Arrested doctor scores holes in charges against her
The lead counsel of Dr. Maria Natividad Castro wants the case of his client, who was arrested for alleged kidnapping and serious illegal detention and tagged by some government officials as being the head of the health bureau for communists, to be totally dismissed.
Wilfred Asis, Castro’s lawyer and member of the Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG), argued in his motion that there was “no record of any complaint by anyone singularly accusing Dr. Castro.”
“Much less, any act of hers tantamount to kidnapping with serious illegal detention. There was no mention in the expediente as to who was kidnapped by her nor seriously illegally detained by her and how?” read the motion by Asis filed before the Bayugan City Regional Trial Court Branch 7.
He also said there was no notice nor subpoena sent to Castro “at anytime in violation of law” by the prosecutor Genesis Efren.
The main argument in Asis’ motion was that the procedural law on preliminary investigation, under the Rules of Court, was not followed.
Specifically, he cited that the investigating officer of the complaint filed shall either dismiss it if there was no ground to pursue investigation or issue a subpoena to the respondent, who also has the right to examine the evidence presented by the complainant.
This was not the case for Castro, as Asis earlier noted that she did not undergo any preliminary investigation where she could have countered the charges against her.
She was only informed about the case upon her arrest in San Juan City by the police, most of whom were not even in uniform according to her family.
A total of 458 respondents were named in the warrant for a single case, and as far as Asis is concerned, only Castro was believed to have been arrested by the authorities.
Asis said in his motion that the prosecutor “violated” several constitutional provisions which include Section 12(1) and Section 14(1) and (2).Under Section 12, a person under investigation for an offense should have the right to have his or her independent counsel preferably of the accused’s own choice.
For Section 14, it was cited by Asis that “no person shall be held to answer for a criminal offense without due process of law.”
Asis also cited Rule 115 under the Rules of Court that states that the rights of the accused, in all criminal prosecutions, shall be presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt.