DAVAO CITY — Partido ng Demokratikong Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) presidential standard bearer Mayor Rodrigo Duterte has slammed organizers of the campaign rally for his opponent presidential candidate Senator Grace Poe for accusing City Hall of barring them from holding their sortie here.
Duterte said anyone including Poe and her runningmate Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero can stage a rally in his bailiwick regardless of their political affiliation.
This was Duterte’s reaction to the accusation of Poe’s camp that City Hall did not grant them a permit to hold a rally in Davao, prompting organizers to cancel the sortie.
“They can come here (Davao) anytime — this is a democracy. They can come here anytime and mag-rally (hold rally),” said Duterte, who was in Davao City to attend the inauguration of the JMC College of Law Monday.
Duterte said those who wish to hold rallies in his city would only need to inform the police about their preferred venue and coordinate with the City Transport and Traffic Management Office (CTTMO) to avoid traffic.
Meanwhile, in a statement, Duterte’s spokesperson Peter Laviña blamed “lazy” organizers for the canceled rally.
“The claim that Sen. Grace Poe and her vice presidential running mate Chiz Escudero were barred from conducting a rally in Davao City is simply baseless if not ridiculous,” Laviña said.
He said Poe’s organizers did not do their job. “That’s not our fault or the city government of Davao’s fault,” Laviña said.
Based on the city government’s policy, Laviña said groups conducting rallies in Davao City’s public parks are required to pay only P150 for use of electricity. They are also required to coordinate with the CTTMO and the Central 911 for standby emergency unit. The processing of permits is usually completed within a day.
“We learned that there was an application, but this application was not pursued. Hindi na bumalik ang nag-file. Tamad, napagod siguro o naghahanap ng rason. Kaninong kasalanan yan (The one who applied did no return. Lazy, maybe he was tired or looking for a reason. Who’s fault was that?” Laviña pointed out.
He said it is not the nature and character of Duterte — or Davao City for that matter — to curtail the freedom of groups and people to use public spaces.
“Davao City is known for its respect and tolerance to groups and people who want to exercise their freedom and use public spaces to protest and express grievances or political views or religious beliefs peacefully,” said Laviña.
Even progressive organizations are free to use parks and other public spaces to conduct rallies in Davao.
“It is unfortunate that the senator’s camp is twisting the facts, making it appear like a permit was not granted because of politics,” he said. PNA/northboundasia.com