MANILA - Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr's scoffing at the arrest of former lawmaker Satur Ocampo is his "personal position on the matter" and "does not reflect the official view of the administration on the issue," a Malacañang spokesperson said Monday.
Ocampo was arrested last week on supposed human trafficking and kidnapping, but Locsin said the allegation was "bullsh*t." Having served as lawmakers at the same time, the top diplomat said he "know(s)" Ocampo adding that they protected him against warrants of arrest during Congress.
But Malacañang considers Locsin's statements "as personal sentiments supportive of a friend being former colleagues," said Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo.
"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," he said in a statement.
"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," he added.
Locsin and Ocampo were members of the House of Representatives from 2001 to 2010. Locsin was elected Makati representative for 3 consecutive terms, while Ocampo was Bayan Muna Party-list representative.
On November 30, Ocampo, ACT Teachers Party-list Rep. France Castro and several others were apprehended in Davao del Norte for allegedly kidnapping and trafficking Lumad children.
They have since posted bail.
Panelo said the prosecutor has granted the request of Ocampo and his group to have a preliminary investigation to rebut the allegations, and to proffer evidence in support of their defense.
This then shows that "they are being accorded due process," he said.
"Other legal remedies to which they are entitled are available to them. Let the law take its course," he said.
"We thus reiterate our advice to all parties to trust the process without hasty and premature judgements. 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," he added.