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Protest poet held over MRT graffiti

/ 02:20 AM August 25, 2016

It was a burst of angry “verse” venting the frustrations of many and landing its alleged author in police custody.

An activist was arrested Tuesday night for allegedly writing “MRT Bulok (rotten)” on the door of a Metro Rail Transit (MRT) train.

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The Quezon City Police District said Angelo Suarez was turned over to its Kamuning station by MRT security guards after he was caught writing graffiti on a northbound train around 9:30 p.m.

One of the guards, Roseilyn Gambrajo, said that after she called Suarez’s attention to what he did, she saw him throwing away the marker he used on the footbridge of Quezon Avenue station where he disembarked. Gambrajo was able to retrieve the pen and submitted it to the police for evidence.

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Later in a TV interview, the detained Suarez denied the allegation and cried harassment, saying the scribbling was already there when he boarded the train.

Suarez is a Palanca award-winning poet and convener of Train Riders Network(TRN), a group protesting train fare increases and the privatization of mass transport systems.

In a statement in support of Suarez on Wednesday, Bayan Secretary General Renato Reyes Jr. said the TRN leader had undergone inquest proceedings in the Quezon City prosecutor’s office for vandalism.

Suarez was supposed to be freed around 2 p.m. “because the MRT3 complainants did not have proper authorization to file a complaint,” Reyes noted, but he was “brought back” to the police station after it turned out that the release order still needed approval from the inquest prosecutor.

The QCPD said the Department of Transportation representative Bryan Factuar was not able to attach a board resolution authorizing him to file a  case over the incident.

“(But) we have learned that MRT3 still wants to pursue the case and is attempting to cure their defective complaint despite our repeated objections,” said Reyes, who condemned Suarez as an “overkill.”

Suarez remained in detention as of Wednesday night.  With a report from Jovic Yee

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