The youth activists nabbed by military men today trooped back to Payatas together with the media to confront the elements of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) who detained them illegally in a Barangay Hall and harassed them. They promised to file appropriate charges against the soldiers.
They also asked why there was an “infestation” of soldiers in “full battle gear,” supposedly in “anti-insurgency” operations in the metro. Around 20 soldiers have allegedly turned the Barangay Hall of Bgy. Lupang Pangako into a camp. Residents say the soldiers have “occupied” the hall, proof of which are the soldiers’ fatigue clothing hung to dry in different parts of the hall and sleeping mats laid on the floor.
The nine youth activists were blocked at around 4:30pm yesterday and were illegally detained by military men while campaigning against Chacha and distributing flyers in Barangay Lupang Pangako, Payatas. Around 20 soldiers who were in full uniform and were armed with long firearms stopped the jeepney the activists used for their anti-Chacha information drive and confiscated their flags, placards and leaflets. A 1st Lt. Ron Corsillas was identified as one of the soldiers.
The youth activists from youth groups Anakbayan, League of Filipino Students, Kabataan Party and Student Christian Movement were detained for three hours in the Barangay Hall of Bgy. Lupang Pangako and were released after being interrogated, harassed and videoed against their will.
There have been earlier reports of the presence of military troops in “full combat gear” in several parts of NCR including Pandacan, Payatas and some parts of Kalookan.
After being released, they held a noise barrage in Philcoa to condemn the “desperate acts of the fascist government to quell protests against Con-ass and Cha-cha.”
“It is very unfortunate that this is happening during the commemoration of International Human Rights Day. This shows the regime’s desperation in stopping mass protests against Con-ass and Cha-cha next week,” said Vencer Crisostomo, chairperson of the League of Filipino Students (LFS).
The students and youth groups are set to walk-out from their classes next week and participate in the big anti-ConAss rally on December 12.
“Harassment and threats of violence will not stop us from protesting against the bogus Con-ass. These moves will only infuriate more youth and students, and will encourage greater youth participation in the anti-Chacha protests,” Crisostomo said.
Reference: Vencer Crisostomo, Chairperson, LFS (09157991059)
Dion Cerrafon, Chair, Student Christian Movement (09174052875)