Authorities will escort a doctor arrested in San Juan City on Friday for kidnapping and serious illegal detention and identified as a Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) official to Butuan City.
However, no information has been provided about the transfer of Maria Natividad Castro, 53, who was apprehended in Barangay San Perfecto on Jan. 30, 2020, based on an arrest warrant issued by Fernando Fudalan of the Regional Trial Court Branch 7 of Bayugan City, Agusan del Sur.
According to the Police Regional Office in Caraga (PRO-13), no bail was recommended for Castro (alias Yam/Agi/Kyle/Prim), the No. 7 regional level communist terrorist group (CTG) priority target and chief of the CPP-New People’s Army (NPA) National Health Bureau stationed in Barangay Libertad, Butuan City.
Castro was alleged of participating in the felony kidnapping of a Civilian Active Auxiliary (CAA) member, detaining the victim in an undetermined place, and threatening him on December 29, 2018, in Barangay Kolambungan, Sibagat, Agusan del Sur.
The CAA assists the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ regular forces in dealing with security threats.
“The arrest of Castro marks another CTG setback and their inevitable demise. Their bloody, merciless plans have never succeeded. They have always been a failure and a disgrace to every Caraganon,” PRO-13 Regional Director, Brig. Gen. Romeo Caramat Jr., said in a statement released Friday.
Members of the arresting team included members of the Regional Intelligence Division (RID)-13, the Philippine National Police (PNP) Intelligence Group, the RID National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO)c, the 401st Brigade, the Philippine Army’s 4th Infantry Division, the 3rd Special Forces Battalion, the 41 Military Intelligence Company, the Joint Task Force-NCR, the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency-NCR, and San Juan City police.
“I congratulate our personnel who have been conducting surveillance and intelligence gathering making it possible to bring the suspect before the court to stand trial in accord with legal proceedings,” said PNP chief, Gen. Dionardo Carlos, in another statement on Friday.
Castro is presumed innocent unless proven guilty, according to the Department of Health (DOH).
During a Laging Handa public briefing on Saturday, Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire emphasized that the DOH appreciates the efforts of health care workers and doctors who assist the vulnerable in gaining access to services.
“Lahat naman po tayo would be presumed innocent until proven otherwise, so antayin lang natin ‘yong proseso na sinasagawa ngayon para makita natin kung ano ang kalalabasan (We know that a person is presumed innocent until proven otherwise, so let’s just wait for the process to be completed),” she said. “Ito po ay isa lamang po na gusto naming iparating (This a message that we want to convey), that we value and we recognize the efforts of our health care workers like Dr. Naty.”
In remarks made following the event, CTG-affiliated parties such as Kabataan party-list, Karapatan, and Kilusang Mayo Uno said Castro is merely a health care worker and human rights advocate serving the people.
The United States, European Union, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines have designated the CPP-NPA as a terrorist group.
No bail for doctor-CPP official involved in kidnapping|PNA