Release all May 1 political prisoners now!
Socialist labor alliance Pagkakaisa ng Uring Manggagawa (PAGGAWA) strongly condemns the PNP’s arrest of labor leaders BMP Vice President Lito Rastica and Reynaldo Dulay on the morning of May 1, 2020, at Rodriguez, Rizal.
The two were arrested for leading a picket protest to mark International Worker’s Day near their residences inside Eastwind Subdivision, Barangay San Isidro. The protesters – who were calling for mass testing, sufficient government aid during the lockdown, and paid quarantine leave and hazard pay for all workers especially frontliners – followed lockdown precautions such as wearing face masks, observing physical distancing, and carrying their barangay passes with them.
Their compliance with lockdown precautions alone should have prevented authorities from penalizing their constitutional right to free speech.
Now the PNP have detained Mr. Rastica and Mr. Dulay for 2 days in San Jose Precinct and have hurled a flurry of trumped-up charges against them such as Alarm and Scandal, Violation of RA 11469, RA 11332 (Non-cooperation), Art. 151 of RPC (Resistance and Disobedience), and Municipal Ordinance 20 s. 2020 sec. 3. Their inquest scheduled for tomorrow May 4.
Far from being an isolated incident, Mr. Rastica and Mr. Dulay join the more than 80 workers and activists persecuted and arrested for peacefully celebrating International Worker’s Day and exercising their right to free speech. These include the Iloilo 42, the Marikina 10, the Quezon City 18, the Valenzuela 4, and the Sta. Rosa 16.
In stark contrast to these arrests, Mocha Uson and her opportunistic gathering of more than 300 OFW’s in Lian, Batangas last April 26 received none of the aggression and stigma that authorities gave to workers and activists on May 1.
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