'Pride 20' ordered released but face 'further investigation'

Kristine Joy Patag - Philstar.com
'Pride 20' ordered released but face 'further investigation'
A protester holding a rainbow flag and placard stands next to policemen during a gay pride march near Malacanang palace in Manila on June 26, 2020. The protest was held amid a ban on public gatherings as a general community quarantine is in effect to control the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic. The protesters, members of an LGBT group, raised concerns over the plight of the LGBTQ+ community amid the pandemic and also voiced opposition to a proposed law that they alleged gives the state greater powers to crush both terrorism as well as legitimate dissent.

MANILA, Philippines — The Manila prosecutors office ordered the release of those arrested at last week’s Pride rally for supposedly violating quarantine protocols on Tuesday.

Lawyer Minnie Lopez told Philstar.com in a text message that the Manila prosecutor ordered the release of the Pride protesters “for further investigation.”

Independent news site Bulatlat.com reported that the complaint against the 17 arrested is being referred for further preliminary investigation.

This means that the arrested Pride protesters still face complaints and may be given a chance to refute the allegations by filing their counter-affidavits.

The police filed complaints alleging of violation of Republic Act 11332 or the law on reporting of communicable diseases, Batas Pambansa 880 or the Public Assembly Act and Article 151 of the Revised Penal Code or disobedience against authority to those arrested.

Despite the protesters’ observation of social distancing protocols at Mendiola as seen in photos uploaded online, police apprehended the "Pride 20" subsequently held them at the Manila Police District headquarters.

Three of the arrested have since been released since they were minors but 17 spent days under police custody.

Lopez added: “We are just waiting for the release order to be officially served at the Manila Police District. Hopefully, the MPD would not delay the release of those arrested.”

The Human Rights Watch said the police arrest during Pride rally only showed why they were rightful in expressing their opposition to the controversial anti-terrorism bill, “which would make it much easier for police to arrest critics of the government.”


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