Press Release
July 6, 2010

Zubiri condemns violent dispersal of farmers

Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri today condemned the violent dispersal of farmers staging a rally in Mendiola, Manila over the weekend.

Zubiri said that while the picket rally could be considered illegal because it did not have a permit from the local government of Manila, the police authorities should have negotiated diplomatically.

The Majority Leader reminded police officials that Pres. Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino had promised during his campaign for the presidency last May that he would restore democracy and justice that his parents, the late Sen. Benigno Aquino Jr. and the late Pres. Corazon Aquino had both championed.

"It's obvious our police officials were not aware of the commitments made by the new administration including his political background. It's too early for our local authorities to be brutal against any militant groups. The PNP should exercise maximum tolerance," Zubiri said.

The senator likewise appealed to the militant farmers to also give President Aquino the honeymoon period due to him.

"The same way that I'm asking the police authorities to exercise maximum tolerance to militant groups, I am also seeking their understanding to give President Aquino due time to review and address their agricultural concerns," he said.

Reports said around 42 farmers were detained at the Western Police District (WPD) following series of violent arrests by the Manila police of Luzon farmers allegedly due to Obstruction of Traffic and Littering.

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