As we began almost two years ago we today continue our blogs on a specific country in order to give a honest and no rubbish blog…. today and for the second time we have chosen The Philippines…..
At least once a week CARI receives an enquiry regarding Parental Abduction and The Philippines. Enquiries may range from “Should I let my ex-partner take my child there for a holiday” to “my child has been abducted to the Philippines what should I do?”
The Philippines became a State Party to the Hague Convention in April 2016 and this development has given parents a false sense of reassurance. Parents still believe that if their child is abducted to a country that is signatory to the Hague Convention the law is on their side and the return of their child will be a given. Sadly this is not the case.
We have seen only one case in recent times where the authorities have become involved and have been able to locate and recover the abducting parent and the missing children.
In the case of Ana Lorrigan, who abducted her two children from the USA to The Philippines in 2011, Lorrigan was indicted in the US under the “International Parental Kidnapping Crime Act” which carries a sentence of up to 3 years. The Hague Convention was useless in this case as the abduction outdated the entry date to the convention. Due to Parental Abduction being a crime in the USA, the case came to the attention of the Filipino authorities that he Abductor and the children were travelling on expired passports.
So in short the Filipino Authorities offered their assistance due to there being an immigration violation NOT as a parental abduction case. Thankfully the American judicial system recognized this case of Parental Abduction as a crime, yet this is still norm in so many countries.
In this case thankfully after 6 long years the abductor will be deported to the USA to face criminal charges and the children will be reunited with the left behind parent but make no mistakes this is an extremely rare case where the authorities assisted.
Parental Abduction in the Philippines is not considered a crime. It is considered a civil legal matter that must be dealt with through the Family Courts. In cases that we have assisted with it rarely reaches the Family Court. Abductors taking full advantage of the geography of the Philippines, jumping from one island to another to avoid detection. Finding an abducted child in the Philippines is literally like looking for a needle in a hay stack.
CARI have successfully recovered children from the Philippines and sadly what we find with most cases there is the children are abducted and essentially held for ransom, Abductors trying to exploit the left behind parent for their own financial gain. Parents will pay their ex partners but the Abductors will continue to live on the run with the children.
The Philippines is a black hole for Parental Abductors and what we see time and time again is the Central Authority only looking after the needs of their own citizens, almost becoming an accessory to the abduction of the children. Engaging a lawyer is the Philippines is almost impossible, as they are not versed in the Hague Convention and IPCA, seeing many left behind parents with huge legal bills but no result. With Parental Abduction not being regarded as a crime in the Philippines, the legal process involves lengthy applications and hearings in the Family Court which do nothing but work in the Abductors favor. If you are fortunate enough to get an Abductor before the Family Court by the time you have navigated the legal minefield of the process, at least 12 months has passed and the Abductor claims Article 12 of the Hague Convention. Your child’s habitual residence is now classified in the Philippines and you have no leg to stand on.
This blog may read like doom and gloom, that if your child has been abducted to the Philippines you have no hope. If you follow the avenue advised by the Governments and Authorities who don’t give you the honest truth then we find you have less than a 1% chance of recovering your child through the legal process. It’s fact….
CARI has a much higher success rate. We have intimate knowledge of the landscape of the Philippines and with over 17 years of experience in this field we can naviagte the black hole of the Philippines and locate your child.
For things to change in the Philippines the first thing we would need to see is the Filipino Government recognizing that Parental Abduction is a crime – we can’t see that happening in the foreseeable future. This is not a plug for our business this is a reality. The best chance that you have for recovering your child from the Philippines is through a child recovery agency.
If you have any concerns regarding your child being taken to the Philippines contact CARI today.