Press Release
November 16, 2021

Dispatch from Crame No. 1177:
Sen. Leila M. de Lima on the arrest of Sally Crisostomo

I join other advocates against human trafficking and human rights defenders in calling for the observance of due process and respect for the rights of Ms. Sally Crisostomo-Ujano who was recently arrested allegedly on the basis of a 15-year old warrant of arrest. I likewise call for an immediate investigation into the legality and circumstances of her arrest.

The allegation of PNP Central Luzon that she is "a Top Most Wanted Person in the province of Bulacan" says more about the gaping holes in their capability for investigation, tracking and coordination of our law enforcement authorities than Ms. Crisostomo-Ujano's alleged intention to evade justice, much less her skills in hiding.

I was shown photos of her with government agencies, even members of the PNP, in campaigns against human trafficking. How can she be a most wanted person and in hiding when she has been publicly advocating for women's and children's rights, for the last 2 decades?

If someone who has lived a very public life, has a facebook account, has made no efforts to obscure her identity and, instead, has been working publicly with law enforcement agencies in combating human trafficking, can be considered a "Most Wanted Person" by the PNP, then there is something deeply and disturbingly wrong with the PNP.

With such an imperfections in the police force in particular and the criminal justice system in general, it should leave no one to wonder why I both firmly and consistently oppose the death penalty, and vehemently speak against Extrajudicial Killings. If cops can make this big blunder in simply searching for an alleged fugitive, imagine the wrongs being perpetrated by those that are killed because of their negligence or outright malice?

Since she has not made any effort to hide or obscure her identity, authorities have to give her the benefit of the doubt, and release her while all this is being sorted out.

So, again, I call on authorities to observe due process, respect her rights and investigate what happened in this case. Hindi tayo pwedeng pumayag na ang isang mamamayan tulad ni Ms. Sally Crisostomo-Ujano, na mas marami pang naitulong sa paglaban sa human trafficking kaysa sa ilang miyembro ng kapulisan, ay basta-basta na lang dadamputin sa ganitong kataka-takang paraan. Buti pa ang mga Duterte government at Pharmally officials, nagtatago na nga, at ang iba ay nagtangka pang pumuga, pero lubos ang pagtatanggol ng Pangulo sa kanila. How can a woman who has served the interests of human trafficking victims deserve any less?

(Access the handwritten version, here:

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