PISTON leader arrested

MANILA -- Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Opereytor Nationwide (PISTON) president George San Mateo was arrested Tuesday for organizing a jeepney strike in February.

Police arrested San Mateo at the Quezon City Hall of Justice, as he was about to post bail for his case before the Quezon City Metropolitan Trial Court (MTC).

San Mateo was earlier charged before the Quezon City MTC with violation of Section 20 of Commonwealth Act 146, or the Public Service Law.

Quezon City MTC Branch 43 Judge Don Ace Mariano Alagar has found probable cause on the case filed by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) against San Mateo to issue the warrant of arrest against him.

The court also ordered the Quezon City Police District, National Bureau of Investigation and the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group to hunt down and arrest San Mateo.

San Mateo was accompanied by his legal counsel Atty. VJ Topacio, of the non-government organization (NGO) Free Labor Legal Assistance Center (FLLAC), as well as former Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) party-list Rep. Antonio Tinio.

The case of San Mateo has a corresponding bail bond of PHP4,000.

San Mateo's case involves his instigation and leading the two-day transport strike of some jeepney drivers last October 6-17.

In a press briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said that the charges lodged against the transport leader were not a form of harassment.

I think he was warned that as a holder of a franchise, a certificate of public convenience. It is criminal and it is illegal for them to participate in any tigil pasada, Roque said.

As I said, it is also pursuant to a warrant of arrest duly issued by a court and therefore, there can be now harassment here 'no. We are just allowing the rule of law to prevail, he added.

Source: Philippine News Agency