MANILA - Malacañang on Friday said the rule of law "must always prevail in a democracy" following the arrest of former Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo and 16 others.
In a statement, Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo advised Ocampo and his supporters against "jumping into conclusions and engaging in propaganda war."
"We advise Mr. Ocampo and his supporters to hold their horses. 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 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."
Ocampo, ACT Teachers Party-list Rep. France Castro, and 15 others underwent booking procedure earlier Friday after being charged with kidnapping and human trafficking over the transport of minors in Davao del Norte.
Ocampo and his group will be given 10 days to submit their counter affidavit. Bail was set at P80,000 per person.
In August, Ocampo was among individuals cleared from having alleged ties to rebel group Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA).
This was in light of the justice department's petition to cite the CPP-NPA as terrorist organizations in compliance with President Rodrigo Duterte’s order.