MANILA, Philippines - The Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) has asked the Quezon City government to allow members and other militant groups to stage a rally on July 23, during President Benigno Aquino III’s State of the Nation Address (SONA).
“We believe that the people have the right to present their grievances as close as possible to the institution that they are addressing their demands to. Moreover, Batasan road is a wide enough highway to accommodate the protesters,” Bayan secretary general Renato Reyes, Jr. told Mayor Herbert Bautista in a letter.
Last year, a case was filed before the Quezon City Regional Trial Court after the local government modified the group’s application without hearing.
The case is now before the Supreme Court.
Reyes called the government’s attention to the guidelines in Batas Pambansa 880 and also a recent SC ruling.
Batas Pambansa 880 prescribes that, “If the mayor is of the view that there is imminent and grave danger of a substantive evil warranting the denial or modification of the permit, he shall immediately inform the applicant who must be heard on the matter.”
It also noted that an SC ruling in Integrated Bar of the Philippines versus former Manila Mayor Lito Atienza where it said the latter committed grave abuse of discretion when he modified a rally permit without informing the applicant and without showing proof that the rally presented danger.
“We believe that such has been the practice of the Department of Public Order and Safety in previous SONA rallies. Such modification cannot and should not be allowed to continue. The City Government must show proof that a particular rally poses clear and present danger to the public before it can deny or modify a permit,” Reyes said.
Bayan wants to hold the rally between 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.