STUDENT and youth organizations condemned Friday the arrest of Emmanuel Pio Mijares who heckled President Benigno Aquino III during his Independence Day speech in Naga City, saying the activist was just expressing his right to free speech.
Mijares, a 19-year-old student of Ateneo de Naga University, along with three other student activists, shouted "Patalsikin ang Pork Barrel King! Walang pagbabago sa Pilipinas!" a few meters away from where Aquino was delivering his speech on Thursday.
He was whisked away by the Presidential Security Group and detained in a police station. Mijares will be charged with public disturbance, reports said.
But for the College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP), Mijares only protested the country's "worsening conditions" including rampant corruption, abuse of power, unending impunity, loss of sovereignty and inadequate social services.
"Mijares' arrest signifies that for 116 years the Filipino people are not yet free. If a mere exercise of rightful expression is a basis for incarceration, then the BS Aquino regime is no different to the fascist orientation of the Marcos Martial Law," the student writers said in a statement.
"The incident tells the world, 'Welcome to the Philippines, where those who dare to speak the truth end up in jail, while those who plunder and utter terrible lies rule the nation,'" added Kabataan party-list Representative Terry Ridon.
The League of Filipino Students (LFS) saluted Mijares for "fearlessly dismantling" the alleged lies peddled by Aquino, whom they called as "pork king" for having an estimated P1.6-trillion funds under his control.
According to LFS spokesperson Charlotte Velasco, the real public disturbance that should be intercepted is Aquino's claims regarding inclusive growth, justice, and driving corruption away.
"Aquino's speeches are similar to a magic show wherein the magician performs all sorts of hocus pocus to conceal reality. But this time, Mijares has shown that the people are already weary of the magician's tricks," she said.
The youth groups called for Mijares' immediate release and junking of charges against him.
Mijares is a member of Kabataan party-list and Youth Act Now, which claims to be the widest anti-pork barrel youth group in the country. (Sunnex)