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DSWD looking closely at case of kidnapping filed vs Gentle Hands orphanage

Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Rex Gatchalian said on Monday (June 12) that the DSWD is looking closely at the case of kidnapping and serious detention filed by a mother against Gentle Hand, Inc. (GHI).

In an interview with Karen Davila of ANC’s Headstart on Monday, Secretary Gatchalian mentioned that the kidnapping charges against the private orphanage were already filed by the Department of Justice (DOJ).

“There are five similarly situated cases wherein distressed mothers were somehow.. the children were forcibly separated from the mother, which is no-no in the Department. Definitely, you don’t break families apart. One mother already filed kidnapping and serious detention cases. It’s already filed by the DOJ so that’s something that we are looking at closely,” the DSWD chief explained.

Secretary Gatchalian also pointed out that the DSWD is assisting the parents who have concerns against GHI in referring them to proper authorities, such as the DOJ.

“The (parents) saw stories about Gentle Hands and they were emboldened to come out in the open. Kasi noon ay sila-sila lang, they felt helpless. So now, suddenly, they come to us. So we would direct them to the proper agency,” the DSWD chief pointed out.

Secretary Gatchalian also ensured that cases or concerns reported to the DSWD are being referred to the “right authorities so that the authorities can do the necessary due diligence.”

Last Friday (June 9), DOJ lawyers filed a case of kidnapping under Article 270 of the Revised Penal Code as well as ‘failure to return’ the three minor children of a 31-year-old mother who is now the principal complainant to the criminal case against the executive director of Gentle Hands Inc.

The complainant, Monina Espinosa Roxas, who is also known by the name Juvy Roxas Espinosa, was assisted by lawyers from the DOJ, particularly the Inter-Agency Committee Against Trafficking (IACAT) Task Force, in finalizing her complaint-affidavit.

GHI, which has childcare facilities in Project 4, Quezon City and in Baliuag, Bulacan, was temporarily closed on May 25 after the DSWD issued a cease-and-desist order for various violations.

The Bureau of Fire Protection’s (BFP) Quezon City Fire District also revoked GHI’s fire safety inspection certificate (FSIC) after fire inspectors listed numerous violations of the Fire Code, including the lack of a proper fire escape.

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