Progressive solons call for investigation of violent San Juan demolition


Progressive party-list solons belonging to the MAKABAYAN coalition in the House of Representatives are calling for a Congressional investigation into the January 11 demolition in Barangay Corazon de Jesus, San Juan City.
Representatives Antonio Tinio of ACT Teachers, Rafael Mariano of Anakpawis, Neri Colmenares of Bayan Muna, Luz Ilagan of Gabriela Women’s Party, and Raymond Palatino of Kabataan filed House Resolution 2072, “Resolution Condemning the Violent and Brutal Expulsion of Residents and Demolition of their Homes in Barangay Corazon de Jesus, Pinaglabanan, City of San Juan on 11 January 2012, and Calling for an Immediate Investigation into the Same.”

The legislators condemned the violence and brutality employed in the expulsion of over 100 resident families in Barangay Corazon de Jesus. “The San Juan demolition is the most violent among the demolitions that have swept Metro Manila urban poor communities under the present administration of President Aquino,” said Rep. Tinio.

The solon cited reports of residents and their supporters, including those from progressive organizations, being subjected to excessive force and violence by the police and private demolition teams deputized by the local government. According to them, the authorities used firearms with live ammunition, resulting in a 16-year old male being shot in the elbow. They also subjected male residents, including minors, to excessive beatings, and made use of tear gas in the cramped quarters of the community. They also  alleged that the demolition teams pilfered and looted their private property after they demolished their homes. Nineteen residents, including minors, were also arrested.

In order to avoid the recurrence of violent demolitions, the solon stressed that Congress urgent needs to urgently review the rules and regulations governing the conduct of demolitions by the police or other entities, particularly the rules (1) on the requisites prior to the conduct of demolitions, (2) the chain of command and responsible persons, and (3) rules of engagement and criminal, administrative, or civil liabilities for violations of the same.

“There is a need to identify those accountable for any excesses perpetrated against residents and to review existing rules and regulations governing the conduct of demolitions of urban poor residences by public authorities or private entities, in order to avoid the recurrence of similar incidents in the future,” Tinio said.

The progressive solons are calling for an indefinite moratorium on all demolitions and the implementation of a comprehensive social housing program for the urban poor. #

Reference: ACT Teachers Party-List Rep. Antonio L. Tinio (0920-922-0817)