Bayan hits subpoena over Sona rally
MANILA, Philippines — The Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) on Friday maintained that it was able to secure a permit for the State of the Nation Address (Sona) of President Marcos last July after members of their Southern Tagalog chapter received a subpoena.
Bayan Secretary General Mong Palatino forwarded on Friday a statement from Bayan Southern Tagalog, where the chapter stated that it will respond to the subpoena issued by the Office of the City Prosecutor in Quezon City.
“This is the second complaint filed by QC police in connection to the Sona protest. We will submit (an) affidavit, but we condemn this persistent harassment of the police against activists,” Bayan Southern Tagalog said.
“Again, we challenge the new leadership of QCPD (Quezon City Police District) to uphold freedom of expression by withdrawing the complaints they filed against activists. The complaints pose serious threat to free speech since they could set a dangerous precedent,” it added.
According to the investigation data form submitted by QCPD to the Office of the City Prosecutor, 14 Bayan members violated Section 13 of Batas Pambansa Bilang 880, or the law that discusses peaceful assembly in the country.
Section 13 of the said law states that “holding of any public assembly as defined in this Act by any leader or organizer without having first secured that written permit where a permit is required from the office concerned” is prohibited.
The case was filed last August 22.
However, Bayan maintains that staging peaceful assemblies and participating in it is not a crime, as it is a constitutionally-protected act.
“The Sona protest has a permit from the LGU. And even if no permit was issued, we assert that it’s not a crime to hold a street protest since freedom of expression is a constitutionally-guaranteed right,” the group said.