By Joseph Almer Pedrajas
A Caloocan court has ordered the release of 72-year-old Elmer Cordero, the eldest of the six jeepney drivers who were arrested and detained for staging a protest in Caloocan City last week.
Caloocan City Metropolitan Trial Court Branch 51 Presiding Judge Gloria D. Santos Jr. released the discharge order for Cordero on Tuesday afternoon (June 9) after his camp posted P10,000 bail for his years-long estafa case.
Cordero, along with five other drivers, was charged with simple disobedience. But it was his estafa case that stalled his release, keeping him for seven days behind bars, despite his age.
On the other hand, Wilson Ramilla was also released, based on a Facebook live on transport group PISTON’s page. He was also not immediately set free due to a carnapping case in 2010, for which he said he had served sentence.
Their four other companions during the protest—Severino Ramos, 59; Ramon Paloma, 48; Ruben Baylon, 59; and Arsenio Ymas Jr, 56—were freed from jail on Monday after their camp posted P3,000 bail for each of them.
The six drivers’ arrest came after they staged a protest along EDSA on Tuesday to call for the resumption of jeepney operations in Metro Manila. They said it was the lack of money to buy food because of the lockdown that prompted them to join the protest.
“Kung sa mga ayuda, sa bigas, meron. Problema, pera, pambili ng ulam. Napakahirap ng pera ngayon… Ultimo 10 piso pambili ng asin, betsin, wala. Sabihin ko man na malungkot, wala akong magagawa (In terms of relief goods, rice, we have that. But the problem is money to buy viands. It’s hard to earn money now. Even P10 to buy salt, we don’t have. I can say it’s sad, but what can I do about it),” Cordero said in a recent ABS-CBN interview.
The drivers said the police told them to stop protesting. They alleged that they were lured to go to the Caloocan City Police Headquarters for negotiation, but ended up charged and detained.
SIGN UP TO DAILY NEWSLETTERCLICK HERE TO SIGN-UP