Ocampo is teary-eyed as he speaks before his father's supporters,
PHOTO BY DABET CASTAÑEDA
Son Condemns Arrest
of Ka Satur
it’s just like martial law
Satur Ocampo’s son, Anto, weeps at a solidarity gathering for his father
at the Club Filipino in Ortigas. “I am outraged,” the young Ocampo said
of his father’s third arrest since martial law.
BY DABET CASTANEDA
Posted 3:35 p.m., March 19, 2007
In a solidarity
gathering for detained Bayan Muna lawmaker Satur Ocampo at the Club
Filipino in Ortigas, San Juan, his 31-year old son, Antonio, broke down
in tears while thanking supporters of his father.
The Bayan Muna
solon was arrested by the police based on a warrant issued by Branch 18
of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Hilongos, Leyte for allegedly
ordering the mass murder of at least 15 individuals who were alleged by
the military as victims of a supposed purge by the Communist Party of
the Philippines (CPP) in the mid-1980s.
He surfaced and was
arrested at around 3:30 p.m. on March 16 at the Supreme Court after
sidestepping for 10 days since March 6 when the warrant for his arrest
was issued. Ocampo is charged with 12 counts of multiple-murder.
“Ang gusto lang
naman namin ay maglingkod sa bayan,”
(All we want to do is to serve our countrymen.) the young Ocampo, who is
himself working for a non-government organization, told the crowd as he
wiped his tears.
“I am outraged.
This is the third time they (the government agents) are doing this to my
father, to us,” he told reporters after the program.
Antonio or Anto was
just a one-year old boy on January 14, 1976 when his father, one of the
most respected journalists of his time, was illegally arrested and
tortured by military intelligence operatives.
For nine long
years, the young Anto’s image of his father was a person behind bars and
a loving tatay (father) taken away from him. “As far as I can
recall bumibisita ako sa kulungan. Ganun talaga ang buhay namin nuon,”
(I visited my father in prison. That was our normal life then) Anto said
with a sheepish smile during an interview with Bulatlat inside
the General Assignments Section of the Western Police District (WPD)
along the United Nations Avenue in Manila where his father was detained
on March 16 until he was whisked away by Special Weapons and Tactics
(SWAT) agents this morning.
The older Ocampo
was charged with rebellion and subversion during martial law but was not
found guilty even after seven years of trial under Special Military
Commission No. 1.
Ka Satur escaped
from military custody May 5, 1985 and went underground only to surface
as chief negotiator of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines
(NDFP) in the local peace negotiations with the post-dictator
administration of Corazon Aquino. He again went underground when the
peace talks collapsed after the massacre of farmers in Mendiola on Jan.
Ocampo was again
arrested on July 27, 1989 and placed under military detention for the
next three years. He was subjected to trial for murder, kidnapping and
illegal possession of firearms but was freed on recognizance without
being found guilty of the said charges. He was released on Sept. 1,
It has been thirty
years since his father’s first arrest but Anto thinks that there are
parallels to the situation now to the days of martial law. Anto said
“these are shades of martial law, nangyari na ito dati.”(This
kilala nila ang tatay ko,
he’s one of the most peaceful people I know,” (If they knew my father)
Anto said of his father.
find it preposterous. He’s not capable of doing that,” he added,
referring to the military’s charge that his father ordered the killing
of at least 15 individuals sometime in 1984.
“Ang habol lang nya ay to help people and promote peace,”
(His only concern is to
help people and promote peace) the young Ocampo said. Bulatlat
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