THE police had not observed any violations when they arrested the seven individuals for allegedly obstructing the group tasked to demolish the homes of informal settlers in Sitio Casia, Barangay Bangkal, Lapu-Lapu City on Wednesday, November 29, 2023.
According to Police Lieutenant Colonel Gerard Ace Pelare, spokesperson for the Police Regional Office (PRO 7), the presence of the police in the area was to enforce order.
He added that the demolition was done in compliance with a court ruling.
Pelare explained that maximum tolerance was strictly enforced by the police.
Despite this, Pelare said the residents were given the chance to voice their opinions along with the progressive groups that support them.
But when the unrest started, Pelare claimed the police, who were armed with batons and shields and others with guns, had no choice but to arrest the residents without an arrest warrant.
Pelare added that during the previous rallies organized by the militant groups, the demonstrators had the opportunity to speak, and the police did nothing since they did it in a non-violent way.
"In previous incidents daghan kaayo tag mga rallies diri, daghan kaayo tag mga protest but we did not arrest anyone because nobody was committing a crime, that should be clear that your PRO 7 always respects the freedom of everyone to protest," Pelare said.
The cause-oriented groups described the arrest of seven individuals as a repression of human rights.
The arrested individuals will be facing charges for violating Article 151 of the Revised Penal Code or disobedience of lawful orders of Persons in Authority and alarm and scandal. (With TPT)