Doc Naty freed; Judges urged to 'follow judicial ethics'

Benise Balaoing, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 31 2022 12:32 PM | Updated as of Mar 31 2022 12:41 PM

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MANILA – The dismissal of the kidnapping and serious illegal detention charge against community doctor and activist Dr. Natividad Castro should serve as a reminder to judges to follow judicial ethics, her lawyer said Thursday. 

“As far as the judges are concerned, all that they have to do is to realize that as judges, they represent what justice should really be in this country. And therefore, insofar as judicial ethics is concerned, then they should follow that,” Atty. Wilfred Asis said.

“[This is] pursuant to the Bangalore judicial ethics rule, where the Supreme Court adapted the position that judges should be, inasmuch as possible, independent and free from any influence that would affect and diminish the meaning of what justice is in accordance with the Rules of Court and in accordance with the Constitution,” he added.

Castro, a former secretary general of Karapatan-Caraga, was arrested last month after allegedly being involved in the kidnapping of a member of the Philippine Army's Civilian Active Auxiliary. Her sister has denied that Castro is a ranking member of the central committee of the Communist Party of the Philippines–New People's Army.

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Various groups, including the Commission on Human Rights, condemned the arrest. 

Without mentioning Castro's name, the Department of Health, in a statement, said it trusts authorities to uphold the rights of all citizens, including health workers, who "enjoy constitutional guarantees of due process and presumption of innocence until proven guilty."

"The contributions of our health workers, especially those who have opted to work with the underserved are immeasurable," the DOH said.

The case against Castro was dismissed on March 25 due to due process violation and lack of probable cause to issue a warrant of arrest.

Asis had questioned her arrest because she was allegedly not notified in writing of the investigation against her.

The lawyer said Castro was in good health when she was released. 

Asked if they will file cases against those involved in the doctor’s arrest, Asis said, “We will cross the bridge when we reach it. Because we don’t want to endanger the life, even at this stage, of Dr. Naty Castro.”

“There may be some operators who could be minded intensely to rectify the mistakes that their superiors have committed, and this is consistent with the campaign of the government against the (New People’s Army) and others,” he added.

--ANC, 31 March 2022