FOREIGN Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. only expressed his opinion when he denounced the arrest and detention of former Bayan Muna party-list Representative Satur Ocampo in Davao del Norte last week, Malacañang said yesterday.
Locsin on Saturday described as “bullshit” the human trafficking charges leveled against Ocampo who, along with 16 others, including ACT Teachers party-list Representative France Castro, were arrested by security forces on November 28 while on their way to a Lumad school in the Salugpongan Learning Center in Dulyan, Barangay Palma Gil, Talaingod town.
The group was part of a national solidarity mission that would deliver food and school supplies to the Lumad community.
Police, however, said Ocampo and his companions, who are also facing kidnapping charges, failed to present documents of parental consent for the minors who were with them at the time of the arrest.
“[W]e wish to state that his (Locsin) personal position on the matter does not reflect the official view of the administration on the issue,” presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said.
Panelo brought up the previous working relationship between Locsin and Ocampo, thus the foreign secretary’s remarks were “personal sentiments supportive of a friend being former colleagues with Mr. Ocampo in Congress.”
Both Locsin and Ocampo served in the House of Representatives from 2001 to 2010.
“Friendship however does not give birth to the conclusive conclusion that a person charged of a crime is innocent nor does a charge sheet automatically make such individual guilty thereof,” Panelo said.