Lawmakers call for dismissal of 'trumped-up' charges vs. 'Talaingod 18'

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 12) — Some lawmakers are calling for the dismissal of "trumped-up" cases filed against the so-called "Talaingod 18."

Forty-six representatives on Wednesday filed House Resolution 2367 supporting their colleague, ACT Teachers Party-list Rep. France Castro, and urging the miltary and police to drop charges they filed against her, former Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo, and 16 others for allegedly illegally transporting 14 minors.

The police arrested the group at a checkpoint in Talaingod, Davao del Norte on November 28. They had just come from a humanitarian event called National Solidarity Mission.

Authorities said they violated Republic Act 9208 or the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003 and Republic Act 7610 or the Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act.

They were detained at the Talaingod police station, but were released after posting bail on December 2. The 14 minors, meanwhile, were sent to the custody of the Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office.

READ: Duterte: Police did right thing by arresting Satur Ocampo

In the resolution, the lawmakers said the charges were "obviously false," saying Castro's participation in the humanitarian mission was part of her duties as a House member.

"Fulfilling the duties of a member of the House of Representatives should not be rewarded with trumped-up cases," the resolution reads.

The resolution was led by Castro's colleagues in the left-leaning Makabayan bloc.