Bar 2019 topnotcher Mae Diane Azores expressed her intent to help the six jeepney drivers who were recently arrested in Caloocan City for alleged quarantine violations.
On Thursday, lawyer Henrie Famorcan Enaje, who is providing legal assistance to the six detained drivers called the “Piston 6,” shared a screenshot of a direct message from Azores. She asked how she could help their case.
Enaje’s post gained 9,900 reactions and 5,200 shares on Facebook.
On the same day, Azores also retweeted the post of Piston Philippines, a transport rights group for jeepneys, which called for donations either in-kind or in cash to help jeepney drivers whose livelihoods were affected by the government-imposed community quarantine.
“Call for donations for #Piston6,” Azores wrote.
The post attached an infographic that listed down the necessities of the drivers and their families including surgical masks, canned goods and rubbing alcohol, medicine, among others.
The graphic also bore the details where Filipinos can course their cash donations.
“Tumatanggap ang Piston ng anumang tulong at suporta para sa pamilya ng mga tsuper na halos tatlong buwan nang pinagbabawalang bumiyahe,” the post read on June 2.
— Atty. D🙏☝️👏 (@MaeDianeAzores) June 4, 2020
Azores previously said in interviews that she aims to help the Filipino workers affected during the pandemic.
Jeepney drivers were among those severely affected by the strict travel restrictions the national government imposed since last March to help curb the novel coronavirus transmissions in the country.
Following the partial lifting of the lockdown this week, the Department of Transportation still did not yet allow their operations, along with express vans, in Metro Manila.
Azores’ offer to provide help for the Piston 6 was praised by online users.
— Chad Booc 🔥 (@KasamangChad) June 4, 2020
Look who’s joining #FreePiston6 legal team: 2020 bar topnotcher @MaeDianeAzores! Jeepney drivers daughter is also jeepney drivers lawyer! In good company with VJ Topacio, Noel Neri and Ming Saladero in PLACE (and also NUPL members). @pistonPH
— Kristina Conti (@chronikrissys) June 4, 2020
What happened to Piston 6?
On June 2 or the second day of the general community quarantine, Piston deputy secretary-general Ruben Baylon and five other drivers staged a rally in Caloocan City against the government’s standing suspension on jeepney operations.
Piston reported on its social accounts that they were arrested for violating the social distancing measures, ban on on-site gathering and charges of resistance to persons in authority.
Based on reports, the detained drivers are facing a fine worth P3,000 each despite them not earning income for three months.
In its statement, Piston denounced the arrest and argued that the drivers complied with the GCQ rules when they took part in the street rally called “Busina Para sa Balik Pasada.”
“Bagama’t mahigpit nilang pinatupad ang physical distancing at nagsuot sila ng facemask, inaresto pa rin ng mga pulis at dinala sa presinto sa Sangandaan ang mga drayber,” the group said.
BREAKING: Anim na drayber ng PISTON hinuli ng mga pulis sa Caloocan
Mariing kinukundena ng Pambansang Tanggapan ng PISTON ang panghuhuli sa anim na kasapi nito matapos silang makilahok sa Busina Para Sa #BalikPasada ngayong araw.#FreePiston6#UnionistNotTerrorist pic.twitter.com/nGCACJO4dL
— PISTON (@pistonph) June 2, 2020
On Wednesday Enaje shared on Facebook that the drivers are still detained after their virtual inquest proceedings that afternoon.
“Sa kulungan ulit matutulog sila Tatay Elmer at lima pang jeepney drivers, sa isang pirasong plywood sa loob ng mainit at siksikang kulungan sa Caloocan,” he said.
“Kaninang umaga ay nagrapid test daw sa mga nasa kulungan, may namatay kasing suspected COVID19 patient noong isang araw sabi ng pulis,” he added.
In view of this, some organizations launched the hashtag #FreePiston6 to call for the release of the detained drivers.
They are also calling for cash donations to help free them and help other drivers who are not earning amid the pandemic due to the ongoing jeepney ban and looming phaseout of jeepneys that are 15 years and older.
Donate to help #FreePiston6:
0917 674 2345
BPI Bank Account:
Piston LandTransport Coalition
(For bank transfers, please note #FreePiston6 as the purpose for transaction.)
— Sigma Alpha Nu (ΣAN) (@UPSigmaAlphaNu) June 4, 2020
talk about #FreePiston6 and #NoToJeepneyPhaseout more! if you’re enraged by the thought of being imprisoned because of dissent, be enraged for these people who are only trying to be heard and stay alive as well. hear them!https://t.co/3j3HdNKc6H
— ً (@pentelpenarry) June 4, 2020