Protest mars Duterte Independence Day speech

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Police subdue protesters at the Aguinaldo Shrine in Kawit, Cavite on June 12, 2018. One protester, Francis Couichie (inset), who heckled Pres. Duterte while he was delivering a speech, was arrested. (BOSS image)

A GROUP of protesters who tried to disrupt the 120th Independence Day ceremony in Kawit, Cavite on Tuesday were dispersed by police with one of them arrested for heckling President Duterte while he was delivering a speech.

The Kawit Municipal Police Station identified the heckler as Francis Couichie, 20, of Sta. Rosa, Laguna.

Couichie was repeatedly shouting “huwad na kalayaan” (fake freedom) and waving a placard containing the words “Kapayapaan para sa lahat at lahat para sa kapayapaan ng bayan” (Peace for all and all for the peace of the nation) prompting officers of the Cavite Police Mobile Force Company to arrest him.

Couichie was charged with “tumultuous disturbance or interruption liable to cause disturbance” under the Revised Penal Code. He faces up to four months imprisonment and a P1,000 fine if convicted.

Meanwhile, Duterte told protesters that despite their differences, they had at least one common denominator.

“We may not understand each other but at least there is a common denominator and that is love of country,” Duterte said in his speech where he led the flag-raising ceremony amid the pouring rains.

Duterte said that he understood the reason why protesters staged their outcry, saying the 1987 Constitution itself guarantees freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, and free expression.

“It’s freedom of speech. You can have it. Okay lang. I will understand,” Duterte said.

“Our Constitution guarantees freedom of the press, freedom of assembly and free expression. So I would just advise the law enforcement to just deal with them peacefully and the maximum tolerance,” he said.

p: wjg

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