Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr., a former member of the House of Representatives, took to Twitter Saturday to express his dismay over the arrest of former lawmaker Satur Ocampo
on kidnapping and human trafficking charges.
“Human trafficking? Bullsh*t,” Locsin said in a tweet.
READ: Ocampo nabbed for transporting 14 minors
At the same time, the Commission on Human Rights said it had launched an inquiry into the alleged detention of Ocampo and ACT Teachers Party-list Rep. France Castro in Talaingod, Davao del Norte since Wednesday.
CHR chairperson Chito Gason told a news conference in Quezon City the agency had sent quick-response and fact-finding teams in Talaingod to investigate whether or not the rights of Ocampo, Castro, and their colleagues were violated.
There was no immediate comment from the security and police authorities.
Locsin vouched for Ocampo, saying the 79-year-old activist had been hounded by warrants of arrest since they were lawmakers.
“I won’t even bother to get the other side. I know Satur. We protected him in our Congress against warrants of arrest,” he said.
In related developments:
• Ocampo’s wife Carolina Malay criticized the arrest of her husband
on charges of kidnapping and human trafficking.
Ocampo, a former Bayan Muna Party-list lawmaker, along with Castro were charged Friday with kidnapping and human trafficking over the transport of minors in Davao del Norte.
Malay said in Filipino: “Everyone is laughing at the absurdities of our government but we have to do more than just laugh.”
Ocampo, Castro, and 15 others were stopped at a police checkpoint in Talaingod town around 10 p.m. on Wednesday after they were found carrying 14 minors, reportedly students of the Salugpungan Learning Center, a school for Lumad children.
• Anakpawis Party-list Rep. Ariel Casilao slammed Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo for saying that due process was being accorded to those arrested.
On Friday, Panelo said due process was being accorded to Ocampo and Castro to give them the opportunity to file counter affidavits to refute the allegations against them.
Casilao said Saturday countercharges would be filed against military and police who, he claimed, attached and detained Ocampo et al.
The Palace spokesman also reminded critics that “the rule of law must always prevail in a democracy.”
Both Locsin and Ocampo were members of the House of Representatives from 2001 to 2010. Locsin was elected as Makati representative for three consecutive terms, while Ocampo was Bayan Muna Party-list representative.
Ocampo’s group said it was delivering school supplies to indigenous communities, but police officials said the arrest “stemmed from complaints of parents and tribal leaders” in the province, said Chief Supt. Benigno Durana, Philippine National Police spokesperson.
“You cannot bring anybody’s children without the authority or consent of the parents,” Durana told ANC’s Early Edition.
READ: Satur’s wife says detention ‘illegal’