12 youth activists arrested on 'trumped up' charges of COVID-19 violations: group

ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 02 2021 10:52 AM

MANILA - A dozen youth activists on their way to a Labor Day protest were apprehended Saturday for supposed COVID-19 protocol violations in Castillejos town, Zambales, their organization said Sunday.

The 12 individuals were nabbed at a checkpoint in Barangay Del Pilar after their 15-seater vehicle was flagged down due to alleged physical distancing violation while on their way to Angeles City, Pampanga, said Col. Romano Cardiño, acting director of Zambales Provincial Police.

They failed to present identification cards, proof of residency and also refused to give their identities, police said.

The League of Filipino Students, denying that its members violated physical distancing protocol and were disobedient to authorities, said the charges are trumped up.

"Sa disobedience naman ay dapat lamang naman na usisiin yung paratang at dahil nga binuksan agad yung sasakyan doon sa checkpoint nang walang paalam. Tapos nakita nila ang mga placards, nagsambit pa sila ng mga salita na tila ba inaabangan talaga nila ang sasakyan...," the group said in a statement.

(As for alleged disobedience, it is because the allegation should be scrutinized because the police immediately opened the vehicle without consent. When they saw the placards, they issued statements that seem they were really waiting for the vehicle.)

"Hindi siya disobedience dahil dapat lamang na alamin kung ano ang violation at kung saan dadalhin ang mga kasamahan namin."

(It's not disobedience because we have a right to know the violation and where our members would be taken.)

The youth activists, aged 19 to 26, have undergone inquest at the Castillejos Municipal Station and need P66,000 for bail, the group said.

It also decried a social media post supposedly of the Armed Forces' Makatarungan Battalion red-tagging its apprehended members.

"Naroroon sa post ang Plate number ng sasakyan, kung anong model ng sasakyan, at pati pictures ng mga panawagan na dala-dala... tulad ng 'Solusyong Medikal hindi Militar' at 'Stop the Attacks' na anti-government slogans daw ayon sa post na may hashtag pa na #NoToCPPNPANDF," the group said.

(The post contains the plate number of the vehicle, its model, and pictures of placards... which states 'Medical not military solution' and 'Stop the Attacks' that are allegedly anti-government slogans, according to the post with the #NoToCPPNPANDF.)

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