Press Release
February 21, 2022

Dispatch from Crame No. 1221:
Sen. Leila M. de Lima on the Arrest of Dr. Natividad Castro


I join the human rights community, the community of medical professionals, and the rest of Filipino society, in calling for the safety and protection of Dr. Natividad Castro's person and rights while in custody, and for an immediate and impartial investigation into the circumstances of her arrest.

I am deeply concerned with the manner of her arrest. I was shown photos of her placed in the undignified and unsanitary state of being made to walk around barefooted when her mugshot was taken. It was also reported that the arresting officers scaled the walls of her house and destroyed her door. She was also initially denied access to her counsel, her family, and her medications.

Dr. Castro is a human rights defender, and a doctor to the marginalized and underserved. In a time when the entire world owes its very survival to the sacrifices of health workers and professionals like herself, it is an understatement to say that she deserved to be treated far better, if only for the sake of her physical and mental well-being, if not her dignity as a human being.

In November last year, we also called for an investigation into the arrest of women and children's rights advocate Sally Crisostomo-Ujano, who was tagged as most wanted when she has been working with various government agencies against human trafficking for 2 decades already.

Ganito na ba talaga natin tratuhin ang mamamayang taos-pusong nagsisilbi sa kapwa at bayan samantalang yung mga gahaman na sinasamantala ang pandemya upang kumamkam ay pinagtatanggol pa ng husto ni Duterte.

Indeed, state-sponsored reprisals will always be the order of the day, and even humanitarian acts will be deemed acts of subversion, if an anti-people government and its enablers remain in power.

Habang ang gobyerno natin ay ingat na ingat maka-insulto ng mga dayuhan, hindi ba nararapat lamang na bigyan din natin ng kahihiyan at tratuhin rin ng may karangalan ang mga taong katulad ni Dr. Castro, na hindi pa naman napapatunayan kung may-sala ngunit subok naman na ang pagtulong sa bayan at sa kapwa?

Mga kababayan, are we not better than this?

Ganito ba ang asal ng gobyerno na gusto nating hahawak sa ating mga mahal sa buhay at kinabukasan natin?

(Access the handwritten version, here:

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