UPDATE: As of 6:35 p.m., June 9, all six jeepney drivers of #Piston6 have been released. In a press release, Piston thanks all the people who helped spread awareness about the detainment of the jeepney drivers who were merely protesting for their livelihoods. Mondy Floranda, the president of Piston also expressed anger at what the drivers went through in prison.
According to them, this event has exposed how the government is really treating the drivers who have lost their source of income during this health crisis. The statement reads, “Sa anim na drayber, ipinasilip ng gubyerno kung anong kalagayan ng libo-libong mga tsuper at jeepney operator kung tuluyang ipha-phase out ang mga jeepney para paboran ang malalaking dayuhan at lokal na negosyante sa bansa.”
Originally posted June 9, 2020, 5 p.m.
Four jeepney drivers from transport group Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Operator Nationwide (Piston) have been released from detainment yesterday, June 9. The group previously posted bail for all six drivers last June 8.
The six drivers were arrested in Caloocan last June 2 for not obeying social distancing protocols and creating a mass gathering. The group was protesting for the resumption of jeepney operation in the metro during general community quarantine. They have been detained for almost a week before majority were released yesterday.
4 na PISTON laya, 2 mananatiling nakapiit, Tuloy ang laban
Apat sa PISTON 6 ang nakalaya ngayong araw. Dalawa ang mananatiling nakapiit dahil may kapangalan silang may kaso. Sila si Elmer Cordero at Wilson Ramilla. #FreeElmerCordero#FreeWilsonRamilla pic.twitter.com/XOXgjBCCYD
— PISTON (@pistonph) June 8, 2020
However, Elmer Cordero and Wilson Ramilla still remain in detention because of pending cases attached to their names. According to a report by Inquirer, police records recorded an “Elmer Cordero” for a pending case of estafa.
Their lawyer, Atty. Vicente Jaime Topacio, said that Cordero is not aware of any case against him and that records will be checked today to verify if the jeepney driver is the same one with the record.
According to police court records, Ramilla will continue to be detained because he was convicted of an offense. However, Atty. Topacia clarifies that Ramilla had already served his sentence and had been released since then.
As of 1:45 p.m., Piston, through their official Twitter account, updated that the two jeepney drivers are still going through the process of release and making sure that the documents are in order. In the tweet, they said that everything has to be in order by 5 p.m. today for the two men to be released.
Sana marinig din natin ang salitang “compassion” sa sitwasyon ni Lolo Elmer ng #Piston6, 72 years old, na mag-iisang linggo na na sa kulungan.
— Bianca Gonzalez (@iamsuperbianca) June 8, 2020
News of the release reached social media last night, but people were still calling for the remaining two, especially 72-year-old Cordero, to be released immediately because he faces a higher risk of contracting COVID-19 while in jail.
In a press briefing today, Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said their case will still be monitored. He continued, ” Regardless of your age, ‘pag may pending case, kinakailangan harapin ‘yung kaso.” In case you’re forgetting, Imelda Marcos had been allowed by the Sandiganbayan to post bail for her graft and corruption cases (which are normally non-bailable) back in 2018, when she was 89 years old.
The four who were released first—Severino Ramos, Ramon Paloma, Ruben Baylon and Arsenio Ymas Jr.—also held a press conference where they voiced their hopes that Cordero and Ramilla be released as well. They also recounted how they were just working to get food on the table and how it’s not a crime to ask for cash assistance and resumption of jeepney operations from the government.
Pakinggan ang kalulunos-lunos na sitwasyon ng Piston 6 sa bilangguan:
— PISTON (@pistonph) June 8, 2020
Lastly, they also thanked those who mobilized to help get them out of jail. One of the drivers, Ramon Paloma, said “Mabuti na lamang at dumating ang tulong mula sa iba’t ibang organisasyon at indibidwal, hindi lang para sa amin na nasa kulungan kundi para rin sa mga pamilyang naiwan sa bahay.”
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