Locsin's criticism on Satur Ocampo's human trafficking rap his personal position, Palace says
Malacanang said on Monday that Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr.'s criticism on the arrest of former Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Satur Ocampo was his personal stance and not of the Duterte administration.
Locsin, on his Twitter account on Saturday, slammed the police in Davao del Norte for filing a human trafficking complaint against Ocampo, along with ACT Teachers partylist Rep. France Cruz and 16 others, who were held in a checkpoint in Talaingod, Davao del Norte with 14 minors allegedly without the consent of their parents on the night of November 28.
"Human trafficking? Bullsh*t," Locsin said, citing when he was still at the House of Representatives as congressman of Makati City, they protected Ocampo, who was then the representative of Bayan Muna, against warrants of arrest.
"As a response to queries arising out of the tweets of Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Teodoro Locsin, Jr. who slammed the arrest of former legislator Satur Ocampo, we wish to state that his personal position on the matter does not reflect the official view of the Administration on the issue," Panelo said in his statement.
Noting that Locsin and Ocampo were colleagues in the House, he said the DFA chief's remarks were "personal sentiments supportive of a friend."
"Friendship, however, does not give birth to the conclusive conclusion that a person charged of a crime is innocent nor does a charge sheet automatically make such individual guilty thereof. That is precisely why the Constitution grants every citizen the presumption of innocence and burdens the state to prove the guilt of the accused beyond a reasonable doubt," said Panelo, who is also the chief presidential legal counsel.
The mere fact that Ocampo and his group were accorded preliminary investigation to rebut the allegations and were allowed to post bail, he said that these showed that they were being accorded due process.
"Other legal remedies to which they are entitled are available to them. Let the law take its course. We thus reiterate our advice to all parties to trust the process without hasty and premature judgments. Let the legal mechanism work as it should. That is what the Rule of Law is all about.
The law hears before it convicts, and it hears before it acquits as well," Panelo said.
Ocampo and his team claimed that they were in Davao del Norte to provide humanitarian assistance and to rescue the children and teachers from a lumad school from the harassment by the paramilitary and the soldiers in the area.
They vowed to file counter-charges against the police and military officers who arrested and detained them for two days. Celerina Monte/DMS