Gabriela Women’s Party criticized three Court of Appeals justices for the ‘Pontius Pilate’ stunt they pulled during the hearing of the petition for writ of habeas corpus for Fatima Gumanoy.

Court of Appeals Justices Sesinando Villon, Jose Catral Mendoza and Andres Reyes condemned Fatima to a life separated from her family. Then they washed their hands of, saying that it was the minor who chose her sister over her mother,” the progressive party-list solon said.

Gumanoy is the seventeen-year-old girl abducted by the AFP last July 4 and is illegally detained at the Fort Bonifacio General Hospital.

An active child’s rights advocate in Mindanao, Ilagan added that the justices should have returned Fatima to her mother because she is a minor and no charges were filed against her.

“Their incompetence showed when they let the AFP affect their judgment,” Ilagan said.

On Fatima’s decision, the lawmaker said that it was obvious that the AFP pressured her into deciding to stay with her sister.

“She is afraid for her sister. She knows what the AFP is capable of doing because she has been subjected to  physical, emotional and psychological abuse herself,” Ilagan, pointing to the torture Gumanoy suffered from in the hands of the military during her disappearance.

According to Ilagan, the AFP’s actions were in violation of a number of local and international laws including the Philippine Constitution, the Anti-Violence Against Women and Children Act, the Special Protection of Children Against Child Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act, and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.


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