MANILA – The Manila Police District (MPD) on Wednesday subjected to inquest proceedings six persons who conducted an anti-vaccine rally without wearing or improperly wearing a face mask, and charged them with violation of city ordinances and for disobedience to a person in authority.
Suspects identified as Antonio Lorenzo Santillan, 29, resident of Laguna Bel-Air, Sta. Rosa City; Reynaldo Valeros Jr., 55, tribal leader, and Sonia Valeros, 52, deputy tribal leader, both residents of Meadowood, Executive Village, Bacoor Cavite; Albert Muyot, 64, resident of Olympia Village, Makati City, Christopher Samarita, 37, resident of Sto. Nino, Meycauayan, Bulacan, and Dixie Anthony Parungao, 36, resident of Moonwalk, Parañaque City; were presented before the Office of Assistant City Prosecutor Victoriano Agda Jr.
The suspects were arrested for violation of City Ordinance 8627 requiring the mandatory use of facemask in all public places within the City of Manila, Ordinance 8800 that regulates the movement of unvaccinated individuals, Republic Act 11332 or the mandatory reporting of notifiable diseases and health events, and Article 151 of the Revised Penal Code or the disobedience to person in authority.
In an interview with the Philippine News Agency, MPD spokesman Capt. Philipp Ines said the group believed to be leaders and organizers of Gising Maharlika led a crowd of about 150 rallyists and promoted a “No to Vaccine” advocacy campaign at the Liwasang Bonifacio in Manila on Jan. 11.
They also claimed to be unvaccinated and encouraged their members and other people to refuse to get vaccinated as they do not believe in the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
Ines said police officers tried to hold a dialogue with the rallyists and asked them to stop the activity but they refused to listen, insisting it is their right.
The group even broadcasted the rally live over Facebook and YouTube.
“Sila ang nagsabi na hindi sila vaccinated at hindi rin nakasuot ng facemask kaya walang magawa ang mga pulis kundi arestuhin sila (They were also the ones who said that they are unvaccinated and they were not even wearing their face masks so they were arrested),” Ines said.
He said safe physical distancing was also not observed by the rallyists.
He added this is part of the minimum health protocol prescribed by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF).
The group also publicly questioned the government’s action against the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Nakikiusap tayo sa ating mga kababayan na naiintindihan natin yung inyong karapatan pero balansehin natin, meron tayong pandemya ngayon, yung karapatan at kalayaan ay laging me kaakibat na responsibilidad (We appeal to these groups, we understand that it is their right but we have to balance things right now as we are in midst of a pandemic. Our freedom and rights always comes with a responsibility),” Ines said. (PNA)