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Marcy Teodoro calls for release of volunteers arrested while distributing food packs in Marikina

Marikina Mayor Marcelino 'Marcy' Teodoro on Friday urged policemen to release 10 individuals who were apprehended for distributing relief items in the area.

"Nag-overreact ‘yung PNP (Philippine National Police) eh. Hindi dapat inaresto dahil wala namang ginagawang masama 'yung mga kababayan natin,” Teodoro said in a press statement.

Teodoro noted that social distancing was properly observed in the relief operation. He said the cops could have misinterpreted the placards they were holding, which bears their call for mass testing through the Marikina Molecular Diagnostic Laboratory which the mayor initiated

"Maaaring may placards silang dala pero May 1 ngayon eh, bahagi ito ng page-exercise nitong constitutional rights nila na freedom of expression,” Teodoro said.

“Pinapahayag lang nila ang pangangailangan para sa free mass testing. Dahil ‘yung mahihirap ito naman talaga ang hinihingi, eh, ‘yung libreng mass testing para sa ganun alam nila kung positive or negative sila sa COVID-19,” he added.

He pointed out that the volunteers asked for his permission to conduct a relief operation.

“Sinasabihan ko ngayon ang ating kapulisan na wala silang kasong maaaring isampa dun sa mga taong ito,” the mayor said.

“'Yung mga taong naroroon ay nagpaalam naman sa atin para magbigay ng relief operation at bahagi ito ng relief at humanitarian aid na ibinibigay natin dun sa mga komunidad,” he added.

In a separate post shared by Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay, it was stated that ten community volunteers, including seven jeepney drivers, were arrested while distributing food packs among residents of Barangay Industrial Valley Complex.

According to the group CURE COVID Marikina, the volunteers have been providing hot meals for more than a month to cater to the needs of some Marikina residents.

"Instead of recognizing their efforts in reaching out to others in need, the police resorted to arresting them and charging them with fabricated cases," the group said.

In a separate post by Gabriela secretary general Jang Hernandez, she identified the volunteer teachers arrested as Lita Malundras, Dimple Paz, and Nel Artizuela.


Meanwhile, Philippine National Police spokesman Police Brigadier General Bernard Banac said the ten individuals were arrested for allegedly holding a "lightning rally."
Banac said if it was really a relief operation, the volunteers should have followed the strict measures of the Department of the Interior and Local Government on it. 
"Sana nag-coordinate in advance with LGU para nasamahan sila ng mga taga-LGU. Malinaw naman ang mga pronouncements ng DILG on such relief activities," Banac told GMA News Online amid the statement of  Mayor Teodoro that the relief operation has his permission.
Meanwhile, National Capital Region Police Office chief Police Major General Debold Sinas said he would go to Marikina to check the situation and decide if the volunteers will be released. —AOL, GMA News