Lawyer questions community doctor’s arrest

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 23 2022 02:41 PM

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MANILA – The lawyer of detained community doctor Maria Natividad Castro is set to question her arrest before the courts Tuesday, saying that his client was not notified in writing that she was being investigated for alleged violations of the law.

In an interview on ANC’s “Rundown,” Atty. Wilfred Asis said Castro was not written to be informed about her alleged involvement in a kidnapping.

“That is the only crucial thing that has to be determined. Because the absence of a notification, a subpoena addressed to Dr. Naty to answer the charges that were supposedly filed against her, actually nullifies the whole proceedings of the preliminary investigation,” Asis said.

“And in the case of Rolito Go--I think you remember Rolito Go, the one who shot Eldon Maguan--the Supreme Court said the absence of a notice that follows the procedures established by the rules of court as well as by law, is a substantial right, the absence of which renders null and void the proceedings.”

Asked if their camp now has more clarity on the basis for Castro’s arrest, Asis said, “That is exactly the point of the motion that I will be filing today. Because in the first place, there is really no credible witness that was investigated by the prosecutor.”

“And we wonder how he could identify the doctor among 468 respondents. We wonder how.”

Police captured the 53-year-old doctor in San Juan City last Friday over charges of kidnapping and serious illegal detention in the Caraga region. Castro was a secretary general of rights group Karapatan in the region.

They said Castro was allegedly involved in the kidnapping of a member of the Philippine Army's Civilian Active Auxiliary last Dec. 29, 2018.

Castro’s sister has denied that she is a ranking member of the central committee of the Communist Party of the Philippines–New People's Army.

The Commission on Human Rights has said that they are looking into whether police procedures were properly followed during Castro's arrest.

"There's allegation that some (policemen) were not in uniform, they weren’t properly identified and the force employed is more than what is required. We’re looking into this, whether the arresting officers followed the rule of procedure," Commissioner Leah Armamento said. 

--ANC, 23 February 2022