/ 30 June 2021

ACT Teachers Partylist Rep. France Castro on Tuesday welcomed the ruling of the Zambales provincial prosecutor in favor of teacher Ronnel Mas.

Mas was charged by the National Bureau of Investigation with inciting to sedition. The case was dismissed, prompting the NBI to appeal the ruling.

“Tatlong beses na nabigo ang NBI na patunayan ang pagkakasala ni Teacher Ronnel Mas, dapat na nilang itigil ang pananakot at harassment laban kay Teacher Ronnel at sa mga nais magsabi ng mga kritisismo sa ating gobyerno,” Castro said.

“Patong-patong na human rights violations na ang dinanas ni Teacher Ronnel mula noong ilegal siyang inaresto, pinaamin, pinahiya at tinortyur. Dapat talagang managot ang mga gumawa nito kay Teacher Ronnel,” she added.

The lawmaker said that those behind the arrest and filing of the case should be held accountable.

“The charges faced by teacher Ronnel reek of double standard and refusal to follow due process,” she stressed.

“Ang panawagan namin sa NBI at sa iba pa, itigil na ang panghaharas sa mga kritiko ng Pangulo  at ng kanyang administrasyon at tugisin ang totoong mga kriminal na pumapatay sa buhay at kabuhayan ng mamamayang Filipino,” Castro said.

She added that her group will continue to fight attempts to curtail the people’s right to free speech.

“It is a hypocrisy of law enforcement when ordinary people are arrested, harassed and threatened for posting on social media while the President continues his tirades against his critics,” Castro said.

The lawmaker thanked all those who helped and supported Mas, particularly the lawyers from the Free Legal Assistance Group.