NUPL welcomes release of 'Cebu 8'

THE National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) Cebu welcomes the order for the release of “Cebu 8”, who were arrested last Friday morning, June 5, during the Black Friday Protest against the Anti-Terrorism Bill held at the University of the Philippines (UP) Cebu.

The release order was issued by Cebu City Municipal Trial Court in Cities (MTCC) Branch 4 Judge Jenelyn Villaceran Forrosuelo on Monday afternoon, June 8, three days after they were detained.

Earlier today, the Cebu City Prosecutor Office formally filed the information to the court against the eight detainees namely: Jaime Paglinawan of BAYAN Central Visayas, Joahanna Veloso of National Union of Students of the Philippines and Sangguniang Kabataan, UP Diliman alumnus Al Ingking, Bern Cañedo of YANAT Cebu and UP Cebu University Student Council, Dyan Gumanao of Kabataan Partylist, Nar Porlas of Anakbayan Cebu, Janry Ubal of Food Not Bombs Cebu, and the bystander Clement Corominas.

They were charged with violations of Section 13 of the Public Assembly Act of 1985 (B.P. 880); Section 9 (e) of the Law on Reporting of Communicable Diseases (R.A. No. 11332), and simple resistance and disobedience to an agent of a person in authority under Article 151 paragraph 2 of the Revised Penal Code, cases that fall under the Rule on Summary Procedure.

The defense is given 10 days to comment on the charges. No bail was required by the judge based on the release order.

On behalf of Cebu 8, we would like to express our sincerest gratitude to various organizations and individuals who have supported the calls for their immediate release such as the widespread condemnation of their arrest, overwhelming efforts to raise of a bail fund, and the free services provided by lawyers and paralegals. A further announcement will be made by the primary organizations involved in the donation drive in dealing with the funds raised for the bail of Cebu 8.

We will continue to update the public regarding the latest developments in the cases against Cebu 8.

Arresting the Cebu 8 only bolsters the calls of the supposedly peaceful protest action where they were apprehended- to junk the Anti-Terrorism Bill in its totality. Impelled by the current administration’s flagrant disregard for our freedoms of speech, expression, assembly, and association, this legislation creates a legal justification for the commission of human rights violations.

We in NUPL Cebu, together with its law student arm, strongly oppose the passage of the Anti-Terrorism Bill which when signed into law,will only legitimize the unnecessary culture of impunity and terror in a democratic nation. We shall continue to uphold the Constitution by refusing to stay silent and by remaining steadfast in protesting against the Anti-Terrorism Bill and any state action that attempts to curtail our cherished freedoms. (PR)