By Minka Klaudia Tiangco
The 20 activists arrested at a Pride protest in Mendiola, Manila on Friday (June 26) will be filing countercharges against police officers from the Manila Police District (MPD) this week.
Pride 20’s legal counsel Minnie Lopez said they have identified some of the cops involved in the dispersal and arrest of the activists through pictures and videos submitted by participants of the protest action.
“Very evident naman sa lahat ng lumabas, kahit sa mga news outfits, media outfits, nakita naman kung gaano ka-brutal ang dispersal (It’s very evident, even in the content put out by news and media outfits, how brutal the dispersal was),” she told the Manila Bulletin on Monday.
“Nagiging practice na kasi ito… kailangan na matigil, kailangan ng accountability doon sa involved (This is becoming a practice… we need to stop this, we need to hold those involved accountable),” she added.
Atty. Lopez said they are also studying reports of discrimination experienced by the detained activists as basis for the charges that they will file.
On Friday, three minors, who were among those that were collared by the police, were released in recognizance to Gabriela Rep. Arlene Brosas, and were later turned over to their parents.
The police also reportedly misgendered Rey Valmores Salinas, a transgender woman, and initially refused to let her join female detainees in their quarters. Lopez said Salinas is now with the female detainees after negotiating with the police.
Lopez claimed that police officers taunted the Pride 20, insinuating that they may contract the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) while detained at MPD.
The cops also allegedly withheld the food donations for the detained activists, making them miss meals.
Members of LGBTQ+ groups such as Bahaghari and Metro Manila Pride on Friday marched to the Mendiola Freedom Park to protest the Anti-Terrorism Bill and the jeepney phaseout, and to call for mass testing amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The activists observed physical distancing and wore face masks during the protest action.
The Pride 20 are facing charges for disobedience of person in authority in relation to Republic Act No. 11332 or the Law on Reporting of Communicable Diseases, and for violation of Batas Pambansa 880 or the Public Assembly Act.
Since all Manila courts are under lockdown until Monday, they had to spend the weekend at MPD.
Lopez said they are hopeful that the resolution of the inquest proceedings, that is expected to be released on Tuesday, will be in their favor.