Police arrest militants who staged rallies in Marikina and Rizal
The Philippine National Police arrested some members of militant groups who staged allegedly illegal activities in Marikina and Rizal where the enhanced community quarantine is still in place.
In a statement, Police Brigadier General Bernard Banac said the incidents were isolated.
“Hourly situation reports from the field indicate the arrest of ten members of local transport groups led by a certain Joann Bernadette, Bayan Muna organizer, that held a lightning rally at the Marikina Riverbanks this morning,” he said.
“Also arrested were Clarito Rastica and Reynaldo Dulay who reportedly led some 20 alleged KMU (Kilusang Mayo Uno) members who held a lightning rally in Eastwing Subdivision, Brgy San Isidro, Rodriguez, Rizal,” he added.
Banac said in different parts of the country, many local labor and transport organizations totally abandoned earlier plans coordinated by militant umbrella organizations to stage public assemblies.
Instead, protesters took their mass action to cyberspace via Zoom and Facebook platforms.
“The PNP leadership is thankful to leaders of various groups for heeding the call of police authorities against mass gathering of persons in public assemblies and mass actions that will not sit well with public health protocols to contain COVID-19,” he said.
“The PNP noted a peaceful, orderly and uneventful observance of Labor Day across the country,” he said.
But Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) said 42 protesters were arrested in Iloilo City, 10 in Marikina City, two in Rodriguez, Rizal; and seven Coca-Cola workers in Laguna.
“The police have also tried systematically to intimidate the members and leaders of people’s rights groups. On the eve of May 1, police vehicles were spotted on surveillance outside the KMU headquarters in Quezon City. Local organizations have also reported police and military deployment across urban poor and workers’ communities in Metro Manila,” it said.
On the order of Marikina City Mayor Marcelino Teodoro to release the ten people, who he said were just conducting relief operations, Banac said he cannot give police such an order.
“If evidence warrants, charges may be filed against violators. Only the court can determine if they will be released or not… he cannot order that,” he said in a message to reporters.
“They should coordinate in advance with the LGU so that they can assist them,” he added.
Teodoro claimed police “overreacted” when they apprehended the violators and may have misinterpreted the placards they are carrying.
He reiterated that the 10 people the policemen arrested were doing nothing wrong as they were just expressing themselves during their relief operation.
“I’m telling the police that they don’t have any case to file against these people,” Teodoro said.
In a virtual presser, Eastern Police District Director, Brigadier General Johnson Almazan, said the arrested persons are under police custody and waiting for the decision of Metro Manila's top cop, Police Major General Debold Sinas.
“The papers are already ready for inquest and they are represented by their respective counsel,” Almazan said.
He said Sinas is set to visit the Marikina City Police Station Friday afternoon. Ella Dionisio/DMS