DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Counter-charges will be filed against police officers for the arrests of seven activists and one bystander during their protest on the Anti-Terror Bill along the University of Cebu campus last June 5.
This was revealed by the lawyers led by the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL) Cebu and its collaborating lawyers. Details of the specific charges will be disclosed later as lawyers are working on the counter-affidavits of the eight persons now dubbed as “Cebu 8”.
Arrested were Jaime Paglinawan of BAYAN Central Visayas, Joahanna Veloso of National Union of Students of the Philippines and Sangguniang Kabataan, UP Diliman alumnus Al Ingking, Bern Cañedo of YANAT Cebu and UP Cebu University Student Council, Dyan Gumanao of Kabataan Partylist, Nar Porlas of Anakbayan Cebu, Janry Ubal of Food Not Bombs Cebu, and Clement Corominas, a bystander who took a video of the arrests of the protesters.
In their official statement, the administration of UP Cebu strongly condemned the violent dispersal of the protest done by police officers, as well as their “forceful trespassing” in their premises, which violated the UP-DND accord.
Police slapped the protesters with violations of Section 13 of the Public Assembly Act of 1985 (B.P. 880); Section 9 (e) of the Law on Reporting of Communicable Diseases (R.A. No. 11332), and simple resistance and disobedience to an agent of a person in authority under Article 151 paragraph 2 of the Revised Penal Code, cases that fall under the Rule on Summary Procedure.
But the public’s support for the Cebu 8 swelled as financial contributions for their bail that swelled up to 1 million pesos. The local court eventually released them without bail.
Meanwhile, the group is looking at a case of harassment against the family of one of the Cebu 8 protesters, Al Ingking.
The Youth Act Now Against Tyranny Cebu reported a video of two unidentified men who visited Ingking’s residence on June 8, asking family members of Ingking’s whereabouts and affiliations. A video showed one of the men warning that Ingking’s activism may lead him “to come home in a coffin”.
But the Youth Act Now Against Tyranny-Cebu said Ingking is not affiliated with progressive organizations, but is vocal against the railroading of the Anti-Terrorism Bill in Congress.
The group also welcomed the initiative of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) Central Visayas in investigating the incident.
In a separate statement, CHR spokesperson Atty Jacqueline Ann De Guia reiterated their “stern reminder that the health crisis does not halt fundamental rights including freedom of peaceful assembly and activism.”
“We equally express concern on the unnecessary show of force considering the alleged manner of handling of the peaceful protesters by security forces in full battle gear and heavy firearms,” De Guia said. “While enforcing the law is the mandate of the police, standing agreements should be observed so appropriate and proportionate measures are applied in coordination with the university administrators.” (davaotoday.com)