It’s a rally not a football match.
The umbrella group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan today assailed what it described as the “illegal, arbitrary and ridiculous curtailment of the people’s right to peaceably assemble on SONA day.”
Bayan today received a letter dated July 22 from the Quezon City Department of Public Order and Safety (DPOS) signed by former police chief Elmo San Diego, stating that the group’s application for a rally permit filed in July 15 was denied, and that the group can hold the annual SONA rally at the football field inside the Quezon City Hall compound.
“We vehemently reject this ridiculous proposal from the Quezon City DPOS. We’re going to a protest rally, not a football match. It is not right that pro-admnistration groups are being allowed as close to the Sandiganbayan, while groups critical of the regime are being asked to hold a rally at the football field in City Hall, where they will be several kilometers from the Batasan Road,” said Bayan secretary general Renato M. Reyes, Jr.
“We find this arrangement unacceptable and we will continue with our planned march to Batasan Road. We have also filed a case in court questioning this arbitrary curtailment of our rigth to peaceably assemble and air our grievances. The security policy we’re seeing is no different from the policies of the previous Arroyo administration,” Reyes said.
Bayan said that under the law, the group had already secured a permit to march to Batasan when the QC government failed to act on their application withn the required 2 days under BP 880. Failure to act on an application means that it is deemed granted. Last Friday, Bayan filed a petition before the QC RTC questioning the belated denial of the permit and the restrictions on the right of the people to peaceably assemble.
“The only reason we got from DPOS on the change of venue was that the rally in Batasan Road will ‘hamper the free flow of traffic’. Well this is just plain ridiculous since the police is really the one causing traffic when it sets up numerous blockades, checkpoints and rereouting from Philcoa to Commonwealth Ave. If they want to avoid traffic, then having the rally in Batasan Road would be the best solution because it will ease traffic along Commonwealth Avenue,” Reyes said.
A hearing on Bayan’s petition is scheduled on Monday, 9am at the QC RTC Branch 215, an hour before the march to Batasan Road begins.
“The protest is important for people who want to air their demands on higher wages, land reform, human rights, good governance and genuine freedom. Curtailing this fundamental right to protest reminds us that not much has changed under the new regime. Aquino is still going to surround himself with thousands of police and soldiers on SONA day,” Reyes added.
Click here to view QC government’s denial of rally permit and here for PNP recommendation