MANILA, Philippines – Lolo Elmer Cordero, 72, now walks free, after posting a P10,000 bail on Tuesday evening, June 9.
Cordero and Wilson Ramilla, 43, remained in the Barangay Sangandaan jail in Caloocan on Monday, June 8, after 4 other drivers were able to post bail. Cordero and Ramilla had pending cases under their names.
Cordero reportedly had an estafa case, while Ramilla was previously jailed for a carnapping case.
Cordero was released after he posted bail Tuesday at the Caloocan Metropolitan Trial Court Branch 51.
Ramilla regained his freedom after it was cleared that he had already served jail time.
In a statement, transport group Piston and the two drivers thanked everyone who helped them to get out of jail.
The 6 Piston drivers were arrested on June 2 when they held a protest against the government policy on traditional jeepneys. Traditional jeepneys are at the bottom of the “hierarchy” of modes of transport and can only ply the roads if there are not enough buses or modern jeepneys.
Cordero and Ramilla said there was nothing wrong with protesting against their loss of livelihood.
“Ngayong ipinatigil ang aming pamamasada, napakahirap makahagilap ng tulong mula sa gubyerno. Liban sa mailap ang ayuda, ‘di rin ito sapat at tuloy-tuloy na ibinabahagi, lalo pa sa tulad kong matanda at impormal na manggagawa,” Cordero said.
(We were not yet allowed to ply the roads, yet it’s very difficult to ask for the help of the government. Aside from being infrequent, it’s not enough and is not being distributed consistently, especially to drivers like me who are aging and part of the informal workforce.)
Ramilla, meanwhile, said that they only wanted to protect their livelihood by expressing dissent. He added, “Lalong lumakas ang loob naming ipagpatuloy ang aming paglaban dahil sa malawak na suportang natanggap namin.” (We are more emboldened to continue our fight because of the support we got.)
The 6 drivers were arrested for failing to practice physical distancing during a protest and supposedly resisting authorities.
But Piston argued that they were observing physical distance and wore face masks during the June 2 protest.
Piston has been holding protests in different parts of Metro Manila, accusing the government of discriminating against traditional jeepneys in a bid to push public utility vehicle modernization.
Traditional jeepneys are still banned and will be allowed to ply the road starting June 22, subject to the so-called hierarchy of mode of transportation. The Department of Transportation reiterated that only those that are roadworthy and able to implement health protocols will be allowed to hit the road. – Rappler.com