The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Sunday clarified that the arrest of seven protesters at the University of the Philippines-Cebu has nothing to do with the anti-terrorism bill.
Interviewed on Dobol B sa News TV, PNP spokesperson Police Brigadier General Bernard Banac said the arrest is due to the enforcement of community quarantine.
“Actually, ‘yung nagyaring pag-aresto sa mga nagprotesta sa Cebu ay wala pong kinalaman sa anti-terror bill. ‘Yun po ay bahagi ng ating pagpapatupad ng ating mandato sa pinaiiral natin na community quarantine ,” he said.
According to Banac, the authorities told the protesters to finish the protest action since they have already aired their concerns to the public. However, he said they ignored the police.
“Muli, naki-usap tayo. Please tama na. Narinig namin. Okay. Noted. We heard your voices. Lumabas na sa social media. Okay na. Please, disperse. Nakiusap po tayo pero hindi po tayo pinakinggan,” he said.
“Wala nang magagawa ang PNP kundi ipatupad ang batas,” he added.
Banac also clarified that the police only entered the campus in the conduct of hot pursuit against the fleeing protesters.
Last Friday, at least seven individuals were arrested for conducting a protest action in front of the University of the Philippines-Cebu campus and were brought to Cebu City Police Station.
Right after the UP-Cebu incident, Senator Francis Pangilinan called for the release of seven protesters.
"Hindi pa man batas ang nasabing panukala, ganito na ang asal ng ilang mga pulis. Dapat kasuhan ang mga ito dahil sa wrongful arrest, violation of the 1989 UP-DND Accord prohibiting police from entering UP campuses without express permission from the UP administration, among others," Pangilinan said in a statement.
The opposition senator underscored that citizens had a "duty" to criticize government officials. —LBG, GMA News