MANILA Former Bayan Muna partylist Rep. Satur Ocampo asked the Tagum City Provincial Prosecutor's Office in Davao Del Norte to dismiss the criminal charges filed against him in connection with the incident last November involving minors transported from an Indigenous People's (IP) school.
In a 15page counter affidavit filed on Tuesday, Ocampo denied having been actually at the school where the incident took place claiming he was left in a van which was not allowed to proceed to the school at a military checkpoint in Sitio Igang on the way to the school.
Ocampo has been charged with violation of Republic Act No. 10364 (Expanded Trafficking in Persons Act of 2012) in relation to Republic Act No. 7610 (Anti Child Abuse Law) and kidnapping and failure to return a minor.
"I was on board the van that was not allowed to pass through. We stayed at the checkpoint in Sitio Ignang and waited for the other vans to return. I was not part of the group that met the students and teachers who were forced to leave the Salugpungan school in Sitio Dulyan," Ocampo said.
Aside from Ocampo, also named respondents by the Talaingod Municipal Station were ACT Teachers partylist Rep. France Castro, Meggie Nolasco, Pastor Edgar Ugal, Rev. Ryan C. Magpayo, Pastor Eller A. Ordeza, Rev. Jurie Jaime, Jesus Modamo, Maryro Poquita, Maria Concepcion Ibarra, Jenveive Paraba, Merhay Tallado, Maricel Andagkit, Marcial Rendon, Ariel Ansan, Mariane Aga, Nerfa Awing and Wingwing Daunsay.
"I categorically deny the complaint for violation of RA in relation to RA 7610 and kidnapping and failure to return a minor against me. I did not commit any crime. Hence, I humbly pray that the instant complaint be immediately dismissed for lack of probable cause and for being a clear case of political persecution," Ocampo said.
Ocampo's group were arrested on Nov. 29, 2018 in the act of getting student indigenous peoples of the Te Tanu Ingkanogon Community Learning Center Inc., a Lumad school, and moving them out of the town.
Troops from the Talaingod Municipal Police and the 56th Infantry Battalion stopped the group on board five vans at a checkpoint in Barangay Sto. NiAo. The police contacted the local Municipal Social Welfare Development chief Arlene Batua who insisted on taking custody of the minor students.
Batua, in her sworn statement, claimed the personalities involved failed to present legal documents authorizing them to transport the said minors.
At least one witness, Toting Loyod, one of the parents of one of the minors, said Ocampo's group and National Solidarity Network (NSW) did not seek permission from him regarding the transport of his daughter from Talaingod, Davao del Norte to Maco, Compostela Valley. (PNA)
Source: Philippines News Agency