MANILA - Police authorities tried to defy a court's order to release former Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo and his group on bail in Davao del Norte last Saturday, a lawmaker claimed.
In a press conference Sunday, Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate said the executive judge of Tagum City already issued an order but the police were making excuses to delay the release of Ocampo.
"Despite that order ang dami nilang mga delay-delay. Sabi, kailangan nilang i-secure ang place, then nasiraan ang sasakyan, pangatlo mag-a-alas-7:00 na, ang sabi, naghapunan pa sila," he said.
Zarate said Ocampo, ACT-Teachers Rep. France Castro, and others were brought to the executive judge's office by night to sign the documents for the bail, but the police still tried to manifest.
The lawmaker added that police officers and soldiers even surrounded the court house that night but they insisted on their right for bail.
"Sabi nga ni Judge [Arlene] Palabrica, 'no, no, no, improper 'yun na gumawa ka ng manifestation kasi this is not a court hearing, pina-process lang natin ang bail,'" Zarate recalled.
"Maging si Palabrica, sinabi niya, 'This is the hall of justice. Pinagsabihan niya na umalis kayo dito sa loob. Hayaan niyo silang makaalis.' Nagalit na rin 'yung judge," he added.
Zarate said Ocampo and the others were allowed to go after the judge scolded the police officers but he said they were still followed until they got to the airport.
Ocampo, Castro, and the rest of the group posted an P80,000 bail bond over charges of violating the child abuse law.
They were initially arrested for kidnapping and human trafficking but Zarate said the fiscal found the evidence on these charges were weak.
Both Ocampo and Castro insisted that they were rescuing Lumad students and teachers in Salugpungan school when they were arrested by the police and the military.
They said the paramilitary forces forcibly padlocked their school, forcing the teachers and students to flee in the middle of the night, and prompting their group to do a rescue mission.