Gabriela solons to Arroyo: Ensure immediate release of Ocampo, Castro
Gabriela party-list lawmakers Emmi de Jesus and Arlene Brosas on Thursday urged House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to make sure former Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Satur Ocampo and ACT Teachers party-list Rep. France Castro are released as soon as possible.
They also took the House Speaker to task in making sure that no fabricated charges would be filed against Ocampo and Castro.
“We challenge Speaker Arroyo to stand by the rights of all House members who wish to go to anywhere in the country, especially in areas where citizens need their attention and presence,” Brosas and De Jesus said in a statement.
“Speaker Arroyo should tell the police and military to respect the rule of law, and the rights of legislators and the public, especially in martial law-infested Mindanao,” they added.
On Wednesday night, Ocampo, Castro, and at least 70 others were participating in the National Solidarity Mission to provide humanitarian support to students and teachers of Lumad schools in Talaingod, Davao del Norte when they were stopped and “illegally arrested” by joint forces of Talaingod police and 56th Infantry Battalion (IB) of the Philippine Army (PA).
The government forces were also accompanied by officials of Talaingod muncipal social work and development office (MSWDO).
The National Solidarity Mission delegates were being accused of human trafficking in relation to child abuse law.
“It is utterly deplorable and ironic that those who are helping the victims of militarization and abuse are now the ones being charged of ‘human trafficking in relation to child abuse law’,” the Gabriela representatives lamented.
The incident, they added, “speaks of the lengths at which state forces are willing to persecute and detain human rights defenders” and “attests to the vast powers arbitrarily wielded by the AFP and PNP in Mindanao” amid the martial rule in the southern region. /kga
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