'Pride 20' fights back, accuses MPD of illegal arrest, sexual harassment
MANILA, Philippines – Pride 20, the 20 protesters who were arrested during a Pride march demonstration in Manila, filed complaints on Tuesday, July 7, at the Office of the Ombudsman against cops of the Manila Police District (MPD).
Lawyers and some of the protesters filed criminal complaints against 32 MPD policemen, for allegedly violating the following laws in their arrest and their detention:
- Batas Pambanasa No. 880 or the Public Assembly Act;
- Revised Penal Code Article 269 or unlawful arrest;
- Revised Penal Code Article 265 or infliction of less serious physical injuries;
- Revised Penal Code Article 266 or infliction of slight physical injuries and maltreatment;
- Republic Act No. 11313 or the Safe Spaces Act;
- Republic Act No. 6539 or Unlawful Arrest.
The protesters also pointed out that the police could face administrative complaints for their actions.
What happened? The 20 were arrested on June 26 and accused with disobedience of person in authority in relation to Republic Act 11332, otherwise known as the Law on Reporting of Communicable Diseases, and Batas Pambansa 880, otherwise known as Public Assembly Act.
The 20, along with other protesters, marched while observing physical distancing and other health protocols when the police arrived to disperse them.
They were detained for 4 days.
What the cops allegedly did wrong? The protesters pointed out that the cops arrested them violently even when they were peacefully protesting and following government guidelines under community quarantine. They also said cops illegally seized their Nissan Urvan used for their transportation in the protest.
“Gamit ang dahas, pananakot, at pananakit, pa-traidor na binuwag nila ang aming mapayapang pagkilos, sa kabila ng mainahong pakikipagusap at kalaunan ay pagpayag na kami ay organisadong lilisan,” the protesters said in their complaint.
(With violence and fear, they dispersed our peaceful protest, despite our calm requests and our commitment to leave.)
Stories of harassment: One of the protesters, trans woman Rey Kristoffer Valmores-Salinas said she was forced to be detained with men at the police station, and that one cop remarked that she was “tall” and “beautiful.” (READ: LGBTQ+ groups hit Oplan X-Men’s ‘targeted harassment’ against transgender women)
Aljohn Estrella, another protester, recalled an arresting cop verbally abusing him for resisting arrest, recalling that the cops said, “Beki ka ba? Parang hindi naman. Ang lakas mo eh (Are you really gay? You're strong).”
Women detainees, meanwhile, reported that they were threatened in at least one instance by their detention guard, who they also recalled watching porn while on-duty.
Read the full complaint below: