[From the web] On the arrest & detention of Doctor Ma. Natividad Castro | FLAG
STATEMENT OF THE FREE LEGAL ASSISTANCE GROUP (FLAG) ON THE ARREST, DETENTION, AND WHEREABOUTS OF DOCTOR MA. NATIVIDAD CASTRO:
FLAG is gravely concerned as to the whereabouts of Dr. Ma. Natividad Castro.
On February 18, 2022, police officers took Dr. Castro from her home in San Juan, pursuant to an alleged Warrant of Arrest issued by RTC Branch 7 of Bayugan City.
FLAG was retained as counsel by Dr. Castro’s relatives when she was taken from her home. FLAG immediately sought access to Dr. Castro at the Intelligence Group, Camp Crame where she was reportedly brought and detained. Before this, Dr. Castro’s sister, who was also at Crame, was also not allowed access, as was another lawyer, who was a friend of the family.
Upon inquiry, police officers from the Intelligence Group informed FLAG that Dr. Castro was no longer at Camp Crame as she was supposedly “brought to the airport” to be “delivered to the court” in Butuan City. Family members proceeded to the airport but were not able to see her there. The scheduled flight to Butuan took off without any confirmation of Dr. Castro being on board. Requests for copies of the warrant of arrest, reports and documents relative to Dr. Castro’s arrests and transportation likewise went unheeded.
Throughout the whole afternoon and continuing to the present, none of her relatives or lawyers have been able to gain access to Dr. Castro and no official confirmation from her captors, the PNP, has been made as to her whereabouts. Dr. Castro has been denied access to her counsel and to her family, in violation of her rights under the Constitution and the law. She was also denied her medication for her hypertension and diabetes because the police refused to allow her sister who wanted to bring her medicines and test kits to have access to Dr. Castro. Her present whereabouts are unconfirmed and thus unknown, she was last seen by relatives at the PNP Camp Crame, Intelligence Group office.
FLAG demands that the PNP, through the Chief of the PNP, officially confirm Dr. Castro’s whereabouts to her counsel and her family, present her physically to and grant access to counsel and family and to all others she may request under RA 7438 and RA 10353 within 24 hours; failing which, the appropriate criminal and administrative suits will be filed.
Additionally, FLAG demands that Dr. Castro be provided access to medical and mental health care by a doctor of her choice under RA 9745, sec. 12.
Finally, FLAG demands that an official investigation be conducted identifying all those responsible for denying family members and counsel access to Dr. Castro and for the PNP to submit a report on action taken within 48 hours.
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