Foreign student who threw taho at cop indicted for direct assault

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The Office of the Prosecutor in Mandaluyong City found probable cause to indict for direct assault the foreign student who threw her cup of taho at a policeman guarding the Metro Rail Transit Line 3.

In a resolution, Senior Assistant City Prosecutor Leynard Dumlao said Zhang Jiale's action is considered "deliberate and serious defiance" of a cop who was performing his duties at the time of the incident.

Zhang, a freshman fashion student, threw her cup of taho at Police Officer I William Cristobal when the cop reminded her of the MRT3's no-liquid policy on Saturday, February 9. The policy was recently implemented at railways as a security measure, to block liquid bombs.

In the resolution, Dumlao noted that for probable cause to exist in a charge of direct assault upon an agent of a person in authority, "the assault and force must be serious in character as to indicate respondent's determination to defy the law and its representative at all hazards."

"It is offensive both by legal and moral norm considering that there was no provocation on the part of the police officer. Simply put, respondent's unwarranted act is an abrasive affront against an officer in uniform representing a national institution," Dumlao said.

According to the Office of the Prosecutor, the charge of unjust vexation against Zhang was "deemed absorbed" in the direct assault charge. The charge of disobedience, meanwhile, was dismissed as it is a "necessary consequence of the assault."

Zhang was released on Tuesday afternoon, February 12, after paying a P12,000 bail.

Mandaluyong City police chief Senior Superintedent Moises Villaceran said Zhang got out of her cell around 4:30 pm.

On Sunday, February 10, a day after the incident, the Metro Manila Eastern Police District announced that the Philippine National Police filed assault complaints against Zhang. With the direct assault charge, she faces the risk of imprisonment between 4 months and 4 years.

Metro Manila cops also asked aid from the Bureau of Immigration (BI) to have the 23-year-old deported. The BI legal team on Tuesday recommended a deportation case against Zhang. –