ON February 24, University of the Philippines sociology professor and Inquirer columnist Randy David became among the the first cases of warrantless arrests under the state of emergency declared by Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo by virtue of Proclamation No. 1017.

Along with Akbayan party-list president Ronald Llamas, lawyer Argee Guevarra, and 23 others, David was arrested following the violent dispersal of Laban ng Masa members marching towards the Edsa Shrine in Ortigas to join the Edsa celebrations that day.

They were brought to Camp Karingal in Quezon City and were charged with violation of Batas Pambansa 880 (Public Assembly Act) and inciting to sedition. But they were eventually released at around 7 p.m. that night without posting bail as their cases will have to undergo "further investigation." (Lawyers say it was a face-saving move on the part of the prosecutor as the charges were without basis.)

A veteran street parliamentarian during the heady days of the Marcos dictatorship, David acknowledges being unable to join rallies and demonstrations of late, attributing this to the fact that he now officially calls himself a "senior citizen."

But February 24 was a special occasion that no amount of gray hair or aching bone would prevent David from attending. It was, after all, the week commemorating 20 years of Edsa 1, the first people power revolt that finally deposed Marcos.

Seeing how a phalanx of anti-riot policemen had blocked their way, with orders for them to disperse within five minutes, David became worried that many might get hurt. His knowledge of crowd behavior, he said, alerted him to the dangers of a stampede. He asked for a dialogue with Gen. Nicasio Radovan Jr. To his surprise though, he was apprehended in the middle of negotiations with the police officials.

To his further surprise, his captors invoked Proclamation No. 1017 as basis for his arrest.

"What’s that?" David blurted out as it was the first time he had heard of such a decree. "Nobody could tell me what it is. Obviously, not one of them has read, much less gotten hold of a copy of Proclamation 1017."

At Camp Karingal, David disclosed that a Col. Lipana even had to ask for a copy of the proclamation from one of the lawyers who came to assist them.

Recalling the events leading to his arrest and detention, David said he was appalled to see how the police assumed at once blanket authority of a draconian measure, in the process losing their civility. "Lumabas ang pagkabangis," as he described it.

By the time they were brought to the police camp, there were already about 30 people being detained. "They even thanked us, thinking we were there to visit them," related David.

The detainees were from Bagong Silang in Caloocan, many were women and children, the youngest of whom was only seven years old. David learned that they were arrested in Greenhills for a traffic violation — they were onboard a jeepney enroute to the Edsa Shrine that was out of line.

When David and his group were finally allowed to go, he thought all of those detained, which by then had grown to 85, were also being set free. He found out that they had instead been herded to the camp’s firing range.

"Most were children from the slums who hadn’t eaten since the time they were brought in," David said.

Right then, it dawned on David that he too was part of a privileged class. And it even became a source of embarrassment for him that the 20 or so lawyers, including professors of the UP College of Law, had come offering their services to him.

"After six to seven hours in detention, we were already set to be released. But the others had not been even started to be processed," he narrated. "Worse, the policemen were violating the rights of the children by having them fingerprinted, taken mugshots of, and charged like they were not aware that the minors are protected by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child."

Fortunately, lawyer Eric Mallonga of the Child Justice League and David’s wife, Karina, who is chair of the Civil Service Commission (CSC), were there to remind the police of such things.

David says he is thankful for the mistake in his arrest as he was "able to see how the poor are being treated."

"It’s sad that you need to have a face, name, title, money to have access to justice," he lamented. "My experience is nothing compared to what the poor majority in this country endures in an unjust, unequal, and insecure society, of which the Philippines under Arroyo is only a symbol of. Sadly, it is the kind of society that all of us, including the intelligentsia and the mass media, have allowed."

31 Responses to ‘My arrest was providential’ — Randy David



February 26th, 2006 at 2:11 am

Where are the promises made by GLUE-RIA to the poor of a better tomorrow by uplifting their predicament? Her “Strong Republic” has indeed turned out to be a “ROTTEN REPUBLIC.”



February 26th, 2006 at 7:47 am

hindi naman rotten republic chabeli. it is a very STRONG republic! strong with the iron grip of police and the heavy hand of military might.

how come cory, ramos and so many others are not being charged? why only the likes of beltran or honasan who apparently are being charged with ancient cases. why not the recent one if they were involved with a conspiracy to bring down Mrs. Arroyo’s Government? i prefer we all work together to improve the economy but i don’t think thats possible now because of this proclamation.

kawawa naman yung walang connection. walang pera. randy david is correct we have allowed a society like this and a society when children are locked up like that at that.

at the same time as all of this was happening 17,000 people were watching a wrestling event at the Araneta. our people are apathetic. its business as usual. both the administration and the opposition to take notice on that.

how can we change this within the framework of law and justice?



February 26th, 2006 at 8:03 am

We are now in the crossroad of our struggle in the pursuit of peace,I am ashamed of myself because I am here outside of the country and doing nothing waiting to see what’s going to happen.I remember my Pamantasan days when were bold enough to express the evil ways of Marcos.Let this be a reminder to GMA that nothing last forever especially when you run your government with corruption,deceit,and lies.And to all my “kababayans” may your struggle be peaceful and bloodless.



February 26th, 2006 at 8:15 am

yup, double standard…

they could have made MARTYRS out of the “throng” of personalities at ayala last friday…but they didn’t…they couldn’t…

for they learned the best lesson from people power…

for they know they can’t afford the backlash of people power!


Uncle Che

February 26th, 2006 at 8:32 am

The truth is that there is no credible opposition. In these times, there must be a leader who can galvanize the people and is not part of the corrupt oligarchy that have ruled the Philippines since indepedence.

People Power I and II and Poor People Power I all failed, yes they did fail. The situation today is no better than 20 years ago when Marcos was still in power. The only difference is their a lot more lip service to the idea of democracy. Those uprisings failed, either short or long term, because the entrenched power remained and the the revolution happened in Manila, without the involvement of most Filipinos.

Wanna demand change? Don’t go to Manila, go to your own city or barangay, pick up your wok and a stick and start pounding, get several hundred Lolas and Lolos to do it along with their grandchildren, do it everyday. Protest in front of the local barangay office, tax offices, any place that is a symbol of government power, do it every day from 7am to 7pm. It worked in Argentina and it can work in the Philippines

Find a leader who supports this change. Unfortunately, there is no Chavez, Morales, or Kirchner in the Philippines, but maybe a leader could arise to the occassion and bring true change to the Philippines.

The Philippines, and Gloria, I sure hope you are listening, is a failed state. The government can not protect the people, the government is not providing economic opportunities for the people, and the government is not legitimate. By government, I include Gloria and every other member of the government down to the barangay captain in the Philippines.



February 26th, 2006 at 9:13 am

Kung noon ay nagkaroon tayo ng Benigno Aquino… Ngayon naman ay dapat nating tingnan ang ginawa ni Prof. Randy David… Siya ang ating panibagong ehemplo sa pakikibaka laban sa pagmamalabis ng ating pamahalaan…

A true epitome of the aspirations of the Filipino people — Competent government, participative citizenry, principled citizenry, well-informed community, etc…

Let’s rally behind Prof. Randy David!!!

We don’t need a leader to cohese as an opposition to the government… What we need is the understanding and the conviction that action must be done to curtail and prevent abuses to our rights and intellect as Filipinos…

Gone should be the days of “you lead, we follow” principle… It’s should, “Let’s do it TOGETHER!!!”



February 26th, 2006 at 10:37 am

Uncle Che said,

February 26, 2006 @ 8:32 am

The truth is that there is no credible opposition.


Correct k jan. I think the best thing that we can do is to set ourselves as our own government. Yep, wag na tayo umasa, maniwala at sumunod sa isang bulok, corrupt at walang kwentang pamahalaan. Sila-sila lang naman nakikinabang sa mga pinaghihirapan natin, specially, our taxes. Kahit sino naman maupo jan, ganitot ganito rin lang kahahantungan natin. Eversince, the Philippine Government has never been for the Filipino people. We dont need this kind of government. But before doing this, we must overthrow GMA first. Sobra-sobra na kasi kawalanghiyaan niya eh.


De Brux

February 26th, 2006 at 10:46 am

I am appalled!

Your report about the arrest and short of detention by a band of hooligan police who didn’t even know what the charge sheet was all about is shocking but Randy David’s story of what he saw at the police station, how children were being treated by the police as common criminals is outrageous.

How can this government, Gloria’s government be as inhuman?

Not only has this horrible midget of absolutely liliputan morals coupled with gargantuanesque greed for power have breached the Constitution and thwarted the Rule of Law, she’s corrupted the very people who are supposed to protect the citzens of the Republic and uphold human rights!

She’s got to be brought down and shot by a firing squad.

Decent Filipinos cannot allow this to go on or has the nation become numb and insensitve to this punggok’s abuses?

She is corrupt as she is immoral! She’s nothing but pure inhuman thrash.

May she and her family be damned for all eternity!



February 26th, 2006 at 12:30 pm

Tignan natin ngayon if this “people power” thing will REALLY materialise.

I believe people are just sick and tired of street politics that they will probably simply sit this one out in favour of watching the usual cr@p that passes of as “entertainment”.

If we are so horrified by the corruption of government and of Pinoy society in general, maybe it would help to turn our gaze on the kind of material that this very same media keep feeding our youth.

Politicians can’t police themselves, the same way the media WON’T police its own ranks. Pare-pareho lang at sama-samang mabubulok ang Pilipinas.

Pinoys truly deserve each other.

ha ha! 😀




February 26th, 2006 at 2:29 pm

People Power failed because of individuals who instead of giving their share opted to sit out and watch things unfold…

At the end of the day, they just join the chorus of flattery or whining by the majority…

It’s alredy bad that only a few have the courage to stand up…

Worse are the people who tend to downplay efforts for change and insult them further…

With monetary or privileged conditions perhaps???



February 26th, 2006 at 2:43 pm

yeah right lbrto, actually, the only people who benifited from this line of thinking are those who are already in position, GMA.



February 26th, 2006 at 3:30 pm

“I Right then, it dawned on David that he was part of a privileged class. And it even became a source of embarrassment for him that the 20 or so lawyers, including professors of the UP College of Law, had come offering their services to him.”
It is sad that only now that an activist, a prominent opposition, a human right advocate just realized that he is one among the privileged class in a society he is fighting so hard to eliminate the so called “class”. And it took a “mistake” to bring forth his realization. Yes, Mr. David, from half way the world, I have seen long time ago how the children are being treated, how the poor and the underprivileged are being treated. And you are one among the lucky ones. I was privileged to share some of my views with you in your column and I thank you for your appreciations and thanks for them. But Isn’t now the time to do something concrete about them, instead of wasting your energy in the same Old fashion activism that hasn’t brought change ever since?? Time has change, but situation has gotten worse. Your method of trying to bring about change has not change at all..I am not as privileged as you are, but I happen to live in country where privileges open to all. And as time goes, we also change our methods to bring about these changes. Thanks..


INSIDE PCIJ: Stories behind our stories » Children's rights group assails treatment of arrested minors

February 26th, 2006 at 5:16 pm

[…] OUR post about UP sociology professor and Inquirer columnist Randy David’s experience being arrested and detained at Camp Karingal with about a hundred other marchers last February 24 has caught the attention of the children’s rights advocacy group Coalition to Stop Child Detention Through Restorative Justice Below is its statement condemning the assault on children’s rights in the name of Proclamation No. 1017.  […]



February 26th, 2006 at 6:00 pm

i think we should all open our eyes and mind and be more bothered with Proclamation 1017.. These children were held because it “was providential” too, just like Prof. Randy David’s ordeal….



February 26th, 2006 at 6:14 pm

geeee, after all the years, prof Randy did have any idea on what is being done with the children, lots of lots of children. I am not a socail scientist pero mulat ang mata ko sa mga nangyayaring eto. and this has been happening for so long. Providential nga talaga ang pagka aresto sa kanya. And now that Prof Randy has witnessed it, will he be doing something for the children?



February 26th, 2006 at 6:19 pm

And now that Prof Randy has witnessed it, will he be doing something more for the children?

But I wont ask for more Prof Randy, you have than so much for the country already!


Bahala Na Republic » Blog Archive » Philippine Media Under Fire

February 26th, 2006 at 9:30 pm

[…] First it was the rallies, then the personalities [Randy David et.al., Ka Bel, Ka Satur, Gen. Montaño, etc.], now it’s the media that is being attacked. All in the name of Proclamation no. 1071. […]



February 27th, 2006 at 12:32 am

Pinoys truly deserve each other.

— i agree.. kaya nga we have a pinoy (i assume that u are) badmouthing fellow pinoys instead of doing something about what you percieve are our shortcomings as a nation as a people.. why dont u come here and teach our children.. instead of just harping away at our faults.. or maybe u needent bother cause what your doin now is precisely what we filipinos do to each other everyday.. its called the “talangka mentality” personally i think mas experto pa kami dyan sau.. as for your advocacy of indifference.. need’nt bother with that either coz i think alot of us share your view of non action.. in spite of violations be it civil rights.. corruption etc thats goin on left and right.. so in short.. what else can u offer us that we dont already have mr benigno??


INSIDE PCIJ: Stories behind our stories » Legal challenge vs Proclamation 1017

February 28th, 2006 at 10:33 am

[…] Akbayan President Ronald Llamas, Prof. Randy David, and Rep. Erin Tañada, represented by the Roque Butuyan law firm, filed the petition before the Supreme Court early morning seeking also the issuance of a temporary restraining order. Llamas and David were among the first to be arrested under Arroyo’s declared state of emergency while marching towards the Edsa Shrine to join the commemoration of 20 years of the first people power last February 24. […]



March 1st, 2006 at 2:50 am

lesson:kasumpa-sumpa ang maging dukha sa pilipinas.



March 1st, 2006 at 2:49 pm

i agree 2 you long71, but if you allow yourself to be beaten by dogs…talagang kasumpa-sumpa talaga….masakit yun ah!


INSIDE PCIJ: Stories behind our stories » Arroyo lifts state of emergency

March 3rd, 2006 at 1:07 pm

[…] University of the Philippines professor Rand David however said he does not believe that the President was sincere in her decision to lift the state of emergency. He said Arroyo’s "history of double talk and deception" does not warrant any assurance that warrantless arrests and threats to media and freedom of expression will stop. David was picked up by police during a rally on the day Proclamation 1017 was issued. […]


INSIDE PCIJ: Stories behind our stories » Lawyers march in Edsa

March 3rd, 2006 at 6:18 pm

[…] On February 24, on the same day Proclamation 1017 was issued, University of the Philippines professor Randy David and other protesters were arrested during a protest rally held in commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the Edsa 1986 revolution. A day after that, Anakpawis Rep, Crispin Beltran was arrested for a 21-year-old charge of inciting to rebellion and was later slapped with a case of inciting to sedition. […]


INSIDE PCIJ: Stories behind our stories » Lawyers’ groups urged Supreme Court to rule on 1017

March 17th, 2006 at 4:56 pm

[…] Following its issuance, police arrested ralliers marching to the People Power Monument on February 24, among them University of the Philippines professor and Inquirer columnist Randy David. On the eve of February 25, after a stern warning from Arroyo that media should not publish rumors and baseless information, police raided the office of the Daily Tribune, an opposition newspaper, without a search warrant. On the same day, Anakpawis Rep. Crispin Beltran was arrested, without a warrant, for a 21-year-old case of inciting to rebellion. Two days after, the police came up with a list of 59 individuals, among them Beltran and other members of leftist party-list groups, including Satur Ocampo, Teddy Casino, Joel Virador of Bayan Muna, Liza Maza of Gabriela, and Rafael Mariano of Anakpawis, all said to be guilty of rebellion and insurrection “committed on February 24, 2006.” […]


INSIDE PCIJ: Stories behind our stories » Norway expresses concernover human rights situation in RP

March 21st, 2006 at 4:46 pm

[…] Ordering the military and the police to “suppress all forms of lawless violence as well as any act of insurrection or rebellion,” Arroyo said the country was under threat from a Left-Right conspiracy to overthrow the government. This led to the arrests of ralliers on February 24, the day Proclamation 1017 was issued, left-wing party-list representatives, and members of the military. The Justice Department also said some members of media are being investigated for publishing and airing “seditious” reports. […]


INSIDE PCIJ: Stories behind our stories » Supreme Court: PP 1017 partly unconstitutional

May 3rd, 2006 at 11:43 pm

[…] Following the issuance of PP 1017, University of the Philippines professor and Inquirer columnist Randy David, Akbayan national president Ronald Llamas, and members of the Kilusang Mayo Uno were arrested without warrant while they were holding street protests in celebration of the 20th anniversary of Edsa 1. […]


INSIDE PCIJ: Stories behind our stories » PNP on SC ruling on 1017: There was no abuse of authority

May 4th, 2006 at 3:38 pm

[…] The warrantless arrests and a raid of a newspaper office during the week-long state of national emergency in February were “all performed in good faith,” the Philippine National Police today said. […]


INSIDE PCIJ: Stories behind our stories » Sol Gen appeals to Supreme Court on PP 1017

June 6th, 2006 at 10:41 am

[…] Following the issuance of Proclamation 1017, police arrested several known anti-Arroyo protesters. […]


INSIDE PCIJ » Points to ponder during a political crisis

October 25th, 2006 at 6:46 pm

[…] David was among the first to be arrested without a warrant under the state of emergency declared by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo last February. He is one of Arroyo’s most vocal critics. […]


INSIDE PCIJ » 21 years after Edsa, have we moved forward?

March 31st, 2007 at 4:17 pm

[…] Talking at a forum organized by the Transparency and Accountability Network, the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, and the British Council last Wednesday, University of the Philippines professor Randy David said “the ghosts of Edsa 1 and 2 haunt us” to this day mainly because of unsettled issues on  Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s mandate and legitimacy. […]


i-site’s 2007 Election Files » 21 years after ‘People Power,’ have we moved forward?

April 11th, 2007 at 11:45 am

[…] Talking at a forum organized by the Transparency and Accountability Network, the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, and the British Council last Wednesday, University of the Philippines professor Randy David said “the ghosts of Edsa 1 and 2 haunt us” to this day mainly because of unsettled issues on Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s mandate and the legitimacy of her presidency. […]

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