On the police charges vs mass leaders in relation to the protest rally during the November 2017 ASEAN summit:
More than two months after the subject protest action and coming at the heels of the incessant threats-cum-rants to “go after” what are maliciously branded as “legal fronts” of the undeground armed rebel movement, trumped-up criminal charges were belatedly pressed against prominent progressive leaders of the legal democratic mass movement.
The charges that were shopped are alleged violation of the Marcosian Public Assembly Act of 1985 (Batas Pambansa 880) and the 1930 Revised Penal Code for alleged direct assault with physical injury or resistance and disobedience to a person in authority or agents of such person.
This apparent opening salvo with guns ablazing will be proven to be a dud.
Pending the dusting off of additional arms in its legal arsenal like the “terrorism” law, the State had to make do with good old reliable nuisance charges to harass and file what practically are premeditated strategic lawsuits against public participation.
The object of the attack of the contrived narrative includes
National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) Adviser Rep. Carlos Zarate as well as NUPL Chairperson Neri Colmenares who are two of the best human rights lawyers that false charges cannot scare. They can no doubt very much defend themselves in their own right any day.
But with the repressive nature of the present administration and the atmosphere of intimidation prevailing today, we have learned that justice is even more elusive than what we were taught in law schools.
We have scanned the sloppy complaint and formulaic allegations concocted by marionettes who moonlight as police officers.
The charges are pathetically not worth the paper they were written on. The factual and legal grounds do not hold water.
We will not lecture here on civil and political rights nor give a treatise on the fundamental liberties of assembly, speech and redress of grievances. Neither will we reiterate that these occupy an apex in the hierarchy of such rights nor mention that they are universally recognized by decent and civilized societies.
We will not belabor too the bigger picture: how our public officials and officers have become virtual rabid dogs crooning to foreign masters.
But we want to say it loud and clear: you cannot silence legitimate dissent by any legal artifice.
We will just see you in court.
And in the streets.
NUPL National Executive Board
Atty. Edre U. Olalia
Atty. Ephraim B. Cortez
NUPL Secretary General
Atty. Maria Cristina P. Yambot
+63 917 847 0301