Militant leaders decry ‘police intimidation’ ahead of Apec
Leftist groups assailed the timing of the Philippine National Police’s press release on the filing of criminal charges against eight militant leaders for allegedly harassing two cops during protest actions in President Benigno Aquino III’s last State of the Nation Address (Sona) last July.
They said the PNP’s move was an attempt to intimidate protesters who plan to hold rallies during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) next week.
In a media release on Thursday, the PNP said preliminary investigation is underway at the Quezon City Prosecutor’s Office to determine probable cause against the leaders of left-wing groups after two police officers accused them of serious illegal detention and robbery during the Sona protest actions last July 27.
Those charged were Bagong Alyansang Makabayan secretary-general Renato Reyes and Bayan members Hermie Marasigan, Perla Ipon and Mark Adrian Ng, Anakbayan chair Vencer Crisostomo, Gabriela secretary general Arjie Manalo, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas secretary general Antonio Flores, and Ferdinand Gaite of Courage.
Chief Inspector Antonio Ananayo Jr. and Police Officer 1 Reden Malagonio, both of the Regional Public Safety Battalion (RPSB) of the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO), accused the militants of detaining, mauling and robbing them of their belongings at the height of the day-long Sona rallies.
Ananayo and Magalonio filed charges of serious illegal detention, assault upon an agent of person in authority, robbery, and violation of Batas Pambansa 880 (Public Assembly Act of 1985) against the eight individuals.
“As a result of the beating, Ananayo sustained life-threatening severe internal head injuries that required surgery to remove blood clots that developed in his brain. Both Ananayo and Malagonio also suffered multiple bruises, and abrasions in different parts of the body,” the PNP said.
The protesters admitted to holding the cops in a jeepney and taking away their cellphones after they suspected the officers of infiltrating militant groups to spy on them.
Few days after Sona, the militants returned Ananayo and Magalonio’s personal belongings as well as the shields and truncheons they took from anti-riot cops.
Timed for Apec?
In separate statements, Reyes and Crisostomo questioned the timing of the press release when the charges have been filed several months ago.
“We have already responded to the case. We have filed our counteraffidavits already but in the release, it appears the case was just filed recently. That they chose to issue a press release now is also timed for the Apec as they hope to intimidate protest leaders,” Reyes told INQUIRER.net.
Meanwhile, Crisostomo said in a statement: “Received information today that the PNP-PIO issued a press release hyping the filing of trumped up cases [filed] against activist leaders for Sona rally. Excellent timing. Are they planning to arrest activist leaders to sabotage Apec protests?”
“We condemn the harassment done by the Aquino gov’t as part of the attempts to sabotage mass protests set next week against Apec and imperialist globalization. The cases are fabricated and clearly without basis,” he said.
Unfazed by the attack on people’s rights, Crisosotomo said they will continue holding their nationwide campus walkout to protest tuition hikes and Aquino’s “imeldific, slavish, treasonous” hosting for Apec delegates that cost the government P10 billion.
“Why are we welcoming these bullies like the US and China who are killing our people and invading our nation with a red carpet? Big, powerful nations have been using the Apec to abuse and exploit the small nations like the Philippines,” he said.
“Apec’s push for further “globalization” will further worsen the poverty, economic backwardness of the nation and the attacks on our sovereignty. It has meant low wages, high prices and tuition rates, privatization of public services and the abuse of our environment and resources. The push to adopt the US Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement as a regional integration framework will mean further exploitation of poor nations in the region,” Cristosotomo added.
The militant leader also called on the youth and people to welcome the Apec with protests.
“We cannot be silent while the government is selling out our sovereignty and our people to big bullies. Let’s go out and march,” he said.
Earlier, PNP chief Director General Ricardo Marquez said protesters will not be allowed to go near the venues of Apec meetings. They will only be allowed to hold rallies in freedom parks and school campuses.
The Department of Interior and Local Government also reiterated that the no permit, no rally policy will be strictly enforced during Apec week. IDL
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