Statement of the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers on complaint filed by police against leaders of the People’s SONA rally
An even sillier move bereft of any legal or factual basis invoking an unjust law the police have time and again brazenly violated for its own dubious purposes.
It is pure and simple harassment to smokescreen the culpability of the police for the treacherous, unmitigated and unprovoked attack versus the protesters while negotiations were going on. Also, it is obviously meant to silence and intimidate dissenters through a devious strategic lawsuit against public participation.
We will stand by our clients even as we deplore the curiously gratuitous inclusion of our Secretary General who was at the rally together with our visibly identifiable fellow lawyers, law students n paralegals as usual Quick Reaction Teams in case of any situation requiring legal assistance or advice. He was in fact accompanying the leaders to help them explain to the police the legal aspects of the public assembly and was in the course of negotiating with police representatives for an orderly, reasonable and mutually acceptable resolution to the impasse or standoff before the police disingenuously pulled a fast one by suddenly surging and attacking the protesters, hurting scores including himself.
This latest repressive move will certainly backfire on the authorities and exacerbate the mistrust and discontent of the people. It will also be another embarrassment before the international community.
Moreover, it exposes the hidden agenda to silence not only progressive leaders and their organizations but now even their lawyers in their criticism of government policies.
We believe the filing of this complaint serves as a long-awaited reprisal for our active representation of victims against top military and police officials and for handling various public interest cases and issues that threaten an unjust social, economic and political order.
Finally, this latest move betrays this government’s intolerance for dissent and criticism even through peaceful assemblies. It smacks of arrogance in cavalierly throwing the full weight of the state machinery to quell it.
ATTY. EDRE U. OLALIA
Secretary-General, National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers
National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL)
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