Detained bakwit school teacher kept away from family and lawyer

Mar. 03, 2021

Lumad school teacher Roshelle Mae Porcadilla (Photo courtesy of Save Our Schools Network)

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Lawyers and lumad advocates slammed the Philippine National Police for keeping a Bakwit School teacher away from family and lawyers in the past days.

Roshelle Mae Porcadilla, one of the seven detained in the police raid of the Bakwit School, was reportedly separated from her companions in Cebu City Police Office at around 9 am on February 28.

Porcadilla, an education graduate of Liceo de Tagum, had been teaching at the MISFI Academy in Salaysay and the Bakwit School, is among seven persons, including two Manobo datus, a fellow teacher, and three Manobo youth, who are charged for “trafficking” Lumad students to be trained as child warriors. This is a claim presented to the media by police without evidence as they were arrested without warrants.

The Save Our Schools Network Cebu said Teacher Roshelle was taken by Colonel Robert Limbawan, chief of the Intelligence Division of PNP Region 7 which is a separate office.

Limbawan claimed that Porcadilla has waived her legal counsel, the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) Cebu in a signed Request for Preliminary Investigation and Waiver of Article 125 of the RPC.


But the SOS and NUPL refused that claim, saying this is harassment and intimidation by the PNP on Teacher Roshelle. NUPL added that the PNP’s move of transferring a detained person to another place without her legal counsel is illegal.

“Why were we, the SOS team and her legal counsel, together with her aunt, not allowed to see her at all? Why did it take this whole time for the police to come out with a photo of Teacher Roshelle in her detention cell,” the groups raised.

The group also said Limbawan could not be reached through phone the whole time that Teacher Roshelle was missing. Porcadilla has been reportedly seen in Cebu City Police Office as of March 2.

Allies of the Lumad schools in the House of Representatives questioned the latest police action.

Assistant Minority Floor Leader and ACT Teachers Representative France Castro cited the irregularities and harassment experienced by the Porcadilla.

“Porcadilla expressed that she was made to issue a statement in a custodial investigation without a lawyer and it took 24 hours for her to see her legal counsel after the arrest,” she said.

Kabataan Partylist Rep. Sarah Elago was in Cebu at the time supposedly to visit the detained seven members of the Bakwit school. She and the relatives were denied access to Porcadilla.

“The family and lawyers were not informed of that she was taken away upon the orders of the PNP chief. We will go to her to ensure her security”, Elago said.

PNP Chief General Debold Sinas has insisted the Lumad and Bakwit Schools are “training ground” for New People’s Army, a claim that has been rebuffed by schools and church congregations that have supported the students for the past four years after schools were forcibly shut down by the paramilitary and soldiers. (

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