No rallies near Batasan during SONA – QC gov't
QUEZON CITY, Philippines – (UPDATED) The Quezon City government has denied a progressive group's application for a permit to hold a rally near the Batasan complex when President Benigno Aquino III delivers his State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday, July 22.
Instead of allowing the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) to gather in front of Sandiganbayan along Commonwealth Avenue, as the group requested, the QC government offered it a park near city hall about 9 kilometers away.
In a written notice received by Bayan counsels, the Quezon City government reportedly expressed concern that the rally will create traffic jam along the roads to Batasan.
Bayan counsels from the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL) received the written denial on July 16. The application was signed by QC Department of Public Order and Safety head Elmo San Diego.
Bayan secretary general Renato Reyes Jr condemned the denial of the rally permit.
“It’s a rally, not a picnic in a park, Mayor Bautista. We reject the arbitrary action of the QC government,” Reyes said.
Reyes said the orders came from Palace: “The message is clear. The QC government, upon the orders of Malacañang, does not want to allow protests on July 22.”
In an interview with Rappler, San Diego maintained that the QC government followed the right procedure in denying the rally permit to the group.
"Kapag ganyan kasi, rally, nire-refer namin for comment and recommendation sa Quezon City Police District dahil merong mga security concerns diyan," Sand Diego said.
(When groups apply for rally permits, we refer them for comments and recommendations to the Quezon City Police District because these entail security concerns.)
He added that public safety is the main consideration in granting rally permits.
"Yung public safety hindi lang sa Quezon City pero yung epekto niyan sa buong Metro Manila.Yung concerns security, sanitation at trapik," San Diego maintained.
(The public safety concern will not only affect Quezon City but will affect the whole Metro Manila. We're concerned about security, sanitation and traffic.)
According to Article 3 Section 4 of the Constitution, the government can only regulate freedom of speech and deny rally permits if a clear and present danger is posed to the public.
“The denial does not bear any proof that the protest poses a clear and present danger to the public. ‘Traffic’ was the only reason cited,” Reyes maintained.
Reyes also said that the police have no proof that the protesters are possible threats to security. He maintained Bayan is determined to push through with the march and program near Batasan during the SONA. – Rappler.com