Robredo: Top Cotabato cops should be sacked amid Kidapawan clash probe
Liberal Party vice presidential bet Leni Robredo on Saturday said top police officials of Cotabato should be relieved of their posts as she called for a thorough probe of the violent dispersal of drought-stricken farmers in Kidapawan City that led to the death of at least two protesters.
Robredo said high-ranking cops in the province, especially those who spearheaded the bloody dispersal, should be temporarily dismissed “so they cannot influence the investigation.”
“Mas maganda na habang ginagawa ang imbestigasyon, pansamantala munang palitan sa puwesto ang mga matataas na opisyal ng PNP (Philippine National Police) sa lalawigan para maiwasan ang isipin na walang kahihinatnan ang imbestigasyon,” Robredo said.
At least two farmers were dead and several others were wounded after the bloody dispersal of protesters at the Cotabato-Davao Highway in Kidapawan City on Friday. The farmers, who were demanding relief and subsidy for farm communities affected by the dry spell, said police authorities fired the first shot.
The PNP said it is investigating the incident, noting that some of its officers were also injured due to attacks allegedly from protesters.
Robredo urged the government to punish the perpetrators of the attacks, saying that she does not understand why there had to be violence in dealing with farmers who are only asking for subsidy and assistance.
“Bakit kailangang mangyari? Bakit kailangang may patayan? Bakit kailangang may barilan? Dapat sana hindi. Ang pinakabuod ng problema, marami na tayong kababayan sa Mindanao na naghihirap because of the drought,” she said.
“Hinihingi natin sa ating pamahalaan na agad-agad hanapan ng solusyon kasi hanggang hindi naparurusahan iyong mga salarin, hindi rin matatapos iyong pighati ng mga magsasaka,” Robredo added.
The Camarines Sur representative also called on the national government to give the necessary assistance to farmers and their families whose livelihood was affected by the worsening El Niño problem.
“Mas mabuting tingnan agad ng ating pamahalaan ang sitwasyon ng mga magsasaka sa mga lugar na apektado ng tagtuyot at magbigay ng agarang tulong upang mayroon silang maipantawid,” Robredo said.
Tensions rose again between cops and farmers on Saturday morning as the authorities, backed by a search warrant for firearms, barged in the Methodist Church compound where the protesters have been staying in. JE
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