Malacañang on Friday asked the camp of arrested former Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo not to engage in propaganda war against the government and just let the legal process take its course.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo made the remark after Ocampo, ACT Teachers Rep. France Castro and 16 others were arrested for charges of abduction, child abuse, and trafficking in persons when they allegedly took in their custody several Lumad students to teach them rebellious ideas against the government.
“We advise Mr. Ocampo and his supporters to hold their horses,” Panelo said in a statement.
“Rashly jumping into conclusions and engaging in propaganda war not only is unproductive, but an attempt to resort to a trial by publicity against the government by those identified with the left,” he added.
The arrested personalities were allegedly transporting 12 minors in five vans when they were pulled over at a military checkpoint in the municipality of Talaingod, Davao del Norte on Wednesday night.
Police said Ocampo and his companions use the Salugpongan Ta’Tanu Igkanogon Community Learning Center in Sitio Dulyan, Barangay Palma Gil in Talaingod as a front organization of the Communist Party of the Philippines – New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) to recruit Lumads to the rebel movement.
Panelo, who is also President Rodrigo Duterte’s chief legal counsel, said the “rule of law must always prevail in a democracy.”
“There is no room for short cuts that impair the legal processes. Let the constitutional processes proceed without fear nor favor,” he added. /jpv
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