Warrant on arrest of doctor did not bear her name, lawyers said

Feb. 24, 2022

DAVAO CITY, Philippines — The Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG) questioned irregularities in the arrest of community doctor Natividad ‘Naty’ Castro last week.

“Her name does not even appear to be her name in the alleged warrant,” lawyer Wilfred Asis of FLAG Caraga chapter said in a televised news report Sunday.

Castro was taken into custody Friday, February 18, by police and army intelligence in her home in San Juan City and brought her to Bayugan City, Agusan del Sur.

She was taken on the basis of a warrant issued January 30, 2020 by acting presiding judge Fernando Fudalan of the Regional Trial Court Branch 7 of Bayugan.

Police have accused Castro as a ranking member of the Communist Party of the Philippines and is charged with kidnapping and serious illegal detention.

But Castro’s sister, in a separate interview, added that during her sister’s arrest, the raiding team presented a photocopied warrant that contained 300 names but she did not find her sister’s name.

The community doctor was also held incommunicado from her family after being transported to Bayugan, and was also denied to talk with her lawyer.

FLAG said they will pursue legal action on those who have red-tagged Castro.

“We are going to file not only criminal cases against them but even damages. We are thinking of either filing a motion to dismiss the charge and or writ of habeas corpus,” Asis said.

The arrest and charges against Castro, a community doctor and Lumad advocate, drew statements from her schools — St. Scholastica College, University of the Philippines Manila and UP Manila College of Medicine Class of 1995, and the from a Lumad leader from the community whom she served in Caraga region.

Castro appeared on a video posted by her family, as she thanked her classmates and schools and her lawyer.

Ako ay nagpapasalamat sa inyong lahat na patuloy na nagdadasal, nakikiramay, at sumusubaybay sa aking kalagayan ngayon. Bagama’t mahirap, nagpapasalamat ako sa lahat ng nagpapagaan ng matinding pagsubok na ito,” Castro said.

[I am grateful to all of you who continue to pray, sympathize, and monitor my situation. Although this is a difficult time, I am thankful to everyone who helped me through this difficult time.] (davaotoday.com)

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