As I mentioned before, a representative from TLF Share and Akbayan was at the police precinct helping to secure the release of the PLU clients of Queeriosity Palace who were detained when the establishment was raided by the unscrupulous Pasay City Police last September 24. (The rep was also live-tweeting the incident.) Earlier tonight, he has posted to the TLF Share’s Facebook page his official report on the raid.
Here are some excerpts from the report:
The policemen in the precinct were cooperative initially and allowed the community representative who arrived in the precinct to talk to the manager. However, when asked about the details of the raid and the charges that would be filed against the arrested individuals, they became hostile. They asked for the representative's ID and discovered that he is a congressional staffer of Akbayan. One of the policemen derisively said, 'O, taga-Akbayan ka pala. Binoto ko pa naman kayo. Alam ko ang pinaglalaban ng Akbayan, pero bakit kayo pumapasok sa kalaswaan?'. ("So you're from Akbayan. I voted for you. I know what Akbayan stands for, but why are you into promiscuity?") They ignored the questions asked by the representative, refusing even to give their names. They all went to a room, apparently to confer among themselves.
The community representative negotiated with the police and urged them to release the detained patrons and clients, explaining that condoms cannot be used as evidence for prostitution. He also informed Rep. Kaka Bag-ao of Akbayan, who at around 4 AM contacted Pasay City Rep. Emy Calixto-Rubiano, whose brother is the incumbent Mayor of Pasay City.
At around 5 AM, one policeman, who introduced himself as Officer Bimbo, said that 'marami na ang tumatawag dito', admitting that "may mga nakikialam na". (We are already getting a lot of calls, some officials are already intervening).
The head of the unit, who introduced himself ay Officer Raymund Montante (it was learned later that Montante is not his real surname), approached the representative and said that 'payag na kami pakawalan sila, arbor na lang' (The clients will now be released with no charges as a favor) and that their release was just being processed. The staff members of the establishment, however, will be charged because one of them reportedly admitted that prostitution is indeed taking place in the bath house. The community representative clarified to the police that the clients should not be asked to pay anything for their release, and 'Officer Montante' assured him that no 'processing fee' would be asked.
At around 6 AM, the police started releasing the clients. Those who got out told the community representative that they were actually asked to pay, from P100 to P2,000, or depending on the amount of money that the police would find in their pockets or wallets. They would take the cellphone, too, if the cash was deemed insufficient.
(Also, in case you missed it, here’s the initial statement of the owner of QP.)
If I’m not mistaken, this report will be part of the documentation that will be used in order to push for changes such that these raids will never happen again. While I think that the Queeriosity raid is a far cry from the Stonewall riots, I fervently hope that something positive will come out of this sorry incident.