Four-year old MJ was forcibly abducted by armed elements of the 203rd Infantry Brigade of the Armed Forces of the Philippines on 12 May in Rizal town, Occidental Mindoro. About 10 soldiers broke into the home of the Fernandez family, guardians of MJ, at around 7:00pm, aimed their guns at family members and forcibly grabbed the boy. The soldiers overpowered the Fernandez family and hastily drove away, almost running over the guardians.
The AFP 203rd Infantry Brigade is part of the AFP Southern Luzon Command of Gen. Antonio Parlade. The soldiers claim they took MJ to return him to his mother.
The Fernandez family have been the guardians of MJ since his mother, Emilia Marquez, was taken prisoner by the Duterte government in 2017. She was arrested while caring for MJ in the hospital who was then one-month old and sick with meningitis. Emilia is facing trumped up charges.
Ma. Patricia Andal, Spokesperson for NDFP-Mindoro condemned the abduction, “This incident has resulted in a severe trauma not only to MJ, but also to the family of his guardians. The reason for abducting the child is to use him as a political tool, for psychological operations, in order to pressure MJ's parents to cooperate with the Duterte regime.”
She added, “NDFP Mindoro calls on all the people to reject the atrocities of the state especially when it affects children. We should not allow this incident to pass especially as it has trampled on the rights of the child and on our families.”
Coni K. Ledesma, head of the NDFP Special Office for the Protection of Children, demanded the immediate return of MJ to his guardians. She said that there should be “a widespread campaign to demand MJ’s return and for the AFP to stop victimizing children in their dirty war of terror!”