Groups hit arrest warrant vs UP-student activist, labor leader

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 28 2022 03:24 PM

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Several groups are sounding the alarm over the issuance of arrest warrants against 2 labor leaders.

A Quezon City court issued the warrants of arrest against Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) international officer and University of the Philippines student Kara Taggaoa and Pasiklab Operators and Drivers Association (PASODA) president Helari Valbuena for robbery.

The charges appeared to be connected to a July 2020 protest at the Commission on Human Rights compound, which is a known freedom park, KMU chairperson Elmer “Bong” Labog said on Wednesday. 

"We were really surprised that the complaint was just filed recently against the 2 mass leaders who were then involved,” he told ANC’s “Rundown.”

“There wasn’t any benefit of a preliminary investigation, and suddenly these cases sprung up after 2 years, so obviously they are trumped-up charges to limit the democratic space of the protesters then and now,” Labog added. 

KMU/Twitter
Student activist Kara Taggaoa and the arrest warrant against her and PASODA president Helari Valbuena. KMU/Twitter

The Quezon City police earlier alleged that during the protest, leaders of some cause-oriented groups mauled an officer and took away his belongings, including a pistol, wallet, IDs, and iPhone, according to news reports. 

Kabataan party-list on Tuesday said that under the Public Assembly Act of 1985, the officer should not have been carrying a firearm during the protest. 

"Ayon kay Kara [Taggaoa] ay hindi man lang siya nalalapit sa kung saan nangyari ang insidenteng tinutukoy ng mga kapulisan," it added on Facebook. 

(According to Kara, she was not even near the area where the police said the incident occurred.) 

Several other groups posted information on where donations could be sent for Taggaoa and Valbuena's bail set at P100,000 each. 

— ANC, 28 September 2022