Anti-martial law protesters in Congress held in Camp Karingal
MANILA, Philippines – Eight members of youth organizations, including 3 volunteer tribal teachers in Mindanao, have been held in Camp Karingal after they were apprehended for staging a lightning rally inside the session hall of the House of Representatives on Saturday, July 22.
The group – now dubbed the "Kabataan 8" – was set to undergo inquest proceedings as of posting time for violation of Article 144 of the Revised Penal Code or disturbance of proceedings, their lawyer Kathy Panguban told Rappler.
Article 144 has a penalty of one to 6 months of jail time or a fine of P200-1,000. Panguban said the group will likely be held inside Camp Karingal until Monday, July 24, when courts in Quezon City open.
Three of the 8 are volunteer teachers of the Save our School Network, teaching indigenous Lumad children in Mindanao, while the rest are representatives of youth groups. They are also affiliated with the Alternative Learning Center for Agricultural and Livelihood Development (Alcadev), which provides education to indigenous youth, including those belonging to the tribes of the Manobo, Higaonon, Banwaon, Talaandig, and Mamanwa.
The 8 are:
- Chad Booc (volunteer teacher to Lumads)
- Kenneth Cadiang (volunteer teacher to Lumads)
- Yasser Gutierrez (volunteer teacher to Lumads)
- JP Rosos (League of Filipino Students)
- Almira Abril (student activist, UP Diliman)
- Renz Pasigpasigan (student activist, UP Diliman)
- Vinz Simon (Anakbayan)
- Michael Joselo (Kabataan partylist)
Anti-martial law rally
Inquest proceedings had not begun as of 6:40 pm when Rappler talked to Panguban. The youth group members had already undergone medical examination.
They were apprehended Saturday noon after they unfurled "No To Martial Law" signs at the gallery of the session hall while chanting, "Never again, never again to martial law."
They began chanting as Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana spoke before the joint session of Congress on the request of President Rodrigo Duterte to extend martial law in Mindanao. Congress, voting 261-18, approved Duterte's request to extend martial law in Mindanao until December 31.
Jose Mari Callueng, who was with the group on Saturday, said they had tried to talk to congressional staff to release the 8. But at 11 am, the group was taken to Station 6 of the Quezon City Police District (QCPD) and then to the Criminal Investigation and Detection Unit (CIDU) inside Camp Karingal.
"Maling-mali na ganito ang sagot ng estado sa mga kabataan na lumalaban para sa karapatan ng sambayanan – ang sila'y arestuhin at ikulong," Callueng said.
(The government's response to arrest and detain these youth representatives who are just fighting for the country's rights is very wrong.)
Kabataan Representative Sarah Elago said on Facebook that the treatment of the 8 was in sharp contrast to how House security treated members of the Duterte Youth when they unveiled a sign inside the session hall supporting the Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC).