Former Bayan Muna partylist Rep. Satur Ocampo, Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) partylist Rep. France Castro and 16 others have been temporarily freed after posting Php 8,000 bail each at the Tagum City Regional Trial Court on Saturday, Dec. 01.
Authorities apprehended the group of Ocampo and Castro on Wednesday, Nov. 28, at a checkpoint in Davao Del Norte. They were accused of kidnapping and trafficking 14 students of the Salugpungan Community Learning Center.
According to Ocampo, the legal counsel of the police initially opposed the decision of Tagum RTC Executive Judge Arlene Palabrica and insisted that the 18 accused, being called the Talaingod 18, remain detained.
“Nangigiit yung abogado, orally, na hindi pa kami pwedeng makakalaya,” Ocampo said during DZRH’s Yan Ang DZRH.
However, Palabrica questioned the argument of the police’s legal counsel since they did not submit any formal or written manifestation. The judge also issued a supplementary order to ensure the release of Ocampo and the other accused.
“Sinulat niya roon na hindi siya nag-aagree sa sinusulat ng pulis at iginiit na tama ang kanyang desisyon at ang bail na ito ay sagot sa lahat ng kaso na finile originally sa fiscal office,” Ocampo explained.
Ocampo said that Palabrica also ordered the police escorts of the 18 accused to leave the Tagum City Hall of Justice in order to ensure the implementation of her decision.
The president of the Bayan Muna partylist further said that they were tailed by some police when they left the court.
“Pero ngayon hindi na namin napapansin baka kinonsider nilang hindi lampas na sa jurisdiction nila. Ang hindi namin alam ngayon kung pag-pasok ng Davao ay may mangyayari,” Ocampo said.
Previously, Atty. Neri Colmenares, another former representative of Bayan Muna partylist, claimed that the group of Ocampo and De Castro were rescuing the students and personnel of the SCLC after the school was closed by the para-military group ‘Alamara’.