SEDITION charges have been filed against Arnel Cerafica and his brother Allan, who lost in the mayoralty and congressional races, respectively, in the 2019 midterm elections.
The charges were filed by Taguig taxpayers and members of Jeepney Operators and Drivers Associations (Joda) on Monday, February 17, over a series of "illegal assemblies and public and tumultuous uprisings" held on May 14 and 23, 2019.
Aside from sedition, criminal charges for inciting to sedition, illegal assemblies, public disorder, and violation of BP (Batas Pambansa) 880 were also lodged against the Ceraficas with the Taguig City Prosecutor's Office.
The assemblies were held after poll results showed former senator Alan Peter Cayetano and former congressman and filmmaker Lino Cayetano had defeated the Cerafica brothers by an overwhelming margin in the congressional and mayoral races, respectively.
The same set of charges were also filed against Andre Polo alias Dre Guez Polo, Gloria Polo, Maria Luisa Roja, Oliver Dinco, lawyer Glenn Chong, Theresa Estanislao Reyes, Jheny Perey Orellana, Karen Mercado, Yolly Lacsaron, Daniel Galmarin, Baby Celso, alias Annie Marie, alias Ma. Fatima, alias Florinda and other John and Jane Does.
In filing the charges, the complainants said the Ceraficas and their group illegally prevented Taguig City officials from "freely exercising their functions" when they occupied Pedro Cayetano Boulevard, a public road, on May 14, and at the same time blocked a huge portion of C-5 on May 23 without the necessary government permits.
The unannounced blockage created severe traffic jam, to the distress of multitudes of commuters.
The complainants alleged that the Cerafica brothers called for the "infliction of acts of hate" upon public officers, and "scurrilous libels were uttered against the government for alleged cheating in the 2019 elections" during the illegal assemblies.
"The tumultuous nature of the illegal assemblies is readily apparent from the use of loud speakers, blaring of music, honking of horns and loud shouts of respondents John and Jane Does," the complainants said, adding that the respondents were running around, thereby endangering themselves and motorists.
"Respondents have committed a series of actual overt acts showing a concerted and systematic criminal design and purpose to perpetrate the crimes charged...," they said in a statement.
"We understand that where the acts collectively and individually demonstrate the existence of a common design towards the accomplishment of the same unlawful purpose, conspiracy is evident and all the perpetrators will be liable as principals," the complainants added. (PR)