By PUBLIC INTEREST LAW CENTER
Before throwing the book at our client Saturnino Ocampo and 17 others, better read it first. The charges against Ka Satur are so ludicrous, there is no way these will survive reasonable judicial or public scrutiny.
Ka Satur, ACT Teachers Partylist Rep. France Castro, and the others who were part of the National Solidarity Mission in Talaingod, Davao del Norte had no intention to abuse, kidnap, or, more thoughtlessly, traffic the children. They had, in fact, responded to the “cry of the needy”, the call of the Salugpongan schools for rescue in the midst of forcible closure and embargo by the army and allied paramilitary.
Child abuse, the charge during the inquest on Thursday, contends that there was maltreatment of children. On the converse, by apprehending the convoy of the children, their teachers and aiders, by also detaining and traumatizing the children, it was the police who endangered the life, safety and normal development of the children.
The police ought to rethink how to best safeguard the rights of the lumad. Why come after those carrying books and food supplies to teach and feed, when they should go after the paramilitary with guns and batons who terrorize and maim the lumad?
As soon as the courts open, we will exert all legal remedies to correct the situation and the narrative: that Ka Satur was just trying to help the beleaguered lumad students in Talaingod.
Over the past forty years, ten other persecution cases against Ka Satur have been dismissed and junked in court. We are confident he can also shrug off the present criminal charges, baseless as they are.
The arrogant display of power, in a territory under Martial Law, is a lame, ugly political stunt that will boomerang on the individual policemen and the image of the PNP in general. Know that the unlawful arrest of Ka Satur and his companions will not be without consequences. # nordis.net