BAYAN slams top cop's plans to halt protests during June 30 inauguration

·Contributor
·2 min read
Filipino protest leader Renato Reyes, center, of the left-wing Bayan group announce their protest plans in front of an image of U.S. President Donald Trump during a press conference in metropolitan Manila, Philippines on Tuesday Nov. 7, 2017. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
Filipino protest leader Renato Reyes, center, of the left-wing Bayan group announce their protest plans in front of an image of U.S. President Donald Trump during a press conference in metropolitan Manila, Philippines on Tuesday Nov. 7, 2017. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) Secretary-General Renato Reyes Jr. pushed back on Philippine National Police (PNP) officer-in-charge Lt. Gen. Vicente Danao’s pronouncements that he will not allow demonstrations near the National Museum of Fine Arts in Manila during the inauguration of President-elect Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr.

Danao said that while the police recognize the freedom of expression of potential protestors in the president-elect’s inauguration, he said that there may be problems “if you are pulling down the government, especially those leading it.”

“You all keep insisting human rights, how about the human wrong you are doing? Every time you go out to protest, bring a huge mirror and look at yourselves there to see what you’re fighting for,” Danao added.

“General Danao again does not understand the law and believes we should return to the era of Marcosian martial law,” Reyes said. “He wants the PNP to regulate not just the right to peaceably assemble but also the content of the assembly.”

Reyes pointed out that the 1987 Constitution’s Bill of Rights does not distinguish between a pro- or anti-government demonstration and mobilization. “Civil liberties are guaranteed whether you are in favor or critical of the government,” Reyes explained.

“Equal protection under the law demands that those for or opposed to a certain issue are able to freely exercise their rights without discrimination,” Reyes added.

Without disclosing in detail the PNP’s plans in the upcoming swearing-in of the incoming administration, he expressed willingness to bring closer in the event stage the supporters.

“If you shout ‘Mabuhay si Bongbong Marcos!’ I might bring you closer to the site. To the rallyists, if you shout ‘Mabuhay ang Presidente!’ That’s okay. We are united,” Danao reportedly said.

On June 30, President-elect Marcos Jr. will be sworn-in in the former legislative building, now the National Museum of Fine Arts. His running mate, Vice President-elect Sara Duterte, will be sworn in at an earlier date in Davao City.

Marvin Joseph Ang is a news and creative writer who follows developments in politics, democracy, and popular culture. He advocates for a free press and national democracy. The views expressed are his own.

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