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Militants decry harassment, police security ‘overkill’ at Veloso rally

/ 04:26 PM April 27, 2015

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MILITANT groups who staged a sit-down protest in front of the Indonesian embassy in Makati City since Sunday decried the harassment they allegedly received from members of the Philippine National Police deployed in the area.

The militants, led by Migrante International, trooped to the Indonesian embassy on Sunday to protest the looming execution of Filipino domestic helper Mary Jane Veloso, along with eight other drug convicts.

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They plan to stay at the embassy in Salcedo Village until Tuesday, the day when Veloso is scheduled for execution through a firing squad.

However, the protesters said that they were faced with about 100 police officers, all armed with shields and truncheons, and a fire truck, which is ready to quell the protest.

The protesters also maintained that they are prepared to request for a permit but said that the Makati City police refused to sign it.

Sol Pillas, Secretary General of Migrante International, said in an INQUIRER.net interview that despite their efforts to call for Veloso’s pardon, they are instead faced with police harassment.

“Ito ay isang maliwanag na harassment sa hanay ng mamamayang Pilipino na nananawagan na magsalba ng buhay ng isang inosente. Sa totoo lang, overkill ito. Mas marami pa sila sa amin (This is a clear manifestation of harassment to Filipinos who are calling to save an innocent life. Truth is, this is overkill,” Pillas said.

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She also urged President Benigno Aquino III to be more vocal in demanding for Veloso’s freedom, saying that Aquino should do what he should have done five years ago when the Filipina was arrested for drug smuggling.

Human rights group Karapatan and the National Union of People’s Lawyers both voiced out their condemnation against the alleged dispersal implemented by Makati City police.

Meanwhile, Makati City Police OIC S/Supt Ernesto Barlam was asked by INQUIRER.net on their response to the claims of the protesters but refused to issue a statement.

The militant groups said they would hold a candle-lighting program on Monday night where they will offer prayers to save Veloso’s life.

Veloso, a mother of two young boys, was arrested in 2010 at Yogyakarta Airport after she was caught with 2.6 kilograms of heroin on her bag.

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TAGS: Execution, harassment, Human trafficking, Mary Jane Veloso, Migrante International, Protest, Sol Pillas
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