BY DENNIS ESPADA
The police has filed criminal charges against President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s “heckler,” Cavite State University (CvSU) graduate Maria Teresa Pangilinan, even as Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez shelved his plan to sue her and called to lay to rest the issue.
Imus, Cavite (23 kms. south of Manila) – The police has filed criminal charges against President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s “heckler,” Cavite State University (CvSU) graduate Maria Teresa Pangilinan even as Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez had shelved his plan to sue her and called to lay to rest the issue. This, said Pangilinan, is hypocrisy and an act of vengeance..
Pangilinan along with Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan or New Patriotic Alliance)-Cavite secretary-general Sheryl Villegas, Solidarity of Cavite Workers (SCW) president Marlyn Gonzales and fellow graduate Apolinar Dayandayan Jr. were accused of committing public disorder under Article 154 of the Revised Penal Code.
It was in connection with the anti-Arroyo lightning protest actions held at the CvSU campus in Indang town while the president was giving a commencement speech last April.
A few minutes before noon on May 23, the four appeared at the Provincial Prosecutor’s Office here where they filed their counter-affidavit before Asst. Prosecutor Rosa Elmina Catacutan-Villarin. They were accompanied by lawyers Evelyn Dominguez, Walter Go and some youth supporters.
“This is for you”
In his counter-affidavit, Dayandayan charged the police officers of illegal search and arrest when he was accosted while in line waiting for his turn to receive his diploma from Arroyo. That was on April 21 between 5:00-5:30 p.m. or more than an hour after the last chanting of protesters, he said.
Later, the police brought him to the station for questioning. “There, I was told by one of the police officers, ‘Sa iyo na lang ito (Take this),’ referring to the red flag,” he stated. “They then took my toga, cap and other belongings and placed them in a cabinet together with the red flag.”
Two pieces of paper that bear the words: “No to Charter Change! Oust GMA! Never Again to Martial Law!” and a note that read: “Apol, please respect other graduates. Don’t spoil our preparation. This is not the right venue. Good luck. Sir Milo” were found on Dayandayan’s body but these, he contends, do not prove anything.
Bulatlat also learned that the only evidence submitted against Pangilinan, Villegas and Gonzales is the joint sworn statement by PO2 Russell Sierra, PO2 Sherwin Chavez and PO1 Houdini Cuevas.
It said that while assigned at the CvSU entrance gate about 4:45 p.m., they were informed by PNP-Indang Chief PS/Insp. Mamerto Osea Malubay that a “disturbance” was happening in the stadium where Arroyo was speaking.
“Protesting now a crime”
The accused argued that the complainants’ statement showed they never saw them committing any crime.
“They acted only based on the report given to them, which is nothing more but hearsay. It is not even clear on the report to them what specific actions were being done that could be interpreted as ‘disturbance’ on public order,” their counter-affidavit read, as they asked the investigating public prosecutor to entirely dismiss the case.
“Wala talagang pagsisisi sa parte naming lahat at uulit-ulitin naming ‘Oust GMA’ pa rin (On our part, none of us are sorry and we will still reiterate our ‘Oust GMA’ call),” Pangilinan told reporters.
“Ang magprotesta ay itinuturing nang isang krimen (Protesting is now a crime),” she added, “pero ang taong nandaya sa halalan, nangurakot ng kaban ng bayan, kumitil ng maraming buhay at dahilan ng kawalan ng tirahan, edukasyon at kabuhayan ay naroon sa Malakanyang at patuloy na nagpapasasa sa kapangyarihang ninakaw din sa taumbayan at pinoprotektahan pa ng mga ahensyang dapat na nangangalaga sa katotohanan at hustisya (but the person who cheated, stole the people’s money, snuffed out many lives and caused the loss of homes, education and livelihood is still in Malacañang and continuously enjoying power stolen from the people and protected by agencies that are supposed to safeguard truth and justice).” (Bulatlat.com)