Regional Trial Court orders rearrest of Dr. Naty
by The News Team
The Bayugan, Agusan del Sur Regional Trial Court (RTC) has ordered the rearrest of Dr. Natividad “Naty” Castro months after she was dismissed on charges of kidnapping and serious illegal detention, the Department of Justice (DOJ) said last June 22, 2022.
In an order released last June 16, Executive Judge Ferdinand Villanueva of the Bayugan City RTC Branch 7 has granted the appeal of the prosecution to reverse the decision of Acting Presiding Judge Fernando Fundalan Jr. of RTC Branch 7 of dismissing the case of Castro on the grounds that there was a denial of her right to due process and a lack of jurisdiction over her.
According to the order from Villanueva, the judge stressed that there was no denial of due process because a preliminary investigation was conducted and that the court had acquired jurisdiction over Castro as she was arrested by virtue of a warrant of arrest.
The DOJ said that by the court order dated June 16, 2022, an e-warrant of arrest will be issued against Castro.
The dismissed case against Castro was filed by Rachelle, the wife of victim Bernabe Salahay, Manuel Anob Masayod, and several others who are against Castro who was an alleged active member, recruiter, trainer, and fundraiser of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front. (CPP-NPA-NDF).
The court later found that the constitutional right to due process of Castro was violated after she was not given a copy of the complaint affidavit and its attachments during the preliminary investigation.
According to Fudalan, the issuance of a subpoena directing the respondent to submit evidence was the most important aspect of the preliminary investigation that safeguards the right to due process. However, Villanueva pointed out that a subpoena was issued to Castro based on records attached to the information.
“In the order dated March 12, 2019 signed by Investigating Prosecutor Geneses Efren, a subpoena was sent to the respondents, including Dra. Maria Natividad to file their counter affidavit,” the order reads.
Moreover, the order claimed that it found a probable cause to once again issue a warrant of arrest upon review of the evidence on record.
Last January 14, 2019, Rachelle filed a complaint against Castro for kidnapping and serious illegal detention before the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor of Agusan del Sur.
Later on February 18, Castro was taken into custody by police and military intelligence operatives in San Juan City due to a warrant of arrest issued by the RTC Branch 7. Castro was also being linked to communist rebels.
Due to the dismissal of charges by Fudalan, Castro was officially released on March 30, 2022.