De Lima calls for a thorough investigation on child rights activist’s questionable arrest


Share on facebook
Share on twitter

Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima called for an immediate and serious investigation on the arrest of anti-child trafficking activist Maria Salome “Sally” Crisostomo-Ujano by local police units on the basis of a 15-year-old warrant of arrest last Nov. 14.

De Lima, a social justice and human rights champion, called on authorities to observe due process, respect Crisostomo-Ujano’s rights and thoroughly investigate what truly happened in the said case.

“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,” she said in her Dispatch from Crame No. 1177.

“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,” she added.

Based on media reports, Crisostomo-Ujano was arrested in Barangay Mabolo in Malolos City, Bulacan through a warrant of arrest issued by Judge Virgilio Alpajora of Regional Trial Court Branch 59 in Lucena City for the crime of rebellion.

The warrant, dated June 28, 2006, was reportedly issued almost 15 years ago, with the case stemming from the alleged involvement of Ujano in the ambush of two military personnel in Quezon Province in 2005.

Philippines Against Child Trafficking (PACT) decried said arrest, calling the rebellion charges “trumped up” and “ridiculous.”

Moreover, De Lima said that the allegation of PNP Central Luzon that Crisostomo-Ujano is “a Top Most Wanted Person in the province of Bulacan” only highlighted the gaping holes in the capability for investigation, tracking and coordination of the country’s law enforcement authorities than the latter’s alleged intention to evade justice.

“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?” she asked.

“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,” she added.

As such, the lady Senator from Bicol said the public should not allow the arrest of Crisostomo-Ujano to go uninvestigated.

“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,” she said.

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?” she concluded.

Ultimately, De Lima said the imperfections in the police force in particular, and the criminal justice system in general are the main reasons why she both firmly and consistently opposes the death penalty, and vehemently speaks against extrajudicial killings. (30)

Office of Senator Leila de Lima
Rm. 502 & 16 (New Wing 5/F) GSIS Bldg., Financial Center, Diokno Blvd., Pasay City

Trunk Lines:
(632) 552-6601 to 70 local no. 5750

Direct Lines:
807-8489 / (Rm. 16) 807-8580 /local 8619

© 2019 Office of Sen. Leila de Lima. All rights reserved.