Ten members of Partido Manggagawa were apprehended on Monday in Caloocan City while on their way to a protest rally inside the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman campus for President Duterte’s State of the Nation Address (SONA).
Caloocan City Police Substation 8 commander Maj. Joey Hizon said the protesters were nabbed at Hillcrest Subdivision after they were found cramming inside their service van in violation of the national government’s guidelines on social distancing.
“Na checkpoint sa area ko… Dapat ‘yung van, dapat lima (lang laman) (They were flagged down at a checkpoint. Their service van was only allowed to transport five passengers,” Hizon said in a phone interview.
Partido Manggagawa spokesman Wilson Fortaleza said their protest materials were confiscated while their vehicle was impounded.
Fortaleza added their members’ apprehension was a “plain harassment” against rallyists. However, the police denied the allegation.
“Their arrest wasn’t ordered by the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC). There’s no ELCAC involved in this. They just violated the health protocols,” Hizon said.