A day after groups gathered outside the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) in Intramuros, Manila to call for accountability from the poll body, outgoing Manila Mayor Francisco "Isko Moreno" Domagoso has announced that protesters and individuals who want to hold public gatherings in the city are now required to get a permit.
In a memorandum dated Wednesday (May 11), Moreno ordered barangay officials and police officers to make sure that the Batas Pambansa Bilang 880 or the Public Assembly Act of 1985 – which was also used by the Arroyo administration in 2005 to deter protests and arrest demonstrators – would be “strictly enforced” in the city.
Under Batas Pambansa Bilang 880, demonstrators may only gather at government-designated freedom parks. In Manila, those are Plaza Miranda, Plaza Dilao, Plaza Moriones and Liwasang Bonifacio.
The said law has historically been employed by state forces to suppress peaceful demonstrations. However, Section 4 of the Bill of Rights in the 1987 Constitution recognizes "the right of the people peaceably to assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances."
Moreno has earlier conceded in the presidential race and urged his supporters to back the dictator’s son and presidential frontrunner Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr.
The mayor reversed his previous order of not requiring permits for campaign rallies during the campaign period.
“We have to put things in the right order,” he said, “for the purposes of moving on, so we could return to normal, we need to put things in perspective.”
Rallies in Manila
Various groups from different sectors participated in consecutive rallies in Intramuros and Liwasang Bonifacio in Manila to protest the assumed victory of Marcos and to call accountability from the Comelec for widespread election glitches and massive voters’ disenfranchisement due to faulty VCMs.
The protesters were met with lines of policemen, S.W.A.T officers, and firefighters on the first day of the protests to disperse the demonstrators.
Currently, they are camping out in Liwasang Bonifacio for a peaceful demonstration against election fraud. People have also set up a community pantry for the protesters.
Pola Rubio is a news writer and photojournalist covering Philippine politics and events. She regularly follows worldwide and local happenings. She advocates for animal welfare and press freedom.
Watch more videos on Yahoo: