Press Release
April 1, 2022

De Lima welcomes dismissal of charges vs. health worker Dr. Naty Castro

Re-electionist Senator Senator Leila M. de Lima welcomed the dismissal of trumped-up kidnapping and illegal detention charges against community doctor Natividad "Naty" Castro, who initiated health programs and helped Lumads set up health centers in Mindanao.

De Lima, a social justice and human rights champion, said the junking by the Regional Trial Court of Bayugan, Agusan Del Sur, Branch 7, of the bogus charges is "the spark of hope we need amid the repression and oppression under the Duterte regime."

"Nananaig din ang katotohanan, nagwawagi din ang Hustisya," she said. "Her arrest was truly repugnant. To her right to liberty, to the rule of law, to everything that human rights defenders are fighting for."

"Sa ilalim ng mapaniil na gobyerno, ang sino mang lumalaban para sa tama ay pilit iginagapos at binubusalan. Despite their relentless attempts to silence human rights advocates and use the law to suppress our burning love for our cause and our country, this fight will carry on!" she added.

In its March 25 decision, the Bayugan City RTC Branch 7 reportedly dismissed the case on the grounds of denial of Castro's rights to due process and its lack of jurisdiction over her.

Castro was arrested last Feb. 18 for being an alleged communist leader.

The Court noted that the original and supplemental complaint-affidavits and affidavits of the witness are deficient of allegations establishing the identity and participation of Castro in the supposed abduction and illegal detention.

"With the dismissal of the case, the custodian of the accused, Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) Agusan del Sur, is ordered to release immediately accused Dr. Natividad Castro from detention upon receipt of this resolution unless her continued detention is justified for some other lawful cause," the Court added.

The lady Senator from Bicol said Castro's story gives political prisoners like her hope that there is still reason to believe in the system.

"Even when the strongholds of truth and justice have been incessantly attacked and shattered, the light still shines through the cracks. Namnamin natin ang mga araw na nakamit natin ang hustisya," De Lima said.

"There aren't many days like this, and so we must savor every second of it and use it to further fuel the fire in our hearts to continue fighting for the rule of law and justice," she added.

News Latest News Feed