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Appeal for ‘black’ protest vs Marcos burial fails

An appeal to more than 6,800 bar examinees to wear black to protest the Supreme Court’s (SC) decision allowing the burial of the late former President Ferdinand E. Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (LMNB) failed yesterday during the second day of the examinations at the University of Santo Tomas (UST) in Manila.

Instead of black, most of the examinees wore the colors representing their respective schools.

Also, the Manila police did not allow the protesters to occupy the UST gate along Espana Street for their program.

The protesters settled at the other side of Espana Street also facing the UST.

The Manila Police District (MPD) has deployed more than 500 policemen around the UST campus on top of the agents fielded by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).

Yesterday was the second of the four-Sunday bar examinations administered yearly by the SC. This year’s bar examinations committee chair is Justice Presbitero J. Velasco Jr.

Earlier through an open letter sent to law graduates, the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL) appealed to the bar examinees to wear black to protest Marcos’ LNMB burial.

While majority of the examinees did not heed the call, NUPL and other groups like the Samahan ng Mga Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (SELDA), Karapatan and Karma proceeded with their “Black to Block” protest action.

They were led by Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate and former Rep. Neri Colmenares.

In its statement, the NUPL said:

“Studying the law, taking the Bar, and becoming a lawyer, becomes relevant and meaningful only when it serves justice, takes notice of the judgment of history, confirms self-evident truths, and sides with the oppressed: in short, when the knowledge and skills learned in law school are used to ensure that justice is achieved.”

Malacanang reiterated yesterday that the government will not stop groups from protesting the upcoming burial of the late President Marcos at the heroes’ cemetery but urged them not to cause major traffic jams.

Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said these groups could choose “free, wide spaces” to hold their protest action to minimize inconvenience to the public.

“We can do whatever we do, as long as huwag lang po natin gambalain ang ating mga motorista. Kasi talagang katakot-takot na trapik ang mae-experience po ng mga kababayan natin,” Andanar said in an interview with state-owned DZRB.

Andanar said they respect the right of the people to voice their grievances, adding that maximum tolerance will be implemented in dealing with street demonstrations.

Several petitioners in the seven consolidated cases dismissed by the SC have signified their intention to file their motions for reconsideration. (with a report from Genalyn Kabiling) (REY G. PANALIGAN)