Press Release
March 18, 2006


Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Nene Q. Pimentel, Jr. (PDP-Laban) today said the arbitrary arrest of former Social Welfare and Development Secretary Corazon Dinky Soliman and dispersal of members of the Black and White Movement while they were strolling on the sidewalk of Roxas Boulevard in Manila early Friday evening shows that curtailment of basic human rights under the government of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is getting harsher as she becomes more isolated from the people.

By causing the arrest of Baywalk strollers, Gloria becomes more repressive by the hour as she clings to office. For her and the nations good, she should now resign, the opposition lawmaker said.

Pimentel said the arrest of Soliman and Vicente Romano, lead convenor of BWM, was illegal because they and their companions were not creating any traffic problem or public disturbance at the time the policemen confronted them.

He said no permit from the mayor is required under the Public Assembly Act (Batas Pambansa 880) for such an activity.

Pimentel said the incident also shows that the Arroyo government will not relent on tramping upon the constitutionally-guaranteed freedom of the people to peacefully assemble to seek redress of legitimate grievances even if the state of national emergency (Proclamation 1017) has already been lifted.

By breaking up peaceful assemblies, the more Gloria is inciting public anger, he said, citing the February-March Pulse Asia survey showing that 65 percent of the Filipino people want President Arroyo to step down.

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