MANILA, Philippines (The Adobo Chronicles, Manila Bureau) – Former Bayan Muna Representative Satur Ocampo, ACT Teachers Partylist France Castro, and 16 others were arrested in Talaingod, Daval del Norte for alleged human trafficking, kidnapping, and child abuse charges.
Ocampo’s group — members of the National Solidarity and Fact Finding Mission — was on board five vans headed for an unknown destination when they were stopped on Wednesday by members of the Philippine National Police. A random check revealed the presence of 14 minor children.
The children, along with teachers, were being “rescued “ from a Lumad school in Barangay Palma Gil, Talaingod, Davao Del Norte from alleged harassment Wednesday night.
Immediately after the group was released on bail Saturday, Chito Gascon of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) vowed to sue the 14 kids for violating the human rights of Ocampo and the others.
Gascon said that the children should have assured the police that they were not being kidnapped. “By remaining silent, the children caused the arrest of, and charges filed against Ocampo and company.
“I understand the children are all minors, but that is no excuse to trample on anyone’s human rights, including the right to be free from illegal arrest or to engage in the civic duty to fight any form of harassment,” Gascon told The Adobo Chronicles.
Asked why CHR was quiet about the prior alleged harassment of the children at the Lumad school, Gason said he wasn’t aware of it because it was not reported on Rappler.