Court dismisses case against Piston 6 after 4 years

This article is available in Pilipino

Almost four years later, a Caloocan City court on April 19 dismissed the case against six jeepney drivers who are members of the Pagkakaisa ng mga Samahan ng Tsuper and Operator Nationwide (Piston), also known as the Piston 6. The drivers were arrested on June 2, 2020 while holding a protest in Caloocan City to demand the resumption of their transport during the pandemic. They were detained for a week and only temporarily released after posting bail.

The court upheld Piston 6’s “demurrer to evidence” which emphasized that the charge of “Simple Resistance and Disobedience to a Person in Authority” filed against them by the arresting police officers had no sufficient grounds. Among those detained at the time were Elmer Cordero, then 72, and Piston’s Deputy Secretary General, Ruben Baylon.

The Piston 6 was arrested for allegedly violating the “lockdown” that was being implemented in Metro Manila at the time. Piston already earlier insisted that this was just a pressure tactic against their struggle for reinstatement as they observed proper distancing during the protest.

It can be recalled that during the pandemic, jeepney drivers condemned the US-Duterte regime for prohibiting them from traveling under the pretext of “measures” related to the Covid-19 pandemic. Worse, “modern jeeps” were even favored during this period. This tactic was also used in the implementation of the rotten Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program and the gradual phase-out of jeepneys. This resulted in excessive losses and destitution of drivers and operators.

Piston says the dismissal of the case against the drivers is proof that the demand for livelihood and the fight to keep the jeeps on the market is correct. “This only further exposes the state’s wanton repression of militant collective action to defend our livelihood,” the group insisted.

AB: Court dismisses case against Piston 6 after 4 years