UP student, labor leader post bail on assault raps; groups slam arrest
MANILA, Philippines – University of the Philippines student activist Kara Taggaoa and labor leader Larry Valbuena posted bail on Tuesday after being arrested by police authorities in Quezon City for charges of direct assault.
According to a media advisory from the Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) Campaign Office, which Taggaoa is an officer of, both are temporarily free.
“While they enjoy temporary freedom, the activists and their organizations call for the dropping of all trumped-up charges against them,” said the KMU.
Taggaoa and Valbuena were arrested on Monday, right after attending an arraignment hearing at the Quezon City Hall of Justice for a different case, where they face robbery charges.
READ: Groups denounce arrest warrants for UP student and labor leader
According to the KMU, the pair could not post bail for the assault charges and had to spend Monday night in Camp Karingal at the Quezon City Police District Headquarters.
“Pangalawang gawa-gawang kaso na ito na isinampa laban kina Kara at Larry ngunit wala pa ring abiso, preliminary investigation, at walang dinaanang due process,” said KMU in an earlier Facebook post.
(This is the second made-up case filed against Kara and Larry, but there is no advisory, no preliminary investigation, and no due process.)
According to a post from KMU, the pair’s bail funds for both charges have amounted to P136,000.
Calls for their release
Taggaoa and Valbuena’s arrest received widespread condemnation from different progressive groups.
“We vehemently condemn the arrest of KMU International Officer Kara Taggaoa and [Pasiklab Operators and Drivers Association] President Larry Valbuena,” Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Rep. France Castro said.
“The charges against them are trumped-up and are an attempt to silence the opposition and criminalize leaders of organizations who have been very vocal in opposing anti-people policies of the past and present administrations,” Castro added.
The Kabataan partylist (KPL) echoed the same sentiment, condemning the arrest and calling upon the Commission on Human Rights to investigate Taggaoa and Valbuena’s cases.
“Nanawagan ang mga kabataan sa Commission on Human Rights at sa mga korte na kaagad mag-imbestiga at tuluyang ibasura ang mga iligal at gawa-gawang kasong sinampa ng mga otoridad,” said the KPL in a Facebook post.
(The youth is calling upon the Commission on Human Rights and the courts to immediately investigate and to dispose of these illegal, trumped-up cases filed by authorities)
Women’s group Gabriela Partylist also slammed the arrests, saying that authorities likely knew that their first set of robbery charges would not stand in court,
“This is an act of cowardice coming from the state armed forces. Alam kasi ng kapulisan na mababasura rin ang gawa-gawang kasong isinampa nila kina Kara at Ka Larry kaya tinambangan na nila agad kahit walang warrant of arrest,” Gabriela Partylist Rep. Arlene Brosas said.
(This is an act of cowardice coming from the state armed forces. The police knew that their trumped-up charges filed against Kara and Ka Larry would get be junked so they added new changes even without an arrest warrant.)
The International League of Peoples’ Struggle Philippines (ILPS Philippines), Nagkaisa, Karapatan, the BPO Industry Employees’ Network, Center for Women’s Resources, and more have also condemned the arrests and called for the release of Taggaoa and Valbuena.
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