BY CYRA CORRAL
FOUR members of youth group Panday Sining, the cultural arm of leftist group Anakbayan, were arrested by policemen from the Manila Police District on Saturday night for allegedly vandalizing an LRT post along Recto Avenue.
The police yesterday identified the four as Jeanne Vaughn Nico Quijano, 24; Joven Francis Laura, 24, post-graduate student of Dela Salle University; Mikhail Collado, 18, 4th year college student of Saint Benilde University; and a minor. The police said they are residing in Sampaloc, Manila.
The MPD Intelligence Division allegedly caught the four vandalizing the LRT post in the middle of the celebration of 156th birth anniversary of Andres Bonifacio.
But Panday Sining said eight of its members were on their way home from the Bonifacio Day mobilization in Manila when they were approached by police in civilian clothes and arrested. The group also said at least one was kicked in the chest during the arrest.
Panday Sining recently spearheaded a “Graffiesta” which filled public walls and spaces of Manila with graffiti and stencil art calling attention to national and socio-economic issues.
The group has sprayed newly-painted portions of the Lagusnilad underpass with protest slogans with the tag ‘PS’ (Panday Sining).
The group later apologized for the underpass vandalism but Mayor Isko Moreno who has condemned it rejected the apology.
“You were warned. I gave an advice and asked to stop doing it. But you all did it all over again. You were all trying to find if there’s a law and a leadership in Manila,” Moreno said yesterday.
Various groups like Anakbayan, Concerned Artists of the Philippines, SAKA (Sama-samang Artista para sa Kilusang Agraryo), called for the release of the four, insisting that street art, freedom of expression, and anger over government choices are not crimes.
To commemorate the birth anniversary of Andres Bonifacio, Panday Sining’s protest art posed the question: “What would Bonifacio do?”
Panday Sining in a statement said, it will not stop in its mission to create art that arouses, organizes, and mobilizes the masses.
The arrested members was brought to Manila Prosecutor’s Office accompanied by their lawyers and a Bayan Muna representative, where they were charged with malicious mischief, vandalism, resisting arrest, and interfering in police duties.