Former solon Satur Ocampo, 18 others charged for illegally holding minors

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 29) — Former Bayan Muna House Representative Satur Ocampo and 18 others were charged for illegally holding minors and transporting 14 children from Talaingod, Davao del Norte to a unknown location.

This was confirmed by Lt.Col Demy Zagala of the Philippine Army's 10th Infantry Division.

Talaingod police said members of the 56th Infantry Batallion rescued the 14 minors from Ocampo, Castro and the 17 others. All of them were on board five vans.

The police report said Ocampo, ACT Teachers Party-list Representative France Castro, and the 17 others violated Republic Act 9208, or the "Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003," and Republic Act 7610 or the ""Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act."

A statement from Leftist group KARAPATAN, however, said Ocampo and Castro were in a National Humanitarian Mission Wednesday along with teachers from Lumad schools.

"This regime's seeming endless arsenal of dirty tricks which includes military occupation of communities and schools, killings, threats and harassment of residents, including children, and rights defenders is spiteful and condemnable," the group said in a statement Wednesday.

Ocampo's group is now detained at the Talaingod police station. The 14 minors are now under the custody of the Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office.

The former lawmaker was one of four Leftist leaders with arrest orders from a Nueva Ecija Regional Trial Court in July due to murder charges.

The other three were former Bayan Muna House lawmakers Teddy Casiño, then Anti-Poverty Commissioner Liza Maza and former Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael "Paeng" Mariano.

However, the Nueva Ecija court overturned the warrants in August.