19 detainees from NutriAsia protest walk free

Rambo Talabong
(UPDATED) Though they have been freed, they still face complaints for physical injury, alarm and scandal, and illegal assembly

FOR RELEASE. A day after the violent dispersal of striking NutriAsia workers in Meycauayan, Bulacan on July 31, 2018. Photo by Naokira Mengua/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Nineteen people detained following another violent NutriAsia dispersal walked free on Wednesday, August 1, after securing release orders from prosecutors.

Bulacan police chief Senior Superintendent Chito Bersaluna said one other suspect will remain in detention. (LOOK: Why NutriAsia workers are on strike)

“Lahat ‘yung 19 meron nang release order except [one other person na] nahulihan ng baril (All of the 19 are covered by release orders, but there was one other person caught carrying a gun),” Bersaluna told Rappler.

The detained included NutriAsia workers, some of their supporters, and some media workers on coverage.

Bersaluna said the release orders were secured after the group underwent preliminary investigation. Though they have been freed, however, they still face complaints.

Why were they detained? According to Bersaluna, police detained the 20 for physical injury, alarm and scandal, and illegal assembly allegedly committed during the protest outside the NutriAsia factory in Bulacan.

Philippine National Police chief Director General Oscar Albayalde earlier told reporters on Wednesday that the protesters were not detained for hurting police. Bersaluna clarified, however, that the protesters allegedly hurt the guards of the industrial compound where the factory stands.

They also apparently failed to coordinate with cops before picketing outside. (READ: UP students condemn NutriAsia19 arrest after violent protest dispersal)

Protesters denied the police’s accusations, saying that their assembly was a peaceful demonstration against NutriAsia’s labor policy. – Rappler.com

Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers the House of Representatives and local governments for Rappler. Prior to this, he covered security and crime. He was named Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. In 2021, he was selected as a journalism fellow by the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics.