Philippine National Police

Quezon City police file more criminal complaints vs transport group head

Jairo Bolledo

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Quezon City police file more criminal complaints vs transport group head

TRANSPORT. In this photo, jeepney transport group Manibela head Mar Valbuena, along with jeepney drivers, file a petition at the Office of the Ombudsman accusing the top officials of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board of violations of the anti-graft practices act in pushing for the government’s PUV Modernization Program and its push for consolidation of franchises to hasten the phaseout of the traditional jeepneys, on February 7, 2024.

Jire Carreon/Rappler

(1st UPDATE) The criminal complaints against Manibela chairperson Mar Valbuena and Manibela president Regie Manlapig stem from a transport protest organized by the group from June 10 to 12

MANILA, Philippines – The Quezon City Police District (QCPD) has filed more criminal complaints against the head of transport group Manibela.

The QCPD said on Saturday, June 15, that it filed complaints against Manibela chairperson Mar Valbuena and Manibela president Regie Manlapig for alleged violation of the Public Assembly Act of 1985, and articles 155 (alarms and scandals) and article 151 (resistance and disobedience) of the Revised Penal Code.

The complaints were filed before the Quezon City Prosecutor’s Office on June 14.

Valbuena denied all the accusations against him, telling Rappler that these allegations are “false.”

The complaints stemmed from a transport strike organized by Manibela from June 10 to 12, where they protested in front of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) office in East Avenue, Quezon City. The QCPD said around 200 people joined the protest against the government’s public utility vehicle (PUV) modernization program.

The QCPD said Manibela had no permit from the Quezon City local government to hold the protest.

In April, the QCPD sued Valbuena and Manlapig over “disruptive behavior” during a two-day strike in Quezon City. Valbuena countered the police’s claims and said they did not violate any law. In fact, it was QCPD personnel who blocked the road, causing Manibela members to get stuck in the traffic, Valbuena had said.

In May, the QCPD also sued Valbuena, Manlapig, and Alvin Reyes after a conducting a rally on May 6.

The three sets of complaints filed by the QCPD were for the same alleged violations: the Public Assembly Act and articles 151 and 155 of the RPC.

The QCPD has a history of filing complaints against those who hold rallies. In 2023, QC police  filed complaints against Max Santiago, the artist behind the effigy of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. that was set on fire during a State of the Nation Address protest rally that year. The police claimed the artist violated environmental laws.

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In November 2023, the Quezon City Prosecutor’s Office dismissed the complaints against Santiago.

Aside from his the complaints filed by the QCPD, Valbuena was also recently indicted and ordered arrested over cyber libel cases filed by Department of Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista. – Rappler.com

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Jairo Bolledo

Jairo Bolledo is a multimedia reporter at Rappler covering justice, police, and crime.