U.P. Cebu demands immediate release of students, alumni
MANILA, Philippines – In a strongly-worded statement released Sunday, June 8, 2020, the University of the Philippines (UP) Cebu demanded the immediate release of their students, alumni, and 4 others who were "unduly arrested and detained."
Earlier on Friday, June 5, cops detained at least 8 individuals from a gathering of protesters against the anti-terrorism bill over alleged violation of a ban on mass gatherings under the general community quarantine (GCQ).
In the statement, UP Cebu insisted that the right to peaceful assembly is not proscribed even under the current national emergency.
"The constitutional right of individuals to express their views publicly and to hold protests peacefully and safely is not proscribed under any law – not the Bayanihan Law, nor even under RA11332, or the Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act," it said.
Probe possible violation of UP-DND accord
UP Cebu also renewed their call to uphold the 1989 UP-DND accord while urging Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella and the chief of the Cebu City police office to "seriously look into this clear transgression against our constituents and our property."
In the statement, they also noted, upon review of footage during the incident, the violent disperal done by members of the police force – some of whom were in civilian clothing.
"Our students are not criminals and they were despicably manhandled by police force who were in full battle gear and heavy firearms during the arrest. This is totally unacceptable," UP Cebu said.
In their statement, the campus also weighed in on the subject of the protesters' gathering on Friday: the controversial anti-terrorism bill.
"We deem the proposed Anti-Terrorism Law as seriously flawed because of its failure to clearly operationalize the definition of 'terrorism.' This sweeping anti-terrorism legislation will be prone to abuse and misuse by those whom the people have entrusted the authority to exercise the power, resources, and duties of the government," UP Cebu said.
Condemning the arrest of the activists, Filipinos earlier took to Twitter their call for the protesters' immediate release using the hashtag #ReleaseCebu7. Various student organizations also showed their support by organizing donations for the detainees' community bail fund. (READ: How to help activists arrested in Cebu City) – Rappler.com