“We condemn in strongest possible terms the high-handed manner by which the Philippine National Police tramples the sovereign people’s rights to assembly, our right to protest, and our right to seek redress of grievances.”
By ANNE MARXZE D. UMIL
MANILA – A priest, a lawyer, members of the community media and activists were arrested in Iloilo City this morning, May 1.
Progressive groups led by Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan)-Panay were holding an indignation caravan to demand justice for slain Bayan Muna Party-list Iloilo City coordinator Jose Reynaldo “Jory” Porquia when they were barred by at least 50 policemen.
Elmer Foro, secretary general of Bayan-Panay, said they negotiated with the police to allow them to lay wreath and light candles where Porquia was killed. When the police denied their plea, they decided to voluntarily disperse.
As they were about to leave the premises of Jaro Plaza, the police blocked them and were told that they were under arrest.
“We condemn in strongest possible terms the high-handed manner by which the Philippine National Police tramples the sovereign people’s rights to assembly, our right to protest, and our right to seek redress of grievances,” said Foro in a statement.
He added that these are people’s inalienable rights enshrined in the 1987 Constitution and Bill of Rights.
Among the arrested are Fr. Marco Sulayao of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente (IFI), Diocese of Iloilo and National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers-Iloilo Atty. Angelo Karlo Guillen.
Seven of the 42 arrested are journalists covering the protest caravan. They are Panaysayon staff Mc Mae Sulayao, Kervin Bingansinco, Krisma Nina Porquia and Gaybel Rei Gullen; Julrod Prino of Panay Today; Crimson Labinghisa and Bryan Bosque of Dampig Katarungan.
Panaysayon, is a video production group established in 2017. Dampig Katarungan on the other hand is a radio program in Aksyon Radyo Iloilo while established in 2010 and Panay Today is a digital print established in 2015.
Krisma is the daughter of Porquia.
They are currently detained at the Jaro Police Station and were charged with violation of Batas Pambansa 880, disobedience to persons in authority, violation of the Republic Act 11332 or the Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act, and a local ordinance.
In a statement, the NUPL condemened the series of arrests today.
“The directive and orientation of the police-military leadership is clear: no mercy, no quarters given and no local civilian official can stand in the way (especially if it involves the Left) because we call the shots. That’s San Roque, Norzaragay, barangay Central, Marikina and other,” said NUPL President Edre Olalia. (With reports from John Ian Alenciaga/Panay Today)