A Party List Representative representing a leftist group is demanding the release of the teacher who was arrested for offering P50-M to kill President Rodrigo Duterte.
“We demand the immediate release of teacher Ronnel Mas,” ACT Teachers Rep. France Castro said in a statement on Wednesday as she condemned the arrest of Mas, a resident of Masinloc town in Zambales.
According to Castro, the arrest reeked of “double standard” as she pointed out that Duterte himself has made public several threats and gave shoot-to-kill orders to the military.
“President Duterte has been threatening to kill and even gives out shoot-to-kill orders against critics, activists and the poor which have resulted in many deaths and harassment against human rights defenders,” Castro said in a statement.
“The arrest of teacher Ronnel reeks of double standard and refuses to follow due process. It is the hypocrisy of law enforcement when ordinary people are arrested, harassed, and threatened for posting on social media while the President continues his tirades against his critics,” the lawmaker added.
Castro, likewise, slammed the manner Mas was questioned by an agent of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) while they were on their way to Manila.
The questioning was recorded and was uploaded on social media.
“They should not coerce, much less publicize an admission especially if the admission was done without a lawyer,” Castro said.
“Did the arresting officers even warn teacher Ronnel of his rights to remain silent and right to an attorney when they arrested him? They clearly violated teacher Ronnel’s custodial rights,” she added.
On May 5, Mas reportedly posted a tweet saying “I will give [a] P50 million-reward to whoever will kill Duterte #NoToABSCBNShutDown.”
But Castro said Mas’ post “does not pose any serious and actual threat to the President” since he “does not have 50 million to pay as bounty.” “Teacher Ronnel is already the third teacher who was arrested during the quarantine period for airing out their frustrations and dissatisfaction with the Duterte administration’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Castro said.
“Teachers, church people, volunteer workers, and activists have been victims of harassment, threats, and arrests during the enhanced community quarantine,” the lawmaker added.
ACT Teachers Party-List is under Makabayan bloc, a bloc of leftist groups affiliated with Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN)
On Wednesday, a construction worker in Boracay was also arrested after posting online offering P100-m to someone who could assassinate the president.