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Effigy burners charged | Police file criminal cases vs. militants in SONA protest

Criminal charges have been filed against 10 progressive group leaders for burning effigies as President Rodrigo Duterte delivered his third State of the Nation Address (SONA) last Monday.

Chief Insp Michael Uyanguren, commander of the Sta. Ana Police Precinct, told TIMES yesterday that a case for violation of Republic Act 8749 (Philippine Clean Air Act of 1999) has already filed before the City Prosecutor’s Office. It is now docketed as Information Sheet No. XI-02-INV-18-G-2482.

Named respondents in the case are Carlo Olalo, secretary general of Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) in Southern Mindanao Region (SMR); Titing Bantayan, spokesperson of Sama-Ako; Bobet Pablo, spokesperson of KMU-SMR; Larry Arguilles, spokesperson of Transmission-Piston SMR; Cora Espinosa, spokesperson of Gabriela SMR; Cris Deslate, spokesperson of Anakbayan SMR; Meg Monteverde, spokesperson of Save Our Schools Network SMR; Jong Munzon, a PASAKA leader of Confederation of Lumads Organizations – SMR; Jay Apiag, spokesperson of Karapatan SMR; and Francis Ruba, spokesperson of Kadamay SMR.

Uyanguren said the respondents violated the law when they instigated and/or led the burning of the effigies of three presidents — Duterte, Donald Trump of the U.S., and Xi Jinping of China – in the midst of their protest rally at the Millennium Park in front of Ateneo de Davao University in Roxas Avenue during Pres. Duterte’s SONA.

Davao City Police Office Director Alexander Tagum, in his Facebook post, said “(y)ou don’t burn effigies in Davao City.”

“We will not allow it,” Tagum said, citing RA 8749 and RA. 9003 (the Solid Waste Management Act of 2000). “It violates the laws of the land.”

“We’ll see you in court, mga perwisyo sa bayan,” Tagum said in behalf of DCPO, Task Force Davao, Bureau of Fire and Protection 11 and Central 911.

Police officers reportedly tried to block militants from burning the effigies. But the militants continued with their action.

However, just seconds after the militants set the effigies on fire, firemen immediately doused the fires using extinguishers and preventing the total burning of the effigies.

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