SONA 2020

5 jeepney drivers arrested on way to SONA 2020 protest

Rambo Talabong
5 jeepney drivers arrested on way to SONA 2020 protest

ARRESTED. The 5 jeepney drivers are escorted by Quezon City Police District cops for detention

PISTON photo

The jeepney drivers have not even started protesting

At least 5 jeepney drivers, including 1 senior citizen, were arrested on Monday morning, July 27, on their way to the State of the Nation Address (SONA) protest at the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman campus in Quezon City.

In a phone interview with Rappler, their lawyer VJ Topacio said the 5 drivers were aboard a jeepney with protest banners when they were flagged down by cops along East Avenue in Quezon City. They were just on their way to UP, the venue allowed for public protests. (For live updates on SONA 2020, go to this page.)

The 5 are affiliated with transport group Piston, which has been protesting against what they describe as a “phaseout” of jeepneys in the government’s delayed attempt to modernize public transportation.

“We still do not know what cases will be filed against them,” Topacio said.

The Philippine National Police (PNP) earlier warned of arresting protesters outside UP Diliman, the designated protest area protected by the Soto-Enrile Accord.

Topacio pointed out that the 5 jeepney drivers were not even in a public gathering.

Their group also cannot be considered as a “mass gathering,” as authorities generally classify one when it has at least 10 people. –

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.