QCPD files complaint vs. Bayan over burning of effigy; Reyes says it is harassment

The Quezon City Police District (QCPD) has filed a complaint against Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) Secretary General Renato Reyes and others over the burning of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s effigy in a protest held last July for the State of the Nation Address (SONA).

According to the complaint affidavit shared by Reyes on X on Wednesday, Police Staff Sergeant Mario Sembrano and Police Corporal Paolo Navarro filed a case for violation of Section 13, 3(g), of the Public Assembly Act of 1985.

The respondents are Reyes, Max Santiago, the artist of the effigy, and three John Does.

“[U]nder the supervision of its President, Renato M. Reyes Jr., maliciously burned in front of several media personalities and passer-by, in an open space or in the streets of the ‘Doble Cara Effigy’ of President Marcos Jr., which they also prepared and assembled by themselves,” the complaint read.

“This greatly contributed to air pollution which grossly contradicts the government program in ensuring the protection of public health and environment. A clean and healthy environment is for the good of all and should, therefore, be the concern of all,” it added.

In his post, Reyes called the complaint a “harassment suit,” saying he wasn’t even present in the rally. Reyes said he also noticed that his name was only handwritten on the cover page of the complaint.

“This is clearly a harassment suit because I wasn’t even present at the SONA rally. I was on a trip abroad. I was mid-air when the rally happened. I challenge the QCPD to produce any picture of me at the SONA rally last July 2023. We will file a complaint vs. these policemen,” he said.

According to Reyes, there is nothing wrong with the burning of an effigy, saying it is part of protected free speech.

“This ridiculous trumped-up complaint it seems is in retaliation for our public statements exposing the QCPD for its harassment of Max and our members from Bayan Southern Tagalog,” he said.

Reyes said the complaint, filed on August 24, was recycled from an earlier complaint filed by the QCPD against Santiago and others for violation of the Clean Air Act.

“This is a retaliation for our statements last August exposing the trumped-up cases they filed vs. Max and Bayan ST. I think the former QCPD chief is behind all this,” he told GMA News Online.

Though they received a subpoena on October 3, Reyes said the complaint was not attached to it. He said they only received the complaint on October 20.

“We will file our answer on November 10 and we will take legal action against the policemen for this malicious complaint,” he said.

GMA News Online has sought comment from the QCPD but has yet to receive a response as of posting time. —KG, GMA Integrated News

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