Mahayag demolition turns violent; lawyer arrested
Violence broke out between the settlers of the “Tent City” near Mandaue City’s side of the Mahiga Creek and the Mandaue City police and demolition team yesterday.
Sanlakas chairman Aaron Pedrosa was arrested by police after the commotion in sitio Mahayag, barangay Subangdaku which occurred when the settlers barred the demolition team from clearing the area.
A number of policemen from the Subangdaku police precinct and the Mandaue City Police Office and the city’s Special Weapons and Tactics (Swat) team were on standby as the demolition team tried to dismantle the tents.
When the demolition team tried to clear the makeshift barricades put up to block the entrance to the “Tent City”, the settlers started pelting them with plastic bags filled with mud and human feces.
The demolition team pulled back prompting the the police to get in in a bid to pacify the settlers.
The female settlers however, tried to drive the police away by screaming and clawing at them.
PO2 Jessie James Galo sustained scratches on his neck.
The settlers accused the policeman of attempting to rip their clothes when they tried to push them back.
“He tried to take off my clothes,” Manilfa Zuniega claimed. Her sister, Jessica, who was arrested by police, also made a similar claim. Galo denied this, saying it was the women who attacked the police.
“We are just here to protect the demolition team, to pacify them but they don’t have respect for the authorities,” Galo said. Pedrosa of Sanlakas said he tried to mediate between the settlers and the police but his hands were cuffed before he was dragged into a service vehicle of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP).
“I asked them to arrest me just to spare the settlers, because the police were already hurting them. The police operated in a manner that is against the law,” Pedrosa, a lawyer, said.
Senior Insp. Miguel Andeza, Subangdaku police precinct chief, said they are just following Mandaue City Hall’s order.
“We are here to make sure that the clearing operation will be done peacefully, but Sanlakas influenced them to think against the government. We are going to file obstruction of justice charges against Pedrosa and other Sanlakas members in the area,” Andeza said.
The 34 settlers, who refused to be relocated to the settlement site in barangay Paknaan, Mandaue City, submitted a letter to the Mandaue City Council asking them to discuss their concerns in today’s session.
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