Palace: Locsin outburst over Satur arrest a personal statement
Malacañang is unfazed by Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr.’s outburst over the arrest and detention of his friend, former Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo, for alleged kidnapping and human trafficking.
“We view the comment of Secretary Locsin as a personal sentiment given the fact that he and former Congressman Satur Ocampo are friends and were both together in [the House of Representatives],” presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo told reporters on Monday.
“It’s not reflective of the view of the administration,” Panelo also said.
Locsin tweeted last week his disgust of Ocampo’s arrest, calling the charges “idiotic.”
Ocampo, ACT Teachers Rep. France Castro and 16 other left-leaning activists were arrested by the police on Wednesday in Talaingod town, Davao del Norte province, as they were rescuing teachers and “lumad” schoolchildren from alleged harassment by a paramilitary force that shut down their community school.
Police filed kidnapping and human trafficking charges against them, but the provincial prosecutor’s office rejected the kidnapping charge and released them on bail.
Panelo also issued a statement saying Locsin’s remarks were “personal sentiments supportive of a friend.”
“Friendship, however, does not give birth to the conclusive conclusion that a person charged of a crime is innocent nor does a charge sheet automatically make such individual guilty thereof. That is precisely why the Constitution grants every citizen the presumption of innocence and burdens the State to prove the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt,” he said.
Panelo noted that the prosecutor’s office in Tagum City had granted the request of Ocampo’s group to have a preliminary investigation and to proffer evidence and that they were released after posting bail.
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