A QUEZON City court ordered the arrest of Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Operator Nationwide (Piston) leader George San Mateo chief on Tuesday for leading a strike in February.
Judge Don Ace Mariano Alagar of the Quezon City Metropolitan Trial Court Branch 43 issued the warrant of arrest against San Mateo for violation of Section 20 (k) of the Public Service Act.
Part of the initial complaint read: “(San Mateo) violated Section 20 and Section 24 of the Public Service Act which provides that the act of conducting a transport strike is an adoption or application of a measure which affects the public in relation to the public service which the transport sector was supposed to provide.”
San Mateo was charged in court last November 30 and was recommended a bail of P4,000.
Meanwhile Piston’s secretary general Steve Ranjo told The Manila Times that the group has sought the assistance of its legal counsel regarding the matter.
“Safe naman po si Ka George sa ngayon at pinag-uusapan pa po naming ‘yung next steps namin,” he said.
(Ka George is safe for now and we are discussing our next steps.)
Meanwhile, militant groups denounced on Tuesday the order of arrest of San Mateo for protesting against the jeepney phaseout under the government’s fleet modernization program.
“This an obvious attempt of the Duterte administration to curtail the rights of the jeepney drivers to express their grievances,” said Kabataan Party List Rep. Sarah Elago in a statement.
“Kaya kami nagrereact dito, ito ay very clear na harassment sa lehitimong protesta sa mga drayber kaugnay sa isyu ng jeepney phaseout,” Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) secretary general Jerome Adonis told The Manila Times.
(This is why we are reacting because this is a clear case of harassment on a legitimate protest of drivers in relation to the issue of the jeepney phaseout.)
Adonis recounted that about 30 policemen from Quezon City and Manila Police District barged into the KMU headquarters at around 9 p.m. on Monday to serve a warrant of arrest to San Mateo.
“Ang ipinagtataka lang namin, halos hatinggabi na sineserve yung warrant,” Adonis added.
(We are wondering why the warrant was served close to midnight.)
“Mula nang mag-anunsyo si Duterte ng crackdown sa mga progresibong organisasyon sunod-sunod na po ito,” Adonis added.
(Arrests have been made eversince Duterte announced a crackdown on progressive organizations.)
Piston, along with No to Jeepney Phaseout Coalition, Kilusang Mayo Uno and other groups converged on Monday and held a transport caravan in Mendiola in place of a two-day nationwide transport strike supposedly held until today, Tuesday.
The groups warned that they would mount a bigger transport strike pending a Senate hearing to be presided over by Sen. Grace Poe as chairman of the Committee on Public Services on December 11.