By NICA MARIE P. HERNAEZ and JASMIN B. MACASIEB
MANILA – The Quezon City police filed new charges against Renato Reyes Jr., artist Max Santiago of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, and several others for burning an effigy during a protest coinciding with Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s State of the Nation Address (SONA).
The police claimed that the activists violated the Marcos Sr. era decree Public Assembly Act of 1985 or the malicious burning of any object in the street or thoroughfares.
“This is clearly a harassment suit because I wasn’t even present at the SONA rally. I was on a trip abroad. I was already mid-air when the rally happened,” said Reyes in a statement.
Reyes also noticed that his name was only hand-written on the cover page of the complaint.
“This ridiculous and flimsy trumped-up complaint it seems is in retaliation for our public statements exposing the QCPD for its harassment of Max and our members from Bayan Southern Tagalog. When we spoke out, they filed another complaint. Fascists being fascists,” he said.
Earlier in August, the Quezon City police also filed charges against Santiago and several others for violating the Republic Act No. 9003 or the Ecological Waste Management Act of 2001 and the Republic Act No. 8749 or the Clean Air Act of 1999 over the effigy burning.
Advocates said the charges constitute an attack against free expression.
Reyes said they are consulting their lawyers regarding the case. “There is nothing wrong nor illegal in the burning of an effigy which is part of protected free speech. There is nothing wrong in expressing indignation over the policies of the Marcos regime,” he added. (JJE, RVO)