Assault, disobedience to authority charges vs. progressive leaders dropped

Karapatan paralegal Neil Legaspi being arrested by police (Photo courtesy of Karapatan)

Respondents in the complaint “were not identified to have personally attacked the complainants and there is no evidence showing that force employed, if there was any, by any respondent is of a serious character.”

By JANESS ANN J. ELLAO
Bulatlat.com

MANILA – The Manila Office of the City Prosecutor has dropped the direct assault and disobedience to authority charges against progressive leaders who joined a protest action during the ASEAN summit back in November 2017.

In a decision dated May 8, 2018, City Prosecutor Lourdes Gatdula said the respondents in the complaint “were not identified to have personally attacked the complainants and there is no evidence showing that force employed, if there was any, by any respondent is of a serious character.”

The said 12-page decision was received by the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) on Aug. 20, 2018.

Among those who were charged of direct assault with physical injuries, and resistance and disobedience to a person or agents of a person in authority are: Gloria Arellano of Kadamay, Teddy Casiño, Roberto de Castro and Renato Reyes of Bayan, former Bayan Muna lawmakers Neri Colmenares and Satur Ocampo, Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate, Einstein Recedes and Vencer Crisostomo of Anakbayan, and Gabriela secretary general Joms Salvador.

Read: Crackdown intensifies | Trumped-up charges filed vs. progressive leaders

Gatdula said she agreed with the respondents, who said that there was no direct order given by any police officer, which those attending the rally against the ASEAN summit should obey.

“It is likewise noted that the photographs forming part of the record of this case failed to actually show the alleged action on stoning, aggressive use of force against the anti-riot policemen by pushing and kicking their shields, and the act of inflicting physical injuries against the latter,” Gatdula added.

In a previous Bulatlat.com report, Rep. Zarate noted that it was actually the protesters who were injured during the protest when the police trancheoned and blasted them with water. He noted that the police even used a sonic weapon against the rallyists. ()

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