MANILA – The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Monday condemned members of Anakpawis for violating the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Luzon for attempting to organize a mass gathering in Norzagaray, Bulacan in the guise of distributing relief goods.
“The PNP under the command of Gen. Archie Gamboa, strongly condemns the wanton disregard for public health protocols by members of the militant Anakpawis who traveled all the way to Norzagaray, Bulacan yesterday (Sunday) for an apparent agitation and propaganda activity in a local community under the deceptive cover of a relief mission,” PNP spokesperson, Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac said in a statement sent to reporters.
He said due to their flagrant acts of willful defiance of Section 9 of Republic Act 11332 or the Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health. Events of Public Health Concern Act; Executive Order No. 922; Article 151 of the Revised Penal Code (Disobedience); and Article 142 of the Revised Penal Code for conspiracy to commit sedition; the PNP will press criminal charges against ex-Rep. Ariel B Casilao, 40; and Anakpawis members Karl Mae San Juan, 29; Marlon Lester Gueta, 26; Robero Medel, driver, 52; Eriberto Pena Jr., 60; Raymar Guaves, 21; and Tobi Estrada, 22.
All of them will be subject to inquest proceedings on Monday.
The violation of RA 11332 is penalized with a fine of not less than PHP20,000 but not more than PHP50,000 or imprisonment of not less than one month but not more than six months, or both, at the discretion of the proper court.
Based on the report, the Anakpawis members were on board a passenger jeepney (ZNH-869) that was stopped at a quarantine control point in Barangay Bigte around 11 a.m. on Sunday.
The group failed to show any proof of exemption or authority for their presence in Bulacan, except for the alibi that they will deliver a cargo of relief packs to their members and sympathizers in Kalye 11 in Barangay Bigte.
But upon visual inspection, the cargo contained anti-government flyers, printed materials and tarpaulins with suggestive slogans that promote the political ideology of Anakpawis, the electoral wing of the militant Kilusang Mayo Uno and the Kilusang Mangbubukid ng Pilipinas.
The relief packs, nonetheless, were promptly released and turned over to officials of Barangay Bigte while the propaganda materials were confiscated as evidence for court proceedings.
Casilao, will face similar charges for violation of RA 11332 and additional charges for usurpation of authority under Article 177 of the Revised Penal Code for misrepresenting himself as a party-list representative of Anakpawis, an elective post he previously held during the 17th Congress that ended in June 2019.
Casilao is not a member of the 18th Congress as he claimed himself to be when he tried to intercede on behalf of the arrested Anakpawis members.
Banac said that it is terribly disturbing that this organization which styles itself as advocates of public welfare will rather promote its anti-government ideology at the expense of public health during this critical period of a national health crisis.
“It is a matter of life or death that we need to make this quarantine work, but incidents of quarantine violations like this make containment efforts against the virus less effective and detrimental to public health,” he stressed.
Meanwhile, DILG spokesperson and Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said that the presence of numerous propaganda materials bared the true purpose of their unauthorized travel.
“Kung tunay ngang relief operation ito, bakit sila magdadala ng napakaraming (If this is a legitimate relief operation, why do they have so many) propaganda materials?” he said in a statement.
“Anakpawis will have their day in court. The DILG assures them of due process. Sa korte na sila magpaliwanag (They must explain before the court),” he said. (PNA)