LOOK: Satur Ocampo, lawmaker charged with kidnapping, human trafficking


Posted at Nov 30 2018 10:57 AM | Updated as of Nov 30 2018 05:42 PM

MANILA (2ND UPDATE) - Former Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo on Friday underwent booking procedure after he and several others were charged with kidnapping and human trafficking over the transport of minors in Davao del Norte.

The 79-year-old former peace negotiator for communist rebels also had his mugshots taken.

Police Regional Office 11

Police Regional Office 11

Police Regional Office 11

Police Regional Office 11

Police Regional Office 11

ACT Teachers Party-list Rep. France Castro, who was arrested along with Ocampo, was also charged for violation of the Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2012, Kidnapping and Failure to Return a minor.

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 who are reportedly students of the Salugpungan Learning Center, a school for Lumad children.

The group failed to present documents of parental consent for the minors, said Senior Insp. Alarene Fulache, chief of the Women and Children's Protection Desk of the Davao del Norte Provincial Police.

It was a "serious violation of the law" and the arrest "stemmed from complaints of parents and tribal leaders" in the province, said Chief Supt. Benigno Durana, Philippine National Police (PNP) spokesperson. 

"You cannot bring anybody's children without the authority or consent of the parents," he told ANC's Early Edition.

Durana said the school where the minors were supposedly from had been "closed down" by the local unit of the Department of Education "upon the request of tribal leaders."

"This Salugpungan Learning Center were actually teaching children to rebel against the government and they've changed our national anthem into something that calls for the overthrow of the government," he said.

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But ACT Teachers party-list said the group was simply delivering school supplies and food to the community as part of their "National Solidarity Mission."

Speaking to ANC on Friday, Ocampo's wife Carolina Malay expressed confidence that her husband did nothing wrong and would soon be freed.

"I am confident that investigation will show everyone that these are trumped-up charges," she said

"We have to defend defenseless people and that's what Satur and France Castro were doing," she added.

She, however, expressed concern for Ocampo's safety.

"I'm really concerned for his safety. Last night I was talking to him when his phone was illegally confiscated by policemen in the jail so he has no communication with other people," she added.

Ocampo's group has waived their rights under Article 125 of the Revised Penal Code, which means they will no longer question the legality of their arrest and detention and will remain under police custody.

Chief Supt. Marcelo Morales, regional director of the PNP-Davao region, said Davao del Norte Provincial Prosecutor Norman Solis is asking police for further evidence regarding the kidnapping case. 

Morales said they would refile the case on Monday. 

Ocampo and his group will be given 10 days to submit their counter affidavit. Bail was set at P80,000 per person. 

The minors have been turned over to the social welfare department for counseling and debriefing.

- With reports from Maan Macapagal, ABS-CBN News