Child abuse charges vs Satur Ocampo 'laughable,' says wife
MANILA, Philippine – The wife of former Bayan Muna representative Satur Ocampo on Friday, November 30, called out police and military authorities for accusing her husband and 17 others of “child abuse” and other "invented" charges.
“It’s laughable…. They just have to invent things to pin people who are trying to do a job,” journalism professor Carolina “Bobbie” Malay said in a phone patch interview with ANC on Friday.
“If you think of it, it’s a job that needs to be done. That’s what Satur and France were doing, defending the rights of Lumad to have an education, to learn their own culture, and to be able to defend themselves against the lies being told by the military,” she added.
Ocampo, ACT Teachers Representative France Castro, and 16 others have been detained at the Talaingod Municipal Police Station since their arrest on November 28 at a checkpoint where authorities found 14 minors in their convoy.
Based on the discovery of the minors aged 14 to 17, they were accused of violating Republic Act 10364 or the Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2012, in relation to Republic Act 7610 or the Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act, kidnapping, and failure to return a minor.
Malay believes Ocampo and the rest of the group would be vindicated in the end. (READ: Makabayan condemns 'illegal' arrest of Satur Ocampo, France Castro)
“We’re confident that the investigation will show everyone that these are all trumped-up charges,” she said.
Malay also cited the outpouring of support for the detainees.
“These are all heartening for me. Inspite of everything, ang daming taong namumulat na sa mga karapatan nila. Kung mag-i-isip-isip lamang and mga [awtoridad na] ito, ano ang ginagawa nilang pagtuturo? Tama ay mali at mali ay tama,” she said.
(A lot of people are becoming more aware of their rights. If they would only really think about it, what are these authorities teaching? Right is wrong and wrong is right.)
Malay said she had been unable to communicate with Ocampo since Thursday night, as the police confiscated his phone.
Asked for their plan following Ocampo’s arrest and detention, Malay said: “We’re used to it, this kind of harassment. Satur is used to sleeping on the floor – this is really old stuff for him but he’s old. We’re both old. But we’re willing to still go on. The stakes are high, and we’re energized by the support being shown by the people.”
Ocampo is 79, and Malay a few years younger.
She added that the situation of Ocampo, Castro, and the others in Talaingod was a “good” reminder of what many others are going through in the country – “millions of ordinary Filipinos who are being deprived fo their rights to an education, deprived of their own thoughts, being told to submit to the unjust rules.”
Ocampo and Malay are no strangers to arrests.
Ocampo was arrested during Martial Law under the Marcos regime in 1976 and remained in military custody until 1985.
They went underground after the collapse of the communist rebels' peace talks with the first Aquino administration in 1987, and were arrested again in 1989. Malay was released in 1991 and Ocampo a year later, both not found guilty of any crime.