7 QC cops sue Sona protesters over ‘unruly’ behavior
MANILA, Philippines–The brouhaha over President Aquino’s State of the Nation Address (Sona) is far from over as far as the police and several protesters are concerned.
On Friday evening, seven personnel of the Quezon City Police District (QCPD) filed complaints of violating the Public Assembly Act and malicious mischief, direct assault and physical injuries against 30 people who took part in the anti-Sona rallies on Commonwealth Avenue on July 28.
The respondents were mostly leaders of militant and civic-minded groups, even people advocating reforms like comedienne and political activist Mae Paner alias Juana Change. Also charged were former party-list Representatives Satur Ocampo and Teddy Casiño and incumbent Representatives Neri Colmenares and Terry Ridon, among others.
The policemen lodged the cases in the Quezon City Prosecutor’s Office hours after militant groups led by the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) coalition filed in the Commission of Human Rights (CHR) and Office of the Ombudsman filed complaints of human rights violations against the police for blocking and dispersing their ranks.
Noting the timing of the filing of the cases, Bayan secretary general Renato Reyes criticized the QCPD for its “reactionary complaint.”
“This is just [in] retaliation [for] the charges we filed with the CHR and Ombudsman and are bereft of any legal basis. We followed the law [during the Sona protest],” Reyes said in an interview on Sunday.
The groups have yet to receive a copy of the complaints against them, but Reyes said they would face the police accusations squarely.
“It’s a shotgun prosecution. It’ll lead nowhere,” he added.
In a report filed in the QCPD on Friday evening, six members of the district Intelligence division and one from the Criminal Investigation and Detection Unit accused Reyes and 29 others of not having a rally permit and being “unruly” during the Sona protests, particularly during the burning of an effigy of Aquino.
“They threw bottles of mineral water, placards, wood and stones at the [police] contingent,” leaving one of the complainants injured and destroying the concrete barriers, steel fence and the barb wire placed by the Quezon City government,” the policemen said.
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