MANILA, Philippines – On the morning of President-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s inauguration, three young leaders were arrested by members of the Philippine National Police after hanging a banner on a catwalk near the grounds of the Human Rights Commission. man in Quezon City.
Among those arrested were Akbayan Youth president RJ Naguit and Benjamin Alvero and Jane Labongray of Sentro Youth, who were eventually released later that day, according to Akbayan.
It is unclear what the charges would have been as the Liwasang Diokno on the CHR grounds is considered a freedom park where no permit is required to demonstrate. In the days leading up to the inauguration, the PNP repeatedly pledged to show maximum tolerance towards militants.
In a statement, the Nagkaisa Labor Coalition called the arrest a violation of the young leaders’ freedom of expression.
“The police charged the contingent even after the short action was over. The banner was forcefully snatched from the participants and the three youth leaders were violently arrested and dragged to police vehicles,” he said. said in a statement posted on Facebook.
“Throughout the incident, officers refused to explain why the arrest was made and were very harsh on the detainees. One participant was violently grabbed by the arm and neck as she stood was consistent with the police.”
Section 4.4a of the PNP’s Revised Operating Procedures draws on Marcos-era BP 880 and recognizes that “public meetings held in liberty parks or on private property do not require a permit for ‘activity”.
“The PNP shall not interfere with the holding of a public assembly…before carrying out any dispersal operation, the PNP shall notify the relevant organizers and leaders of the public assembly,” the guidelines also state. PNP.
Philstar.com asked the Quezon City Police District for comment through its public information office, but received no response after several attempts.
“Why arrest them just for hanging a banner on the catwalk? Back to Marcosian martial law indeed,” Bagong Alyansang Makabayan secretary general Renato Reyes said in a tweet on Thursday.
“After a real dialogue with the police, [Naguit, Alvero and Labongray] left the enclosure. No complaints have been filed against them,” Akbayan said later Thursday. Franco Luna