MANILA, Philippines – Left-wing militant umbrella group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) on Monday scored the Aquino administration and the Quezon City government for ignoring its rally permit application for today’s State of the Nation Address (SONA).
Bayan Secretary-General Renato Reyes said under the Batas Pambansa 880, or the Public Assembly Act of 1985, their application for a permit to rally was already deemed approved after the city government of Quezon City failed to act on it in two days.
Militant groups were blocked by the police along Commonwealth Avenue near Ever Gotesco to prevent the protest actions from reaching the Batasang Pambansa, where President Aquino will deliver his third SONA this Monday afternoon.
“Nakikipag-usap ang aming abugado at ilang kinatawan sa kapulisan dahil mukhang hindi nila naiintidhan ang kanilang sariling batas na ipinapatupad, at yung kanilang panghaharang ay ilegal at labag sa batas,” Reyes told dzMM.
“Dahil walang action sa permit sa application within two days of filing, automatically granted ang application. Iyun ang nasasaad sa mismong batas nila na ayaw nilang kilalanin. Dumaan kami sa tamang proseso pero ayaw nilang pakinggan,” he added.
Meanwhile, Colonel Marcelino Pedroso, chief of Quezon City Police District (QCPD) Station 10 said police will block the protesters at all cost.
“We will not allow them… Wala kaming natatanggap na permit na apruado ng city hall,” Pedroso said.
Protesters near Ever Gotesco Commonwealth have started knocking down the steel fences earlier set up by the police.
Edre Olalia, secretary general of the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers, justified the protesters’ move.
“Eh kasi ina-assert nila na ang naglalabag ng batas ay hindi sila, kundi iyung pulis. Kasi nga they are violating the very law they created. Ang dapat hulihin ang mga pulis. Justified ang ginagawa nila kasi they (police) are obstructing a constitutional right,” Olalia said.
At around 12 p.m. several protesters attempted to reach Batasang Pambansa by using an alternative route, prompting police to chase them.
Some protesters succeeded in going near Batasang Pambansa’s north wing, but were eventually blocked by the police.
Around 6,000 law enforcers were deployed for the SONA. – reports from Dennis Datu and Alex Calda, dzMM