Talaingod 18 posts bail but still awaiting release as of 6 p.m. Saturday

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 01 December) —  The lawyer of the 18 members of National Solidarity and Fact-Finding Mission who were arrested Wednesday night for alleged trafficking, kidnapping and child abuse on Saturday posted bail of 1.44 million pesos (at 80,000 pesos each) for their release from detention.

Lawyer Joel Mahinay of the National Union of Peoples Lawyers said they posted bail at around 1 p.m.  But as of 6 p.m., the group had yet to be released.

Mahinay told MindaNews they were still waiting for the police to deliver to the court in Tagum City the detainees in Talaingod and Kapaong.

Bayan Muna President Satur Ocampo (right) and ACT Teachers party-list Rep. France Castro are among 18 participants to a National Solidarity MIssion arrested Wednesday night in Talaingod, Davao del Norte, for alleged trafficking of minor, child abuse, kidnapping and failure to return a minos. Photo at the municipal police station in Talaingod on 29 November 2018 courtesy of Breakaway Media

The 18 detainees were distributed to three detention centers — the nine males in Talaingod police station and the nine females — five in Kapalong and four in Tagum City, including Rep. Castro.

Mahinay said the Tagum detainees were already in court, waiting for the 14 other detainees in Talaingod and Tagum.

The Talaingod Municipal Police Station through its police chief on Thursday filed a complaint for kidnapping, human trafficking and chaild abuse against Bayan Muna president Satur Ocampo, ACT Teachers Party-list Rep. France Castro, four pastors, two ACT party-list staffmembers and nine teachers and the esecutive director of Salugpongan school in Talaingod for allegedly transporting 14 minors without parental consent.  The Mission members claimed they rescued the minors from alleged harassement by a paramilitary group.

Authorities brought Ocampo’s group to the Provincial Prosecutor’s Office in Tagum City for inquest proceedings where Provincial Prosecutor Norman Solis issued a resolution saying he found probable cause in the alleged child abuse complaint.

Solis gave them 10 days to file their counter-affidavits from the day the inquest resolution was issued.

“Among the charges filed by the PNP are kidnapping and failure to return a minor which are non-bailable aside from RA 10364 in relation to RA 7610 but the finding or the Resolution of the Fiscal after the inquest is only for RA 7610 which the bail recommended is P80, 000 each,” Mahinay noted.

“We will file our counter-affidavits in due time to question the legality surrounding my client’s arrest,” he said. (Carolyn O. Arguillas and Mart Sambalud / MindaNews)