Without ‘sufficient grounds’ for their arrest, relief workers in Marikina freed

The Marikina 10 inside a police station in Marikina. (Photo courtesy of Zena Bernando)

“We are confident that the PNP’s [Philippine National Police] alleged evidence will not stand the test of credibility and competence required to establish probable cause.”

By JANESS ANN J. ELLAO
Bulatlat.com

MANILA – The 10 volunteers of a feeding program arrested in Marikina on Labor Day were freed this morning after the local prosecutor found “insufficient evidence” to warrant their detention.

In a two-page resolution, the Marikina Office of the City Prosecutor said there is there is “nothing on record to support the accusation” against them. The ten were initially charged with violations of the Public Assembly Act of 1985 and for resistance and disobedience to persons in authority.

The 10 relief workers, of whom three are child rights advocates and seven are jeepney drivers, were providing warm meals to Marikina’s poor when they were arrested yesterday, May 1.

Read: 10 relief workers arrested in Marikina

Several progressive groups and no less than Marikina Mayor Marcy Teodoro have called for their release. Teodoro visited the detained relief workers yesterday and told them, “Huwag kayong matakot gumawa ng tama.” (Do not be afraid to do the right thing)

Human rights lawyer Minerva Lopez said the release of the 10 relief workers is an initial victory.

“We are confident that the PNP’s [Philippine National Police] alleged evidence will not stand the test of credibility and competence required to establish probable cause,” she said in a Facebook post.

Marikina Assistant Prosecutor David Gadit Jr., in a resolution, said there is a need to conduct further investigation in order to resolve the issues. “The clarificatory hearing will properly aid this Office on relevant and substantive matters to arrive at a more accurate finding and conclusion,” he said.

Preliminary investigation is set on May 20 and 27, 2020, according to a subpoena furnished to Bulatlat.

A short program aired via Facebook live was held inside the Marikina City Hall. Gabriela Women’s Party Rep. Arlene Brosas joined the relief workers.

Lopez said Gabriela and Gabriela Women’s Party are considering the filing of countercharges against those who arrested the relief workers. (https://www.bulatlat.com)

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