DAVAO CITY – A partylist representative said Monday that even the statements of Department of Justice Secretary Leila De Lima last Sunday that protesters may be charged with sedition or rebellion, will not stop the protests calling for President Aquino’s resignation.

“The people have every right to air their grievances against a government that refuses to take responsibility for its crimes ranging from the deaths of elite police forces and civilians, the bungling of the Mindanao peace process and to allowing foreign troops to operate in Philippine territory,” said Gabriela Women’s Partylist Rep. Luz Ilagan.

“The people’s sovereign will and the right to protest is guaranteed by the very Constitution that is the product of people power protests that placed President Corazon Aquino in power,” Ilagan said.

On Sunday, De Lima issued a statement saying that the National Transformation Council, a multi-sectoral group may be charged with sedition, rebellion or coup d’etat for “instigating” a military-backed people power uprising.

“The NTC has carefully formulated this strategy in the false hope of propagating it legally in the mass media and among supporters without, however, accruing any criminal liability under the penal laws on rebellion, sedition and coup d’etat. This is a false hope, since certain actions already implemented by the group, from organizing fora and conferences of supporters and sympathizers, can already be contemplated as conspiracies relating to sedition, rebellion or coup d’etat,” de Lima said.

Ilagan said De Lima’s statements do not support the people’s demand for accountability.

“It is a desperate attempt to silence the people,” she said.

“The protests will continue and the calls for President Aquino to resign will snowball. The shameless cover-ups in legislative hearings and the Aquino administration’s maneuvers to shield itself from accountability all serve to bring disgruntled Filipinos across the political spectrum together,” Ilagan said.

In Davao City, various groups formed a local network to join the nationally coordinated “human chain” and march to Rizal Park on February 25.

DCPO prepared

The Davao City Police Office is prepared for the February 25 commemoration of the Edsa People Power anniversary in the city.

Senior Inspector Milgrace Driz, DCPO spokesperson, said that they will augment the police forces of San Pedro Police Station for securing “area security” on Wednesday.

“We will provide securities during the activities especially with the programs set on Rizal Park,” Driz told Davao Today in a phone interview Monday.

“The augmentation will come from our CPSC or the City Public Safety Company,” she said.

Driz said they are appealing to the protesters to carry-out their programs “peacefully”.

“It is their right to hold assemblies and rallies. If they have a permit, we will just provide area security,” Driz said.

Driz also said that the DCPO is not joining any calls for a coup d’ etat.

“We will abide by the rule of law and the Constitution, so whoever is in our leadership, we will follow him,” Driz said. (davaotoday.com)

Read related story: Davao groups form network to demand Aquino’s accountability

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