December 1, 1998
Former Bayan Muna Partylist Rep. Satur Ocampo, ACT Partylist Congresswoman France Castro and 16 others were ordered freed by a court in Tagum City, Davao de Norte Saturday night after they posted bail.
Executive Judge Arlene Palabrica ordered the accused released. At first, police refused to comply, but Palabrica issued a supplemental order ordering police to free them.
''There was a moment of tension because police were resisting to implement the order and so the judge issued a supplemental order'', said Bayan Muna Partylist Rep. Carlos Zarate, in a phone interview with the Daily Manila Shimbun.
Zarate said Ocampo, Castro and the other accused are on their way to Davao City.'' Ka Satur (Ocampo) and the others will be filing their counter-affidavit within 10 days. We intend to face this issue squarely.'' Zarate said the 18 accused can travel.
Ocampo, Alliance of Concerned Teachers partylist Rep. France Castro, and 16 others were charged for allegedly violating Republic Act No. 10364 or the Expanded Anti-Trafficking of Persons Act 2012 in relation to Republic Act 7610 or the Anti-Child Abse Law and kidnapping on Thursday night, police said.
They were arrested at a checkpoint in Talaingod, Davao del Norte on Thursday morning. Fourteen minors, who belonged to a learning center, and who were with them were turned over to the municipal social welfare office,.
With Ocampo and Castro were Meggie Nolasco, Pastor Edgar Ugal, Rev. Ryan Magpayo, Pastor Eller Ordeza, Rev. Jurie Jaime, Maria Concepcion Ibarra, Jenevive Paraba, Nerhaya Talledo, Maricel Andagkit, Marcial Rendon, Ariel Ansan, Mariane Aga, Nerfa Awing, Wingwing Dansay, Jesus Modamo and Maryro Poquita.
Palabrica said a police lawyer said the respondents are still undergoing preliminary investigation for kidnapping and failure to return a minor. The lawyer added the accused waived Article 125 of the Revised Penal Code and that a bail of P80,000 is for trafficking.
''We have advised police officer lawyer (Louie) Pardillo to file a pleading and the other lawyer to clarify the matter with Prosecutor (Norman) Solis, to enable us to rule on it'' said Palabrica. ''They failed to heed the advice... The court now issues this Supplemental Order to rule on the issue of whether the P80,000 bail paid by the accused is meant for Violation of 7610 ( Anti-Child Abuse Law).''
''As the above-mentioned respondents are still presumed innocent and no information have been filed against them, their supreme right to liberty must be upheld,'' said Palabrica.
According to Chief Supt. Marcelo Morales, Davao regional director, there were reports that the children, who were students of the now closed Salugpungan Learning Center, "were taught with false ideas at school, far from the mandates of the DepEd ( Department of Education)."
"Also, allegedly, this group is using the children to be with them to rally against the government," he added.
According to the Philippine National Police, there were complaints from parents of 14 minors that they were allegedly taken by Ocampo's group without their permission and written documents by the Department of Social Welfare and Development. DMS