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Philippines

Police beat up activists held at rally, group claims

SAN PEDRO CITY, Laguna, Philippines — Three of the nine activists arrested during the Independence Day event in Kawit, Cavite, were allegedly beaten up by the police, the militant Bagong Alyansang Makabayan-Southern Tagalog (Bayan-ST) said.

Bayan spokesperson Casey Cruz said the program at the Emilio Aguinaldo Shrine was yet to begin, when the police arrested the protesters and charged them with alarm and scandal.

They were taken to the police station where they were beaten up, Cruz said.

A statement from Bayan-affiliated League of Filipino Students (LFS) named those detained as Emmanuel Numeron, 16; Rassel Mora, 22; Julius Gonzales, 29; Amie Bonifacio, 34; JR Verana, 17; Jhanet Llano, 19; Ronald Valderama, 19; Carlo Candelario, 17, and a certain Dante Peneda Jr., who Bayan said was not their member.

The statement said police officers slapped Numeron, punched Valderama on his stomach, and tried to scrape off Mora’s tattoo on his hand with a ballpen.

The Inquirer tried to get the response of Kawit police chief Lt. Col. Richard Corpuz to Bayan’s claims but he was no longer answering his phone.

Earlier, Corpuz said the police arrested more people but had to release three who turned out to be mere bystanders in the event.

Cruz said the rallyists were protesting the country’s “fake” independence from foreign intervention.

“It has become even more ‘fake’ with (President) Duterte selling off our natural resources to the US and China,” she said. —Maricar Cinco

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