Rallyists not allowed near Marcos’ inauguration site unless they shout ‘mabuhay’ — PNP
By Alexandra Kate Ramirez and Mai Allauigan
With less than two weeks before the Marcos-Duterte tandem’s inauguration, the Philippine National Police (PNP) declared that no rallies will be allowed near the sites of interest — unless they were in favor of the new president. Activist groups slammed this statement and continued to assert every citizen’s constitutional right to assemble and to dissent.
Rallies will be allowed near President-elect Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s inauguration site, the National Museum of Fine Arts, if protesters decide to show support for the incoming administration, said the PNP on June 13.
“Well, kung ang isisigaw mo naman eh ‘Mabuhay si Bongbong Marcos,’ eh ‘di ilalapit pa kita siguro, wala tayong problema ‘ron. So sa mga nagra-rally at sinisigaw niyo na ‘mabuhay ang bagong presidente’ eh ‘di okay, magsama-sama tayo d’yan,” Lt. Gen. Vicente Danao Jr. asserted during the press briefing at Camp Crame.
Danao added that they want the inauguration of Marcos to run smoothly, and problems may arise because of the supposed tendency of rallyists to be overly critical of the government.
“Human rights tayo nang human rights pero ‘yong human wrong na ginagawa ninyo hindi niyo tinitignan, everytime mag-rally kayo magdala kayo ng napakalaking salamin and look at yourselves there kung ano ‘yong sinisigaw-sigaw ninyo d’yan,” he remarked.
Meanwhile, the PNP violently dispersed the demonstrations outside the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) on the day of Marcos’ proclamation last May 25, claiming that the rallyists went overboard and police intervention was necessary. Human rights group Karapatan likewise denied this narrative and asserted that it was a peaceful mobilization against the return of the Marcoses.
“We will not take these violations sitting down, and in the face of the looming return of the forces of tyranny and fascism, all the more that we will protest and resist any and all attempts to unleash the horrors of Marcosian martial law and State repression,” the group said.
Moreover, the PNP is also eyeing a gun ban in Manila and Davao City for security measures during the inauguration of Marcos Jr. as well as vice president-elect Sara Duterte.
This is in addition to the government’s imposition of no-fly and no-sail zones during Duterte’s inauguration in San Pedro Square. Danao, however, did not elaborate if these zones will cover the entirety of Davao City or only places near the site.
Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) criticized Danao’s statement, emphasizing the non-discriminatory nature of the right to peaceably assemble in the 1987 Constitution’s Bill of Rights. Under the law, both pro-administration and opposition groups are given equal protection.
Bayan secretary-general Renato Reyes pressed that the Batas Pambansa Blg. 880 did not mention “illegal rallyists”, nor did it state that the police can arrest or violently disperse those who participate or attend in a peaceful assembly without permits.
Reyes also stated that the recent actions toward protesters were reminiscent of then-president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s unconstitutional ‘calibrated preemptive response’, which implemented the “no permit, no rally” rule.
Meanwhile, women’s group GABRIELA asserted that the police should protect the rights of all citizens, not encroach on them to serve the selfish interest of those in power.