By Anthony Giron
IMUS CITY, Cavite – An activist who heckled President Duterte while delivering a speech at the Aguinaldo Shrine on Independence Day in Kawit, this province, was charged before the Cavite Provincial Prosecutor’s Office here Wednesday.
The Cavite Police Provincial Office filed the case against 20-year-old Francis Couichie, a Bagong Alyansang Makabayan member and a resident of Barangay Caingin, Sta. Rosa City, Laguna.
Cavite Provincial Prosecutor’s Office Administrative Officer Ava G. Geronimo said that the Cavite police charged Couichie for violating Article 153 of the Revised Penal Code or disturbance of public gathering.
Kawit police reported that Couichie and nine other militants chanted, among others, “Hunyo A Dose, Huwad na Kalayaan” and held a small placard bearing “Kapayapaan para sa Lahat at Lahat para sa Kapayapaan.”
The Cavite Police Mobile Force Co. accosted the group but Senior Supt. William M. Segun, Cavite police director, said that Couchie’s companions scampered and managed to escape. “Siyam po nakatakbo,” Segun said.
The militants were in a rain-drenched alley fronting the balcony and the makeshift stage for cameramen and photographers.
Police said they are now figuring out how the militants manage to enter amid the tight security at the sprawling shrine.
Duterte paused and smiled while being heckled and said, “Hayaan mo lang. It’s a freedom of speech. You can have it.
Okay lang. I will understand,” Duterte said. “Our Constitution guarantees freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, and free of expression so I would just advise the law enforcement to just deal with them peacefully and exercise maximum tolerance,” the President added.