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8 youth leaders held for rally

By: Vanne Elaine P. Terrazola

Eight youth leaders were arrested for holding a lightning rally inside the House of Representatives plenary hall at the Batasang Pambansa in Quezon City while the joint session of Congress on the extension of martial law in Mindanao yesterday was ongoing.

The activists – Chad Booc, Kenneth Cadiang, Yasser Gutierrez, Michael Villanueva, Almira Abril, Renz Pasigpasigan, JP Rosos, and Vince Simon – were escorted out of the plenary hall and taken to the Quezon City Police District headquarters in Camp Karingal.

The protesters were mostly volunteer-teachers from the Alternative Learning Center for Agricultural and Livelihood Development based in the Caraga region.

Waving a black banner, the group shouted their opposition to martial law, prompting House security officers to remove them from the building.

They will temporarily be held in Camp Karingal while awaiting charges for disturbance of legislative proceedings under Article 144 of the Revised Penal Code. Under Article 144, those charged will face a penalty of arresto mayor or a fine of at least R200 to R1,000 and may be detained for six months at most.

They were to undergo inquest proceedings at 9 p.m. last night.

Lawyer Joel Aguilar of House legal affairs department said they will pursue the charges. “This has been a standard operating procedure of the Legislative Security Bureau of the House,” he said.

QCPD officials said that the charge is bailable. The protesters will be allowed to post bail but it will depend on the court’s decision.

“Since it was a weekend, and a holiday in Quezon City on Monday for the President’s SONA, they can only post bail when courts open on Tuesday,” said Insp. Leonardo Pasco, chief of the General Assignments Section of the QCPD Criminal Investigation and Detection Unit.