June 21, 2011
John Paulo Bautista (09161483935)
KABATAAN PARTYLIST – Southern Tagalog Coordinator
CALAMBA CITY—U.P. Los Baños students are joined today by different sectors in Southern Tagalog to call for the dismissal of the public disturbance and tumult case filed against so-called “Calamba 7”.
Released at 6:45 p.m. after posting P12,000 bail, the group has served exactly 58 hours and 30 minutes of detention at the Calamba Police Station.
The court rules out the group’s petition for recognizance to waive P42,000 bail provided that their legal counsel shall vouch for their presence in court hearings.
Calamba 7 is a group of activists who held a lightning rally during Pres. Aquino’s speech on the June 19 commemoration of Gat. Jose Rizal’s 150th birth anniversary. Five are from Kabataan Partylist – U.P.Los Baños and 2 from Anakpawis Partylist – Southern Tagalog. They are identified as students Michael Jayson Mozo, Catherine Gigantone, Ynik Ante, Bhen Aguihon and Ruffa Solano, and workers Joeffrey Barreto and Rodel Badayos.
A program is held in front of the Calamba City Hall to forge solidarity with the activists. Supporters from the ranks of workers, farmers, students, women and urban poor, marched from the City Hall to Halang despite heavy rain.
John Paulo Bautista, coordinator of Kabataan Partylist – Southern Tagalog, said that justice to Calamba 7 has yet to be served as the court still pursues the trumped up charges against them.
“The fight for our right to free speech does not end with the release of the Calamba 7,” he said.
He added that it would be easy to prove that the case does not have a reasonable cause and that the activists were not supposed to be arrested and detained in the first place. “We call on supporters to shift campaign to a call for the immediate dismissal of the charges.”
If convicted, protesters are faced with 6 months to 3 years of jail time.
Kabataan Partylist – UP Los Baños spokesperson Julienne Urrea further call on the UPLB community to intensify campaign against political persecution and repression of student activists and to link it to the worsening education crisis.
“Aquino is set to deliver his state of the nation address next month. Now is the perfect time to express our condemnation of what they did to our fellow Iskolar. State fascism is not new to us but some of us tend to accept it is a norm,” she said.
Bautista added, “We, at Kabataan Partylist, are going to lobby for an inquiry as regards to the illegal arrest and detention that was committed. We are raising this as an issue of national concern.” ###