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Senator seeks probe into warrantless arrest of film director Jade Castro

MANILA, Philippines — A senator has called for a probe into the warrantless arrest of film director Jade Castro and his three companions, saying that the police’s decision to disregard CCTV evidence in pursuing their arson charges against them is “alarming.”

Sen. Risa Hontiveros filed Senate Resolution 928 on Tuesday, which calls on the Senate panel on public order and dangerous drugs to investigate the police operation that led to the arrest of Castro and his group on February 1.

“Kahit kailan, sa anumang panahon, mali ang 'aresto now, paliwanag later,' tulad ng sinapit ni Direk Jade Castro at ng tatlo niyang kasamahan sa bayan ng Catanauan, Quezon,” Hontiveros said.

(At any time, it is wrong to "arrest now, explain later," which was what happened to Director Jade Castro and his three companions in the town of Catanauan, Quezon.)

Castro and his companions are accused of setting aflame a modernized jeepney in Barangay Dahican, Catanuan, Quezon on January 31. They have denied these charges and said that they were in the town of Mulanay when the burning incident happened — a claim supported by a local official who attested to speaking to the group when the alleged arson happened.

Lawyer group Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG), which is chaired by lawyer Chel Diokno, previously flagged the police's actions against the group, saying that there was no basis to arrest them without a warrant and that there were "defects in the inquest process."

The group is currently detained at the Catanauan Municipal Police Station.

In filing her resolution, Hontiveros said there was a need to examine whether the actions of the Calabarzon police were in line with the right protocols and operational guidelines that are there to ensure people's right to due process.  

“Mismong mga LGU officials ng Mulanay, Quezon ang nagsabi na nasa kabilang bayan noon sila Direk Jade, at may CCTV na nagpapatunay diyan. Pero iginigiit ng PNP na hindi daw pwedeng pagkatiwalaan ang CCTV ng lokal na pamahalaan,” Hontiveros said.

“Hindi lang nakaka-alarma ang pahayag na yan mula sa mga tagapagpatupad ng batas, nakakabawas rin ito ng tiwala ng publiko,” Hontiveros added.

(The LGU officials of Mulanay,