Ocampo, Castro, 16 others charged with child abuse, kidnapping, failure to return a minor

Published November 30, 2018, 3:28 PM

by Francine Ciasico

The Philippine National Police (PNP) announced Friday that former Bayan Muna Representative Satur Ocampo, ACT Teachers Rep. France Castro, and 16 others have been charged with child abuse, kidnapping, and failure to return a minor.

Former Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo, ACT Teachers Rep. France Castro's mugshots were released by the PNP
Former Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo, ACT Teachers Rep. France Castro’s mugshots were released by the PNP (PNP-PIO)

They were arrested last Wednesday in Talaingod, Davao del Norte, for allegedly recruiting children to “rally against the government.”

In a police report shared by Chief Superintendent Benigno Durana Jr. to reporters, the Police Regional Office (PRO) 12’s Talaingod Municipal Police Station, represented by Senior Inspector Rogaciano Gara, filed the charge for violation of the Republic Act 7610 or the Anti-Child Abuse Law.

Meanwhile, Chief Inspector Jason Baria, regional public information officer of PRO-11, confirmed that charges for kidnapping and failure to return a minor were also filed against the suspects.

The charges were filed before the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor in Tagum City, which recommended an P80,000 bail for each respondent.

According to the inquest resolution signed by Norman Solis, the provincial prosecutor, “there is probable cause to indict respondents” for violation of Section 10 (a) (Other conditions prejudicial to the children’s development) of RA 7610.


Aside from Ocampo and Castro, also charged were Pastor Edgar Ugal, Rev. Ryan Magpayo, and Rev. Jurie Jaime, of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP)-Davao; Pastor Eller Ordeza, of the United Methodist Davao; Meggie Nolasco, administrator at Salugpungan Learning Center (SLC); nine other teachers; and staff Jesus Modamo and Maryro Poquita.

Chief Superintendent Marcelo Morales, regional director of PRO-11, said the charge stemmed from the arrest of the 18 suspects, who were all part of the 74 member-contingent of the group conducting a National Solidarity Mission (NSM) last Wednesday.

The suspects were apprehended at a checkpoint setup by Talaingod police, soldiers and social welfare development officers around 10 p.m. at Sto. Niño, Talaingod, Davao del Norte.

The police said the group, onboard five vans, was accompanied by 14 minors. The police flagged down the vans and asked for documents of parental consent of the minors, which the group failed to provide.

Police later learned that the minors, who came from different parts of Mindanao, were students of Salugpungan Learning Center. The learning institution was padlocked earlier this year by the Lumad leaders upon the orders of the Department of Education (DepEd), Morales said.

“There were reports that the children were taught false ideas at school, far from the mandates of the DepEd. Also, allegedly, this group is using the children to be with them to rally against the government,” he noted.

Morales said they also received complaints from tribal leaders that Ocampo’s group was “pulling out children almost every night without permission from their parents.”

However, the NSM denied the claim of the police, saying that they were rescuing the minors.

Earlier, Save Our Schools Network said the NSM were conducting a fact-finding mission at Barangay Palma Gil, Talaingod town to investigate alleged attacks on Lumad schools.(Martin A. Sadongdong and Armando B. Fenequito Jr.)