By: FRED DOBLIZO
ILOILO City – Militant transport group Pinag-isang Samahan ng nga Tsuper at Opereytors Nationwide (PISTON) – Panay condemns the abusive ‘arrest order’ made by Iloilo City Councilor Plaridel Nava against a PISTON member here while the group was holding a peaceful picket at the Iloilo Plazoleta Gay, September 30.
Edgar Salarda, coordinator of PISTON Panay, said that while PISTON members criticized the traffic scheme employed by the Iloilo City government which miserably failed to curb the traffic problem, Councilor Nava dropped by at the picket area and ordered a member of the Transportation Management and Traffic Regulation Office (TMTRO) to arrest the driver of the public utility jeepney used by the protesters and confiscate his license.
“To peacefully assemble in the form of a picket and air grievances is not a criminal offense. To criticize a traffic policy is not a crime. Why order the arrest of a driver joining this mass action and confiscate his license? Councilor Nava seems to exercise whimsically and capriciously his power as a member of the local legislature. As head of the Committee on Transportation, we doubt he is empowered to order the arrest of a picketing member of a legitimate transport group,” lamented Salarda.
“A member of the legislative body is supposed to listen to the legitimate issues and demands raised by his constituents, not to intimidate and silence them. PISTON is not only criticizing the traffic measures adopted by the City Government but is also offering alternatives to ease the city’s traffic problem. But our suggestions were outrightly ignored and disregarded,“ he added.
PISTON Panay said that the arrest order made by Nava is patently abusive. They further said that the display of arrogance of Nava is a conduct unbecoming of being a public servant.
“No amount of intimidation and threat can silence the legitimate issues raised by PISTON as regards the traffic policy of the city government,” added Salarda.
PISTON Panay is seriously contemplating on filing appropriate charges against the ‘abusive’ city councilor. The group further claims that the incident was well-documented, proving their accusation against Nava./