It was only today that the six arrested activists during the Labor Day protest, dubbed Mayo Uno 6, were charged with violation of Batasan Pambansa 880 (BP 880) and direct assault following the approval of their petition to post bail at the Manila Court.

According to Karapatan National Capital Region, the fiscal has already committed a grave misconduct for failing to file such criminal information in the court and that the Mayo Uno 6 has been arbitrarily detained for almost a week.

Four of them are students of the University of the Philippines and two are youth activists from Anakbayan Caloocan.

In a four-page decision, Executive Judge Carolina Icasiano-Sison of Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 18 approved the urgent petition to set bail filed by legal counsels of six activists.

Under Department of Justice Circular No. 50, a “12-18-36” hour periods are given to the person arrested to be brought to the Prosecutor’s Office. This means that those arrested for light offense must be brought in within 12 hours, 18 for moderate offenses and 36 for heinous crimes.

In the case of Mayo Uno 6, while they underwent inquest proceedings the day after their arrest, the filed charges are still uncertain as per their legal counsel. The prosecutor has yet to resolve on the matter that the legal counsel of Mayo Uno 6 had to file for urgent petition to set bail.

“Finding the grounds set forth in the instant petition to be well-placed and considering that based on the Certification issued by ACP Garcia the offense of violation of BP 880 and violation of Article 148 of the Revised Penal Code were recommended for filing which are bailable offenses, the instant petition is hereby granted,” it read in the decision.

The Mayo Uno 6 are allowed to post bail, each requiring an amount of P42,000. For charges under BP 880 and direct assault are Php6,000 and Php36,000 per individual, respectively.

Illegal detainment

“Sanay tayo kapag naaresto ang mga ralyista ng Biyernes, tumatagal nang weekend bago maproseso. Pero naaresto sila noong Wednesday. At hanggang ngayon ay Lunes na, di pa rin sila narerelease,” said Bagong Alyansang Makabayan national president Teddy Casiño.

[We’re used to when protesters are arrested on Friday, it takes until the weekend before they’re processed. But they were arrested on Wednesday. And until now, it’s Monday, and they still haven’t been released]

Anakbayan national spokesperson Kate Almenzo saw this as a delaying tactic for the illegal detainment of six activists.

“Ngayong araw, limang araw na silang illegally detained. Ngayon araw palang sila masasampahan ng kaso. Kaya ibig sabihin, limang araw silang nakakulong doon sa Manila Police District na walang pending ng mga kaso. Illegal detention po ang ginawa ng ating mga awtoridad. Delaying tactics ang ginagawa nila,” said Anakbayan national spokesperson Kate Almenzo.

[Today, they have been illegally detained for five days. Only today are they going to be charged. So, it means they have been detained there in the Manila Police District for five days without any pending cases. What our authorities did was illegal detention. They are employing delaying tactics]

Atty. Jess Ramirez, legal counsel for Mayo Uno 6, said that the prosecution had not come up with a resolution even after the inquest proceeding by 9:00 AM last May 2.

On May 3, Friday, the legal counsel filed the urgent petition to post bail given the violations pursued by the police are bailable offenses including illegal assembly (BP 880), direct assault, disobedience, and malicious mischief.

However, the hearing had to be rescheduled on Monday at 9:30 AM as there were no prosecutor to comment on their filed petition. By Monday, the fiscal has yet to appear before the court. It was only until 3:30 PM that the MRTC Branch 18 approved the petition, setting the bail amount of Php42,000 for each individual.

“Walang batayan ang pagfifile ng kaso sa kanila ng mga kapulisan. Alam natin na ginawa lamang ito ng mga pulis out of spite dahil marahil napahiya sila na umabot sa US embassy ang ating protesta. Sa tuwing ganitong may pagkilos, maaasahan na natin ang mga pulis na gagawa ng ganitong mga hakbang. Talagang napakalaki ng kasalanan ng ginawa ng piskalya sa pagdedelay ng anim na ito,” said Casiño, noting this case is highly irregular.

[Charges filed against them are baseless. We know that this was done by the police out of spite perhaps because they were embarrassed that our protest reached the US embassy. Whenever there’s such activism, we can expect the police to take such steps. The prosecutor’s delay in handling these six cases is indeed a grave offense]

Casiño reiterated that ideally, the resolution from the fiscal would be released after the inquest, possible as early as Thursday afternoon or at the latest by Friday morning. This means that the Court would have ordered the release on bail by Friday, probably at the earliest. However, that had not been the case.

“May malaking pananagutan ang piskal dito. Pinag-aaralan naming ang pag-file ng administrative charges laban sa piskal kasi hindi dapat maulit iyan at kailangan mapakita natin that we do not tolerate this kind of injustice by the Department of Justice itself,” Casiño demanded.

[The prosecutor holds a significant responsibility here. We are considering filing administrative charges against the prosecutor because such actions should not be repeated, and we need to show that we do not tolerate this kind of injustice, especially by the Department of Justice itself]

Police brutality

“Makikita natin na binobomba na po ng Tsina ang mamamayan natin sa West Philippine Sea, sunod-sunod na po ang pagtatayo ng US military bases sa Pilipinas, pero ano ang pinaglalaanan nila ng oras at pera? Itong pagdadakip sa mga inosenteng mamamayan,” League of Filipino Students NCR spokesperson Ysabelle Briones assailed.

[We can see that China is already bombing our citizens in the West Philippine Sea, there is also a continuous establishment of US military bases in the Philippines, but where are they allocating their time and money? They’re focusing on the arrest of innocent civilians]

Almenzo recalled the violent dispersal transpired during the Labor Day protest, noting that the Manila cops were aggressively pushing back protesters including the elder ones using riot shields and batuta (baton) soon as they were claiming the streets towards the US Embassy from Kalaw Avenue in Manila.

“Napakarami ang nagpakita ng maraming sugat sa ulo, sa paa. Kahit ako po, sira ang kuko ko sa paa, dinikdik ang shield sa paa,” Almenzo shared.

[Many sustained numerous wounds on their heads, on their feet. Even I myself, my toenail is damaged, the shield was pressed against my foot]

From Kalaw Avenue, the protesters staunchly passed through the police barricade and quickly assembled in front of US embassy to hold a program. This was met by a water cannon dispersal.

“Dahil sa water cannon, napakaraming natamaan, ang mga kabataan napaatras, ang mga natira sa harapan, iyon ang pinaghihila. Yong iba nakangudngod na sa sahig kasi pinosasan agad,” Almenzo recalled.

[Because of the water cannon, many were hit. The youth were pushed back, and those who remained at the front were the ones pulled. Some were already face down on the ground and they were immediately handcuffed]

Almenzo recalled an instance when one arrested was forced to be held by three or five police officers. Some were being shackled by a single handcuff.

Karapatan NCR criticized such law enforcement operations conducted by the police, deemed as if they were in a “fishing expedition”.

“Makikita mo sa mga pulis, ang order sa kanila ng opisyal doon: Damputin ninyo, damputin ninyo. Hindi specified kung sino ang dadamputin. Basta’t kung sino ang kaya nilang mahawakan, dadamputin nila,” Casiño said.

[You could see among the police, the order from the official there: ‘Grab them, grab them.’ It wasn’t specified who to grab. As long as they could reach anyone, they would grab them.]

Casiño was in front of the protesters soon as the riot began. He added that this has been the case even in the past where protesters would be nabbed and charged over trumped up charges

“The objective is really just to harass and intimidate the protesters. Makikita mo rin iyon sa quality ng reklamo na finile nila, very general accusations, walang detalye kasi ni hindi nila alam kung involved talaga ang taong iyon sa sinasabi nilang mga violations,” Casiño furthered.

[You can also see that in the quality of the complaints they filed, very general accusations, lacking details because they don’t even know if the person they’re accusing is really involved in the violations they’re talking about]

Kilusang Mayo Uno Elmer Labog also recalled the San Francisco Police Department Philippine Exchange Training Program which began in 2000.

“Sa US nga, ilang people of color na ang kanilang pinatay, hinarass. Kaya ang kultura ng pasismo, iyan din ang nakukuha ng PNP. Dahil US mismo ang may fund sa training ng mga iyan. Intelligence at mismong crowd dispersal, lahat iyan ay US brand,” Labog added.

[In the US, many people of color have been killed, harassed. That’s why the culture of fascism, that’s also what the PNP adopts. Because the US itself funds the training of these officers. Intelligence and even crowd dispersal, all of that is a US brand]

The SFPD training ties ended in 2016 over concerns of the Duterte drug war, specifically the allegations of civil rights and human rights violations in the Philippines.

Almenzo emphasized that the continuing detainment of Mayo Uno 6 is an attack to all youth activists around the world.

In the United States, solidarity protests among major universities in support of Palestine resistance against Israel have been raided by police and local authorities. Many were also arrested and taken in custody of the police.

“Kung ang gobyerno natin ay hinuhuli ang mga kabataan, ang gobyerno natin ay nagtataguyod ng interes ng mga imperyalista, ng mga dayuhan, ng mga kapitalistang nakikinabang sa mga napaka-anti-mamamayang patakarang ito. Dapat nating labanan ito,” Almenzo assailed.

[If our government is arresting the youth, our government is promoting the interests of imperialists, foreigners, capitalists who benefit from these highly anti-people policies. We should fight against this]


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