PNP can’t just arrest people protesting peacefully, activist group says | Inquirer News
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PNP can’t just arrest people protesting peacefully, activist group says

/ 03:00 PM May 24, 2022
bayan's Renato Reyes activist  pnp arrest police peacefully

Bayan Secretary-General Renato Reyes. INQUIRER.net file photo / NOY MORCOSO

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine National Police (PNP) cannot just arrest people staging peaceful protests, an activist group claimed on Tuesday amid warnings from a high-ranking police officer.

In a statement, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) said that Batas Pambansa Blg. 880 ensures that people can peacefully assemble to air their grievances about the government.

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According to Bayan secretary general Renato Reyes, the PNP might be resorting to “scare tactics” just to prevent people from exercising their rights.

“The PNP cannot arrest protesters engaged in peaceful protests even without any permit. BP 880 does not allow for the arrests of peaceful protesters. The PNP is using scare tactics to prevent people from exercising their rights,” Reyes said.

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“They appear to be ignorant of the law they claim to implement. Policemen arresting peaceful protesters will face charges before the Ombudsman for violating BP880,” he added.

Reyes and Bayan did not name who they were referring to but PNP director for operations Maj. Gen. Valeriano de Leon on Monday warned that people staging protests during the Congressional canvassing of presidential and vice-presidential votes may be arrested if the peace and order of the event is affected.

He however said that any peaceful assembly would be allowed especially if it is done in freedom parks, reminding protesters to secure permits from local governments first.

READ: Vote canvass to proceed ‘nonstop’

On Monday also, during a press briefing, PNP officer-in-charge Lt. Gen. Vicente Danao Jr. said that those planning to stage programs and rallies while Congress is canvassing the votes should do it in the proper forum.

Danao said that while his constant reminder for police officers is to exercise maximum tolerance, he is also appealing to possible rally attendees to be calm and refrain from forcing programs into restricted areas.

He also said that at least a police company has been assigned to guard the area even before the elections started.

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As of now, a huge section of the Interim Batasang Pambansa road — which links Commonwealth Avenue to the House of Representatives complex — is closed to the public.

READ: Planning a rally during Congress canvassing? Do it in the proper place, says PNP

While no official movements have been made public by various opposition factions, there were groups that have staged protests already after the Commission on Elections (Comelec) partial and unofficial tally showed former senator Bongbong Marcos and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio — running mates in the last polls — leading the presidential and vice-presidential race.

Results from Comelec’s transparency server as of May 11 showed Marcos getting over 31.09 million votes, a far cry from closest rival Vice President Leni Robredo’s 14.81 million votes.  Duterte-Carpio also leads Robredo running mate Senator Francis Pangilinan, 31.55 million to 9.230 million.

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Partial, unofficial tally: Marcos has 30M votes, Robredo 14M  

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TAGS:  PNP, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, Batasan complex, Bayan, canvassing, Comelec, Commission on Elections, Congressional canvassing, House of Representatives, Lt. Gen. Vicente Danao Jr., Maj. Gen. Valeriano de Leon, Phil‎ippine National Police, Philippine news updates, Renato Reyes
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