Rights groups fear that crackdown on activists will be much worse, as soon as the Anti-Terror Bill lapses into law.
By Caleb Buenaluz
The Cebu 8 and Piston 6, protestors involved in two different demonstrations across the country, have now been freed from detainment.
Judge Jenelyn Villaceran Forrosuelo of the Cebu City Municipal Trial Court (MTCC) Branch 4 issued the release order without the need for bail last June 8, 2020, for all detained during the violent dispersal in front of UP Cebu.
The Cebu City Police Office and their own SWAT teams apprehended the seven individuals and one passerby following the Black Friday protest against the infamous Anti-Terrorism Bill, which is heavily criticized for its unconstitutional regulations. (READ: Eight detained in Cebu after Anti-Terror Bill protest)
As they are given a total of ten days to comment, the bystander, now identified as Clement Corominas, commented on the ordeal. Corominas stated that the administration is going too far with their increasingly brutal and questionable methods.
”To the government, tone it down with the anti-terror bill. If you’re going to implement it, at least revise it so that nobody could abuse this to a random person and get accused of being a terrorist,” Corominas said.
The incident has been labelled as a clear violation of the 1989 UP-DND accord, an agreement between the university and the national government to bar all state agents from entering any University of the Philippines (UP) campus to ensure that all political stances are welcomed.
Due to this, members of the UP Cebu community have launched a petition to convince the UP System to file the appropriate charges against the Cebu police. With 700 signees, from individuals, and student councils and organizations, copies of the petition have been emailed to UP Cebu Chancellor Liza Corro and UP President Danilo Concepcion. The Board of Regents’ (BOR) sectoral members have also received the petition.
Meanwhile, the six jeepney drivers who protested regarding the controversial jeepney phaseout in Monumento, Caloocan have also been freed, following a week of arrest in the Caloocan Detaining Facility. While four of them were immediately let go last June 10, 2020, Elmer Cordero and Wilson Ramilla were forced to stay another day due to alleged recent criminal charges.
They also stated that they stormed the streets to amplify their calls to give the public utility vehicle (PUV) drivers enough government subsidy to sustain their families’ daily needs.
Cordero, the eldest in the group, told the media that he felt anxious while still in prison due to the fact that his age was susceptible for COVID-19.
In light of their release, Kabataan Partylist called for a collective action to let jeepney drivers operate not only for their sakes, but to ease the burdens of those struggling from a lack of public transportation. [P]
Photo from Rappler