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San Juan Gossip Mills Outlet

A veritable fanatic of the Internet. His avocation is teaching while his main vocation is practicing the much maligned law profession. Currently teaching Constitutional Law at the FEU Institute of Law and a guest lecturer at the De La Salle University teaching "Freedom and Regulation in Cyberspace" in the Graduate Program of the Department of Communication. He is married to his beautiful Ateneo law school classmate and is blessed with a daughter and a son.

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Location: San Juan, Metro Manila, Philippines

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Capital of Repression II - The Long Wait

I thought that the Black Friday Protest would always be peaceful and non-confrontational, i.e., something the police would not even bother dispersing. A description of the previous protests would show its creativity but in terms of attracting police attention, the protests were not in the league of those water-cannoned so many moons ago.

I will beg the indulgence of Helga. Our narration might converge on some areas that night but I will merely touch on my personal experience.

And so, it was to my surprise that last Friday, I got a call from Leah Navarro that the Black and White convenors and friends who participated in the Baywalk Stroll were blocked and Dinky Soliman and Enteng Romano were arrested while they were just crossing the Ped Xing a few steps after stepping off the Aristocrat sidewalk. If Dinky, Enteng and the Black Friday Protesters were the Baywalk Strollers, Supt. Pedrozo and his ilk were the Baywalk Trolls.

A few minutes after the call, I called up Leah and told her I will be going to the Western Police District (“WPD”) Headquarters. When I reached WPD, media was already there. What would have otherwise been a nominal news item buried in page 8 of any broadsheet became a page-one event. Indeed, the Black Friday Protests have arrived.

When I entered WPD, Manolo Quezon III and Leah Navarro ushered me into the small mezzanine room of Superintendent and Atty. Paglinawan, the PNP lawyer preparing the Joint-Affidavit of Arrest. Once inside, I saw the Arrested Twins, Dinky and Enteng, seated side by side in a sofa where they were poster models of steeled serenity and jovial wit. Butch Abad was the first lawyer present.

I met Atty. Paglinawan and for the next two hours, more or less, he was at his laptop typing the allegations of the Joint-Affidavit of Arrest consulting his copy of B. P. Blg. 880 (Public Assembly Act), interrupted incessantly by calls to his cell phone (I counted no less than 8 times to which he would rise up, turn his back, cover his mouth and speak in a low tone). At the same time, he would be fielding questions from a very aggressive media who seemed to have forgotten that PP 1017 has been lifted in all but practice.

By then, Hector Soliman arrived, followed a little later by Marvic Leonen who came all the way from UP and Marlon Manuel who came from Ateneo Rockwell. All in all, there were five of us lawyers, 3 lawyers from the Ateneo tradition of Fr. Bernas, not that of Intengan, and 2 from the ever-reliable Malcolm Hall of UP. Between and among the five of us, we had more than 85 years of law practice.

Since the room was small, Atty. Paglinawan, who by then, had not yet even finished the Joint Affidavit of Arrest, requested all of us, including media, to descend to the first floor. Once downstairs, we just waited and waited and waited whether the multiple-paged Affidavit being prepared by Atty. Paglinawan would see the light of the night, it being already past 9 p.m., I think.

While we were waiting, a source from within the WPD approached and informed Manolo the reason the Affidavit was taking time to be finalized was to ensure that no inquest proceedings will take place that night in order to ensure the detention of Dinky and Enteng, the object purpose of the whole delay was to humiliate and embarrass Dinky.

Of course, Manolo, not knowing the identity of the source, just relayed the information to us. However, on hindsight, the source appeared to be reliable because when we finally saw the Joint Affidavit of Arrest, it was incredibly a mere two-page Affidavit which by Atty. Paglinawan’s long years of experience with the PNP would have expertly drafted a two-page Affidavit in a manner of minutes.

So, what changed?

As correctly described by Helga, the arrival of former president, Cory Aquino, changed the temper and atmosphere of the whole scene. Media got excited, Dinky and Enteng got re-energized, and Cory, in her fashionable yellow (like patis, being pirated by the Thais), brought strength, courage and moral support not only to the two but to all the participants of the Baywalk Stroll. Even the policemen and women who were clearly exhausted and totally spaced out with the whole brouhaha felt an air of soothing calm with Cory’s presence. The potency of Cory magic was very evident that night. Through it all, Cory stayed up with the Arrested Twins, giving aid and comfort and just as determined to see the whole thing through.

Soon thereafter, Atty. Paglinawan informed me, Marvic and Marlon that the inquest will be conducted in the City Hall in the office of Assistant City Prosecutor Glenda Ramos, but not before I saw Atty. Paglinawan coached and prepared the two police-complainants, Rose Sy, the Asst. Station Commander and Marcelino Pedrozo, the Station Commander of the 9th Precinct of WPD on the second floor of the WPD.

To Manila City Hall we went.

(Next: The Release of the Twins)


2 Comments:

Blogger Dominique said...

Hi, I was reading your account and came on the line "Dinky and Enteng got enervated...." But, er, enervated means "to be sapped in strength." Is that what you meant, or did you mean "re-energized?"

2:05 PM  
Blogger Edwin Lacierda said...

Dominique,

Yes, what I meant was re-energized and if you will permit me, I will use the word you suggested.

Thank you for the correction.

3:52 PM  

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