I used to be a resident DJ in TIME in Manila, while I was living in the Philippines, until i returned to my homeland Switzerland, around mid 2014. (This explains why the currency is in Swiss Francs and not Philippine Pesos. The money will be converted to Philippine Pesos and transferred to my Filipino counterpart).
TIME in Manila has brought in top international DJs and Artists to the Philippines and has been the backbone in supporting many local talented DJs/Producers' music careers.
At the time it opened, it was pretty much the only venue catering to people, who like me, wanted to enjoy non-commercial electronic music in a cozy setting.
It was a bit of a shrine for house & techno lovers, a haven of diversity and tolerance, where neither the way you dressed nor how you looked had an impact on getting inside.
Making sure everything was running smoothly for ravers on the dance-floor, the wonderful staff of TIME worked tirelessly behind the scenes, night in and night out.
I got to see them and interact with them pretty much every weekend and I grew very fond of their kindness, customer focus and professionalism. It was truly a privilege to have spent so much time with them.
Even at the end of a long night of work, they would go out of their way to make sure that guests were being taken care of. They would help you get a cab to get back home safely and give a helping hand to anyone who had had a drink too many.
Unfortunately since the current administration's war on drugs was declared, local police have been acting with astounding impunity, without respect for due process, basic procedures and rights.
This is precisely what happened to the staff of TIME in the early hours of August 11th.
After a brutal police raid, All 31 staff of TIME, from the security guard, bouncers, maintenance, waiters, bartenders, door personnel, car park valet, washroom attendants were all incarcerated for almost a month in inhumane conditions. Thanks to the efforts of the club owners, families, friends and the music community, 28 have been released so far. Sadly, one of them passed away, as a consequence of the incarceration and 3 are still being held by the police.
As facts are slowly coming to light, it has surfaced that the raid had no legal basis. No warrant was issued or presented for the operation, nor was there any legitimate investigation on TIME itself or any of it's employees.
As witnessed and experienced by 125 people, unidentified policemen in plain clothes and slippers burst in with high powered firearms pointing them at everyone as they came in, customers and staff alike, forcibly separating them onto the different floors and proceeded to ransack the bars and office.
People were physically beaten and pistol-whipped individually in the toilets and some in plain sight of everyone else. Those taking videos and photos to document the "raid" had guns pointed at their faces, put on the floor and cuffed and made to delete whatever they had taken. All 125 customers were searched, wrongfully detained for around 2-3 hours inside the club with no explanation given, forcibly moved to a local police station and not allowed legal representation or contact with their lawyers.
They were all eventually released with no charges being filed against them, no questions asked or answered but forced to present valid IDs and "register" on a "list" their names, addresses and contact numbers to be able to go home, under threat of future "charges" to be filed against them should they choose to pursue any legal action for their horrible ordeal that morning.
The company has since been defunct, the place padlocked and shut down with cash and assets held while the proceedings are going on. It has been a massive undertaking for all involved to take care of the bail, legal teams, maintenance and assistance for all 31 employees and their families.
By supporting this initiative, you will contribute to fund the legal costs to help continue to provide the best possible defense lawyers for the ongoing court cases for the 27 out on bail and the 3 remaining crew members of TIME, who have been deprived of their freedom and families for more than 3 months now.
Thanks for your help!
- Martin Aquino
- Jesús Baena
- Tom + Djamila
- Patrick Ballesca