5 PUP stude leaders charged with robbery for taking chairs out during indignation rally

March 25, 2010 10:09 pm 

MANILA, March 25 –Five student leaders of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP), who led some 60 university students in an indignation rally last Wednesday afternoon were charged with robbery with intimidation and violence at the Manila Prosecutor’s Office.

Charged were PUP student leaders Ferrin Louise Soriano,19, 2nd year college; Cheysser Soriano,19, 4th year college, President of the Central Student Council; Judy Anne Fabito,19, 4th year college; Piem Canela,18, 2nd year college; and Abriel Mansilungan, 20, 3rd year college, secretary general of Kabataan Partylist, all residents of 118-B Scout Rallos, Barangay Sacred Heart, Quezon City.

Chief Inspector Marcelo Reyes, head of the Manila Police District -GAS section, said police filed the criminal charges Wednesday at the Manila City Prosecutor's Office.

The case stemmed from the complaint filed by Leonardo Coquilla, chief of the security division of PUP in Manila.

Coquilla alleged that the five student leaders took out several school properties without the university's consent.

Reyes said the incident occurred at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday. They took out the chairs out of the university while some 60 PUP students barged inside the said public campus to hold their indignation rally against the 1,700 percent tuition hike in PUP.

During the protest action, the militant students allegedly carried out at least 13 PUP chairs and placed these into two passenger jeepneys bearing the license plates TWU-753 and TVY – 797 without the consent of the university officials.

Soriano denied that they intended to steal the chairs – which they described as garbage – as she said that they only planned to show it to the CHED chairman in their demonstration that day.

"Our security personnel were outnumbered and although they were armed, they could not prevent the students since they were ordered to implement the maximum tolerance," Coquilla said.

The two vehicles, which were carrying the school properties and the five militant leaders, were only flagged down by the joint elements of the MPD-Station 5 policemen and PUP security guards upon reaching a police outpost on Valenzuela Street, in Sta. Mesa Manila.

The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) Chairman Emmanuel Angeles categorically and clearly declared that no tuition increase will be approved or implemented in the school.

Angeles, who is also the Chairman of the PUP Board of Regents (BOR), vowed that he will vote against the proposed tuition increase on March 29.

"We are now assured of two votes against the tuition hike during the scheduled BOR meeting on Monday. The students only needed 6 to 7 people so that we can say we have been triumphant in our cause. But it was a setback on our part because we got detained here," Soriano said.

Soriano, who is the president of the PUP student council and PUP chairperson of militant group Anak-bayan, said that their arrest was allegedly made to harass the students who were not in favor of the tuition increase.

"We are confident that they will withdraw the charges they filed against us. They know that we are getting sympathies from different sectors and I know that they know they are just humiliating themselves,” said Soriano. (PNA) RMA/JES

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