- January 26, 2018 17:04
By Maxine Alessandra B. Turiano
Several youth groups and students rallied at the Far Eastern University (FEU) Gate 4 in light of the arrest of FEU student Joanne Pagkaliwangan and University of the Philippines (UP) student Gabriel Magtibay earlier today, April 11.
In a report by Philippine Collegian, Pagkaliwangan and Magtibay were arrested under the charges of violating Batas Pambansa 880’s permit requirement, vandalism, and resisting arrest in a lightning rally in front of the U.S. Embassy citing the spot report by Manila Police District (MPD).
In an interview with FEU Advocate, Defend UP Network Convenor Neo Aison, who accompanied the students at the police station, shared that they are exhausting the means to release the two in the coming days.
“Ang panawagan natin ngayon ay i-drop ang mga charges—kung meron man—at palayain sa kagyat ‘yung dalawang estudyante. Kung hindi man mapapalaya, ay at the minimum, respetuhin ang kanilang mga karapatan, ‘wag silang ipiit sa kulungan dahil wala naman silang kriminal na kaso, at galangin ang kanilang mga karapatang pantao (We call for the droping of charges—if any—and the release of the two students immediately. If they cannot be released, at the minimum, then respect their rights, don't force them in jail as they lack a criminal case, and respect their human rights),” he shared.
Aison and other networks are hopeful that they will be able to process all the necessary requirements by Wednesday, April 12.
Meanwhile, Anakbayan Morayta member Marie Justine Keswani also decried the arrest, mentioning that the short rally had already peacefully dispersed when the arrests began.
“Pero malinaw na pagtapak siya sa karapatang pantao nila Joanne, ni Gabriel na kapwa mga lider-estudyante at mag-aaral sa kani-kanilang mga unibersidad, na ang tanging layunin nila ay magpanawagan dun sa pagtutol ng pagpapalaganap ng culture ng impunity o impunidad sa bansa, o yung pasismo itself sa bansa (But it is clear that it is an infringement of the human rights of Joanne and Gabriel, who are both student leaders and learners in their respective universities, whose only goal is to call for resistance against the spread of the culture of impunity in the country, or of fascism itself in the country),” she explained.
Aside from the two students, four paralegals were also apprehended but were eventually released.
The UP College of Mass Communication Facebook page has already released a statement calling for the immediate release of the students.
As of writing, the two are confined in the MPD Headquarters along UN Avenue after initially being taken to MPD Station 5.
The lightning rally, which was staged in front of the U.S. Embassy at around 5:00 a.m. today, was launched against the resumption of the Balikatan Exercises between the U.S. Army and the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
This year’s Balikatan is the largest to date, with over 17,000 members taking part in the annual Philippine-U.S. joint exercise.
(Photo courtesy of FEU Advocate/Apollo Arellano)