San Roque protesters ordered freed after 5 days in detention
MANILA, Philippines — The release of 21 residents of Sitio San Roque in Quezon City who were arrested after protesting a lack of government support was ordered on Monday following five nights in detention.
The order issued by Branch 132 of the Quezon City Metropolitan Trial Court capped a tension-filled day as lawyers for the 21 rushed to produce the numerous documents needed for them to post bail, including barangay clearance, certificates of residency and nine copies of their photos.
Just minutes before the courts at the Quezon City Hall of Justice were scheduled to close at 2 p.m., their counsel was asked to submit a new set of photos because the initial batch had not been printed on photo paper.
The processing of their clearance from the barangay had also been stalled as some of the 21 lost their IDs when their protest was forcibly dispersed on Wednesday.
Each detainee was charged a P15,000 bail after being slapped with charges of violating the public assembly law, noncooperation under Republic Act No. 11332, disobedience of a lawful order, spreading of false information and impeding access to roads.
The protesters—who had lamented massive hunger in their community of 5,000 during the enforcement of the enhanced community quarantine—were aided by personalities like the family of Sen. Francis Pangilinan, actresses Jodi Sta. Maria and Ria Atayde and actor Enchong Dee in the payment of legal fees.
The 16 males and five females were all placed in one detention cell—a social distancing nightmare—even after two policemen at Camp Karingal, the Quezon City Police District headquarters, tested positive for the new coronavirus disease, according to Save San Roque.
“All 21 detainees depend on daily wages and ever since the beginning of the enhanced community quarantine, none of them have had work nor have received any wages,” it added. INQ
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