Letter to the Quezon City Government applying for a rally permit for SONA

Posted: July 15, 2011 in Socio-Political
July 15, 2011
HON. HERBERT BAUTISTA
Mayor
Quezon City
Warm greeting of peace!
The Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, an umbrella organization of various sectors and progressive groups, will hold its annual State of the Nation Address (SONA) rally on July 25, from 7am to 6pm. The event is an occasion for the people to air their grievances to government. As in recent years, the rally is expected to be peaceful and would not threaten public safety or morals.
Consistent with our constitutional rights, we ask the City Government of Quezon City to issue the necessary permit for the July 25 rally along Batasan Road, in front of the Batasang Pambansa, from 7am to 6pm.
We believe that the people have the right to air their grievances as close as possible to the institution that they are addressing their demands to. Moreover, Batasan road is a wide enough highway to accommodate the protesters. This will also decongest the main road that is Commonwealth Avenue, which is the usual site of the SONA rally. The time that was set forth in this action includes the time to set up the equipment, stage and sound system which are essential to the mass action.
Should the City Government deny or modify this application for a permit, we would like to call its attention to the guidelines set forth in Batas Pambansa 880 and in recent Supreme Court decisions on the issue of rally permits.
Batas Pambansa 880 states that:
(cIf the mayor is of the view that there is imminent and grave danger of a substantive evil warranting the denial or modification of the permit, he shall immediately inform the applicant who must be heard on the matter.
(d) The action on the permit shall be in writing and served on the application [sic] within twenty-four hours.
The Supreme Court in its decision in Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) vs. Manila Mayor Lito Atienza (G.R. No. 175241 ), the High Court said that the mayor committed grave abuse of discretion when he modified the permit without informing the applicant and without showing proof that the protest action presented clear and present danger to the public. The IBP was represented in the case by its national president Jose Anselmo Cadiz, who incidentally is now the Solicitor General. We are attaching the SC decision to this application.
We cite these important provisions to avoid any situation wherein the City
Government, particularly the Department of Public Order and Safety, will arbitrarily modify or deny a permit without stating the bases thereof. Such will be a clear violation of the law. We believe that such has been the practice of the DPOS in previous SONA rallies. Such arbitrary modification cannot and should not be allowed to continue. The City Government must show proof that a particular rally poses clear and present danger to the public before it can deny or modify a permit. 
We would also like to reiterate to the City Government that based on BP 880, the approving authority must act on the application within two days from filing, or the permit will be deemed granted.
Likewise, it is the City Government –not the Philippine National Police, the Presidential Security Group nor even Malacanang– that is the approving authority for rally permits. We therefore object to the practice of the PNP as the entity that sets the terms and conditions for the approval of rally permits.
We hope that the City Government acts favorably on this application and uphold the applicant’s right to peaceably assemble. Likewise, we assure the City Government and the general public of the peaceful and organized conduct of the mass action.
On behalf of Bayan and the rally participants,
RENATO M. REYES, JR.
Secretary General
Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN)

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