Group, artist respond to criminal raps filed over burning of Marcos’ effigy
MANILA, Philippines — Activist group Bayan president Renato Reyes Jr. and artist Max Santiago have filed their counter-affidavits on Friday in response to cases filed by Quezon City Police District (QCPD).
In August, QCPD charged Reyes and Santiago because of their demonstration involving the burning of an effigy of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.
This was during the President’s delivery of his second State of the Nation Address (SONA) in July.
According to the police, Reyes and Santiago violated Public Assembly Act of 1985.
This law prohibited “the malicious burning of any object in the streets or thoroughfares.”
“This greatly contributed to air pollution which grossly contradicts the government program in ensuring the protection of public health and the environment,” the charge of QCPD had stated.
“A clean and healthy environment is for the good of all and should, therefore, be the concern of all,” it had added.
In a statement on Friday, Bayan said the burning of the effigy is part of people’s right to freedom of speech.
“We assert that the protest action during SONA, including the burning of the effigy, is part of protected free speech and should not be criminalized,” the group said.
Bayan will bring the case to United Nations Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Opinion and Expression.