|Former Bayan Muna congressman Satur Ocampo and his wife Carolina walk to a press conference in Quezon City yesterday, in his first public appearance. Image and caption credit to Philippine Star
On Sunday during a press conference of ACT Teachers party-list Representative France Castro and Satur Ocampo on the alleged charges of human trafficking, kidnapping and failure to return a minor said there were no kidnapping incident that happened but instead they rescued several Lumad children and no need for parents consent during the rescue.
Castro, insisted that they did not kidnap nor abuse the children, saying that they were actually rescuing them after the paramilitary group Alamara padlocked their school.
“Emergency rescue operation ‘yun. Hindi na namin kailangan pang [maglaan] ng time [para sa parental consent], kasi on that day of the emergency na, kaya kailangan namin rumisponde,” she said.
|Lumad students ‘rescued’ in Talaingod to remain with DSWD. Image and caption credit to Rappler
“Sa umpisa pa lang ng klase, meron nang pinipirmahan [na parental consent] ‘yan. Ang parent at ang teacher-school agreement na ‘yan, ang parental consent ay binibigay na sa mga guro,” she said.
“Umpisa pa lang meron na itong parental consent so hindi masasabi na walang parental consent,” she added.
80,000 each post bail
On November 29, the group of ACT Teachers Representative France Castro and 17 others were arrested for alleged kidnapping and failure to return 14 minors.
|DEFIANT Former Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo (center), ACT Rep. France Castro (front, left) and their colleagues during inquest proceedings in the Provincial Prosecutor’s Office in Tagum City. Photo by Barry Ohaylan. Image and caption credit to Inquirer
Their legal counsel, Atty. Joel Mahinay, posted bail with a total of ₱1.44 million on charges of human trafficking, kidnapping and failure to return a minor.
Mahinay said the police only released the accused at 8 p.m., despite receiving two orders from the judge to present them in court earlier.
“We clearly and categorically declare that the ₱80,000.00 cash bond posted by all the above-named respondents is for the cases they are charged and are pending before the Provincial Prosecutor’s Office. The Police Officer or Military personnel or anybody who has custody of the above-named respondents are ordered to release them from custody and detention,” the order by Executive Judge Arlene L. Palabrica read.
In a statement, KARAPATAN slammed the arrest of Ocampo and others, citing that they rescued the children from alleged harassment.
“We strongly condemn these brazen attacks against Ka Satur, Rep. Castro and the 16 who aided the Lumad children, as we decry all forms of political persecution by the Duterte regime against human rights defenders and political dissenters,” KARAPATAN said.
New kidnapping case versus Satur Ocampo and 17 others
After posting bail on the alleged child abuse, Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Dir. Gen. Oscar Albayalde said five parents raised complaints to the police and are planning to file a kidnapping case against the accused.
“A kidnapping case was filed against them pero hindi tinanggap ng piskalya pero hindi dinismiss [the fiscal did not accept it but they did not dismiss it]… so I just talked with the Regional Director this morning and they will be refiling the case because there are five parents who signed their affidavits and are planning to file a case of kidnapping laban dito kina [against] Satur Ocampo,” Albayalde told the press on Monday.
Eventhough the camp of Castro insisted that they rescue the 14 minors, Albayalde said the police cannot come up for any charges with a complainant.
“What is important here is we based our charges based on the complaint of the parents and the relatives. Hindi nanggagaling sa amin ‘yan. Hindi kami gumagawa basta-basta ng charges. Hindi tatanggapin ng korte ‘yan ” Albayalde said.
[Translation: What is important here is we based our charges based on the complaint of the parents and the relatives. Those do not come from us. We do not just fabricate charges. The court will not accept that.]
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