AKBAYAN Party and the Alliance for Progressive Labor (APL) filed criminal and administrative charges against the Philippine National Police for the illegal dispersal of two women-led protest activities, the illegal arrest of AKBAYAN Rep. Risa Hontiveros and APL leader Josua Mata, and the illegal detention of dozens more.
The complaints, which include illegal and violent dispersal and arrest, violation of protected human rights under the Civil Code, physical injury, illegal detention, violation of the rights of the accused under custodial investigation, deployment of police men and women in plain–clothes, and violation of parliamentary immunity, were lodged before the Quezon City Prosecutor’s Office and the Ombudsman. A separate complaint was also filed before the Commission on Human Rights to push the body to probe human rights violations that the police incurred during AKBAYAN and APL’s protest rallies.
The groups said that they have taken the legal recourse to put an end to the sense of impunity being enjoyed by the police and the military since the enforcement of the government’s calibrated preemptive response (CPR) and the imposition of the state of national emergency. AKBAYAN said that the latter in particular has emboldened the police to quash civil liberties as if the Constitution or our laws do not exist. AKBAYAN believes that unless the PNP is punished for violating the law, it would create an environment where basic human rights and fundamental freedoms are constantly at risk of being abused.
APL likewise warned that the same draconian strategy would be used in the future to quell further protests against the government. The labor group said that the PNP is in fact already prepared to disperse the forthcoming May 1 rallies illegally and violently, with a fresh batch of labor and anti-GMA leaders expected to be invited unwillingly to police detention camps. The group also said that the illegal and violent behavior of the police and the indifference of the government to correct its mistakes betrays GMA’s brand of martial law, which plays with the vagueness of the constitution and yet is ten times more dangerous than the Marcos dictatorship.