activist groups in PH

Groups call for release of detained pro-Palestinian protester in Bicutan

Kaycee Valmonte

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Groups call for release of detained pro-Palestinian protester in Bicutan

CALL. After his arrest on June 8, 2024, family, friends, and colleagues from Manila Vegans Community and Youth for Palestine protest in front of Camp Bagong Diwa the next day.

Anakbayan Taguig/Facebook

'Edison Yu is a caring, nonviolent and dedicated team member who wants to secure a safe and just world for all living beings,' says Anita Krajnc, executive director of Animal Save Movement and global campaign coordinator for Plant Based Treaty

MANILA, Philippines – Multiple groups and a global coalition are calling for the release of Edison Yu, an animal rights and climate justice campaigner, who has been detained since Saturday, June 8, after joining a pro-Palestine protest.

Yu has not been brought for inquest since Saturday, Rappler has learned, which is already beyond the required period to charge somebody arrested without a warrant.

Yu was supposed to join a mobilization near the Israeli Embassy in Bonifacio Global City (BGC) with other organizations to show solidarity with Palestinians who have been victims of a genocide brought on by Israel’s attacks. He arrived there early and was able to run personal errands.

Nakita niya ‘yung mga pulis nandoon na, naka-set-up na ‘yung barricade… nag-take siya ng pictures, sinend niya sa mga supposedly na makakasama niya,” Zofia Leal, Gulay Na! co-founder, told Rappler on Sunday evening, June 9.

(He saw that the police were already there, with the barricades set up… he took photos and sent them to the people he was supposed to go with.)

However, someone went up and reprimanded him for taking photos. This is when trouble began for Yu, as even if he started walking away, someone else followed him.

Naka-black, casual, so parang civilian… pinagmumumura siya habang nakatalikod siya… tapos nung humarap na si Edison, ‘yun na ‘yung parang binanatan na siya nung person. Nagkasagutan sila, so meron talagang altercation na naganap,” said Leal.

(He was wearing black, in casual clothing, so he looked like he was a civilian… he was cussing at Edison who had his back against the person, but when he turned around, that was when things got ugly. They started arguing, so there really was an altercation.)

Leal said Yu ended up getting punched in the face by the guy in black, who the Taguig City Police Station later identified as diplomat security officer Rodolfo Osorio Jr. Yu got dizzy and pushed Osorio away from him.

The Taguig City Police, however, viewed this as Yu “punching” Osorio “in the stomach,” arresting Yu right after. The city police also claims that Yu “caused a disturbance in the area.”

The program started at 9:30 am. The groups he was supposed to join assumed they missed each other at the program. Yu’s partner, Joyce, only got hold of what happened to him at around 11 am when police contacted her.

In a joint statement, international coalitions Plant Based Treaty and Animal Save Movement said they are “disturbed” by what happened to Yu, and asked Taguig Mayor Lani Cayetano and President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to intervene.

“[Yu] is a caring, nonviolent and dedicated team member who wants to secure a safe and just world for all living beings,” said Anita Krajnc, executive director of Animal Save Movement and global campaign coordinator for Plant Based Treaty.

‘Unconstitutional violations’

Youth for Palestine – Makati on Sunday called out the police for detaining Yu for over 24 hours, without official charges. Under the Revised Penal Code, people arrested without a warrant should be brought for inquest by the arresting officers and charged if there is a basis – within 12 hours for the lightest offense, and 36 hours for the gravest offense like murder.

As of Monday morning, Leal told Rappler that Yu has yet to be brought for inquest. Delay in charging suspects is common in police operations.

“Everything is verbal,” said Leal. “Parang ang ikakaso daw sa kanya is ‘yung (He will apparently be charged with) alarm and scandal, unjust vexation, physical assault, and oral disobedience.”

Police claimed that Yu was unruly when he was brought to the station, which those who met him say is uncharacteristic. “Laging niya ina-advise kami na maging kalmado kami, na never kami magiging mag-a-outburst sa mga ganyang situation (He would always advise us to stay calm and never display an outburst of emotions if we end up in that situation),” Joyce said.

On Sunday, Yu was visited by his mother and his partner in the morning, and his friends sent him food. But at 3 pm, the police station guarded up and prevented visitors and food delivery for Yu.

When Yu’s lawyer arrived at around 5 pm, they found out he was transferred to Camp Bagong Diwa in Bicutan. Authorities said the Taguig station was already crowded, but they failed to tell Yu’s family and friends of the possibility of his transfer.

Nagulat kami (We were surprised),” Leal said. “Medyo nakakatakot siya kasi ‘yung travel time tapos hindi sure kung dadalhn ba talaga nila siya doon, given the political climate na nangyayari naman talagang nawawala bigla ‘yung mga tao.”

(It’s a little scary because of the travel time and we were not sure if he would really be brought there, given the current political climate where there are reported disappearances.) – Rappler.com

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