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QCPD files charges vs Manibela over rally

MANILA, Philippines — For staging a rally in protest of the government’s public utility vehicle modernization program (PUVMP), police filed criminal charges against transport group leader Mario Valbuena.

Manibela chairman Valbuena and members Reggie Manlapig and Alvin Reyes are facing cases of violating Batas Pambansa 880 or the Public Assembly Act, alarm and scandal, and resistance and disobedience to persons in authority before the office of the city prosecutor.

Brig. Gen. Redrico Maranan, Quezon City Police District (QCPD) director, said the criminal complaints were in connection with the rally staged by Manibela on May 6.

Maranan said around 500 protesters held a rally without a permit from the local government. He added the demonstrations also affected the public.

“The rally caused grave inconvenience and disturbance,” he said in a statement.

The QCPD filed similar charges against Manibela in April, accusing the transport group of “disruptive behavior” during its two-day strike at Welcome Rotonda in Quezon City.

Manibela and another transport group, Pagkakaisa ng mga Samahan ng Tsuper at Opereytor Nationwide, have been holding transport strikes to express their opposition to the PUVMP.

The program seeks to replace traditional jeepneys with vehicles that meet the standards set by the Land Transportation Office.

Under the PUVMP, jeepney operators must consolidate their individual franchises into cooperatives or corporations.

The government gave PUV operators until April 30 to either join a cooperative or a corporation or have their vehicles considered “colorum.”