Talaingod 18’s bail set for 1.44 million pesos

TALAINGOD, Davao del Norte (MindaNews / 30 Nov) — The Provincial Prosecutor on Friday recommended a bail bond of 80,000 pesos each or 1.44 million pesos for all the 18 persons detained since Wednesday night for alleged trafficking, kidnapping and child abuse, among them ACT Teachers party-list Rep. France Castro, Bayan Muna President Satur Ocampo and four Protestant pastors.

The 18 — members of a National Solidarity and Fact-Finding Mission  — have been distributed to three detention areas allegedly due to space constraints, with Ocampo, the four pastors and three other males at the lock-up cell of the now tightly-secured municipal police station here.

The nine women, including Rep. Castro, were transferred to Tagum City and neighboring Kapalong town.

Talaingod Municipal Police Station in Davao Del Norte, where nine of the 18 members of the National Solidarity and Fact-Finding Mission who were arrested on Wednesday night, remained in detention on Friday, November 30, 2018. Among the nine males detained here are Bayan Muna President Satur Ocampo and four Protestant pastors. A bail bond of 80,000 pesos each or 1.44 million pesos for the 18 has been recommended. MindaNews photo by MANMAN DEJETO

“Discretion of police. I understand they don’t have facilities in Talaingod to accommodate all of them,” lawyer Joel Mahinay of the National Union of Peoples Lawyers told MindaNews.

Mahinay said his clients were still raising the amount for bail.

Security in the police station here has been beefed up by the deployment of more police personnel as well as soldiers. A KM military truck was parked prominently across the road from the police station.

Reporters have not been allowed to enter the gated compound. Municipal police chief Sr. Insp. Rogaciano Gara was in Tagum for a conference when MindaNews arrived shortly before 2 p.m

MindaNews was told to secure clearance first from the provincial police chief, Sr. Supt. Ferlu Silvio, who, according to the Talaingod police, was in that same meeting with Gara in Tagum.

SPO2 Dodjie Mabale said the 14 minors who were the reason behind the filing of   complaints against the 18 have been turned over to the regional Department of Social Welfare and Development in Davao City.

Ocampo, who writes a weekly column at the Philippine Star, was a political detainee under Marcos’ martial law, a journalist who went underground, was detained for nine years from 1976 until his escape during an election at the National Press Club in 1985. He later  served as Bayan Muna party-list representative.

Ocampo, Castro, the four pastors and 12 others are facing charges of trafficking, kidnapping and failure to return a minor after attempting to rescue students of a Lumad school in Barangay Palma Gil from alleged harassment.

The Talaingod Municipal Station, represented by its police chief, Gara filed on Thursday, November 29 , a complaint against the 18 for alleged “violation of RA 10364 in relation to RA 7610 and kidnapping and failure to return a minor.”

RA 10364 is Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2012 while RA 7610 is the Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act. Section 10a states that “any person who shall commit any other acts of child abuse, cruelty or exploitation. … shall suffer the penalty of prision mayor in its minimum period.”

Talaingod Municipal Hall in Davao Del Norte. MindaNews photo taken on 30 November 2018 by MANMAN DEJETO

Provincial Prosecutor Norman Solis in his Inquest Resolution issued early evening of November 29, said that based on the evidence presented by the complainant, “there is probable cause to indict respondents for violation of RA 7610, Article VI, Section 10a” and recommended a bail bond of 80,000 pesos each.

Solis gave them 10 days from November 29 to submit their counter-affidavits.

Named respondents aside from Castro and Ocampo were Meggie Nolasco,  executive director of the Salugpongan Ta Tanu Igkanugon Community Learning Center (STTICLC); Pastor Edgar Ugal, Reverends Ryan Magpayo and Jurie Jaime of the United Church of Christ of the Philippines (UCCP) Davao; Pastor Eller Ordeza of the United Methodist Davao; Jesus Modamo and Maryro Poquita, staffmembers of the ACT Teachers’ Party List; and Salugpongan Community Learning Center teachers Maria Concepcion Ibarra, Jenevive Paraba, Nerhaya Talledo, Maricel Andagkit, Marcial Rendon, Ariel Ansan, Mariane Aga, Nerfa Awing and Wingwing Dansay. (Carolyn O. Arguillas / MindaNews)