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THE Department of Justice (DOJ) disclosed on Wednesday that an e-warrant of arrest would be issued against the controversial Dra. Maria Natividad Castro for alleged kidnapping and serious illegal detention.

This came three months after Regional Trial Court of Bayugan City, Agusan del Sur Branch 7, through its Presiding Judge Fernando Fudalan Jr., dismissed the case against  Castro on the grounds of denial of her right to due process and lack of jurisdiction over the accused.

The complaint was filed by Rachelle, wife of victim Bernabe Salahay, against Manuel Anob Masayod and several others, including Castro, or alias “Dr. Naty,” an alleged active member, recruiter, trainer and fund raiser for communist rebels.

In a news statement, the Department of Justice-National Prosecution Service (DOJ-NPS) said Judge Fudalan’s order to dismiss the complaint was reversed last June 16, 2022  by Bayugan City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Executive Judge Ferdinand Villanueva upon the motion of the prosecution.

On the same day, Judge Villanueva directed the issuance of an e-warrant arrest against Castro.

Judge Villanueva ruled that contrary to Judge Fudalan’s findings, there was no denial of due process on the part of Dr. Castro as a preliminary investigation was conducted by the prosecution and that the court has acquired jurisdiction over the accused as she was arrested by virtue of the warrant of arrest.

He noted that even if Dr. Castro was not served with the summon to file her counter-affidavit, this cannot be considered as violation of her right to due process.

“The complainant-victim Salahay in his affidavit and supplemental affidavit alleged that Dra. Natividad Castro is a member of the NPA. The prosecution likewise argued that she could not be served with the summon,” Judge Villanueva’s order read.

“If the accused/respondent cannot be summoned, it does not mean that preliminary investigation will be held in abeyance. The rule is clear that the prosecution will be resolve the complaint on the basis of the evidence presented,” it added.

Judge Villanueva also said the allegation of the accused that her name  was only inserted as respondents and that there was no preliminary investigation conducted  has no basis.

“There was a preliminary investigation and from the very beginning Dra. Natividad was included,” it added.  Based on court records, the executive judge said Dr. Castro was not yet arraigned, thus, there is no double jeopardy.

The case stemmed from the complaint filed by Rachelle on January 14, 2019, for kidnapping and serious illegal detention before the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor of Agusan del Sur.

On February 18, 2019, Dr. Castro was arrested at her home in San Juan by virtue of a warrant of arrest and flown to Agusan del Sur. 

Dra. Castro filed a motion to dismiss the complaint, which was granted by Judge Fudalan in an order issued last March 25.