Raps recommended vs 5 MPD cops in violent US embassy protest dispersal
Criminal charges should be filed against a relieved Manila Police District (MPD) official and four other police officers involved in the violent dispersal of a protest in front of the United States Embassy in Manila in 2016.
The House committee on human rights made the recommendation on Tuesday in their approved draft committee report into the October 19, 2016 incident.
The filing of criminal charges were recommended against Senior Supt. Marcelino Pedroso, MPD deputy director for operations and overall supervisor, Police Officer 3 Franklin Kho and Police Officer 1 Mark John Millares, Anthony Amores and Hermit Caligagan.
According to the draft panel report, Kho “nearly killed” some protesters when “he rammed them as he drove back and forth the MPD police vehicle which he took over from another police officer.”
Millares, Amores, and Calilagan meanwhile were identified by the MPD Intelligence Division as the ones who have allegedly mauled jeepney driver Raymark Sumalbag.
Pedroso was also added to the list after ACT Teachers Rep. France Castro proposed his inclusion.
“I hold him responsible and accountable sa mga utos na ito sa ating mga kapulisan,” she said during the panel hearing.
The committee found that Pedroso, despite denials, was the one who triggered the said violent dispersal.
The indigenous peoples group Sandugo had already lodged a complaint before the Office of the Ombudsman against the police officers involved in the scuffle.
Even though the rally was held without a permit from the Manila city government, the committee stressed that the dispersal of the protest should have been done in a peaceful manner.
“The testimonies and submissions in this case lead to the conclusion that the police officers involved violently dispersed the said October 19, 2016 rally, thus, violating the rights of the protesters,” the report reads.
In particular, Kho’s acts “showed blatant disregard for standard police operation procedure,” and his alibi that “he felt the impulse to protect his own life does not seem credible.”
Aside from recommending the filing of criminal charges against the five policemen, the committee also pushed for a mandatory human rights education and training on all policemen, and a review of the Philippine National Police (PNP) Manual of Operational Procedures, the Internal Affairs Service procedures, and Batas Pambansa 880 (Public Assembly Act of 1985).
At the hearing, Gabriela Rep. Arlene Brosas inquired on the status of the complaints against the involved police officers but Chief Supt. Dennis Siervo, head of PNP Human Rights Affairs Office (PNP-HRAO), said he cannot answer any questions about it because he did not come prepared for it.
Brosas nonetheless said the panel would compel the PNP-HRAO to provide a report on this.
“Napakalahalaga po to not silence legitimate dissent, to not undermine the basic rights of the people, and please, obligasyon po ito ng state eh, to recognize and be consistent with the international human rights and humanitarian laws,” Brosas stressed. /muf
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