MANILA - Sen. Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa on Thursday urged leftist lawmakers at the House of Representatives to facilitate the return of youth activists recruited by communist groups as minors.
Dela Rosa issued this appeal after leftist lawmakers led by Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Carlos Zarate and Kabataan party-list Rep. Sarah Elago presented 18-year-old Alicia Lucena, one of the youth activists who was recruited by militant group Anakbayan when she was still studying at the Far Eastern University.
The neophyte senator, a former police chief, said Zarate should be “responsible enough” to return Lucena over to her parents, who recently appeared at a Senate probe asking for help.
“I tell you congressman Zarate: If you are a responsible parent, alam mo umiiyak 'yung mother, hindi ka ba naawa sa mother? Tinulungan mo na sana, inihatid mo ang bata sa nanay. Anong klaseng parent ka?” Dela Rosa told reporters.
(I tell you congressman Zarate: If you are a responsible parent and you know that the mother is grieving, don’t you pity her? You should have helped her and returned her daughter. What kind of a parent are you?)
“I-presscon mo pa ang isang bata na as far the parent is concerned is missing.”
(And yet you held a press conference with the child who, as far her parents are concerned, is missing.)
Lucena’s mother, Relissa, earlier said she enrolled her daughter at the FEU precisely to keep her away from leftist groups. But on the first week of classes, her daughter told her she would attend a rally and that she was already a member of Anakbayan.
Lucena said she last saw her daughter on July 10. Her daughter also left a letter where she accused her of being “manipulative, an oppressor, and a hypocrite.”
At a press conference at the House of Representatives on Wednesday, Alicia sided with the leftist groups and accused the military and police of using her family’s problem in advancing their agenda.
She also insisted she voluntarily joined Anakbayan, which has been slapped with kidnapping and other charges over her disappearance.
Dela Rosa also slammed Elago, saying she would eventually become a mother and know the pain the mothers of missing youth activists are going through.
He also urged the youth to avoid joining communist groups, saying the proper way to help the country is to study well and land good jobs.
“I am not against student activism. Youth activism is very good para sa kabutihan ng ating bansa pero sana alam nila hanggang saan ang limit,” Dela Rosa said.
(I am not against student activism. Youth activism is very good for the country, but they should know their limits.)
The supposed leftist groups’ recruitment of students has prompted the police and military to consider making their presence felt in schools, colleges and universities.