Cops used excessive force, fired first shot in Kidapawan, CHR says | Inquirer News

Cops used excessive force, fired first shot in Kidapawan, CHR says

By: - Reporter / @deejayapINQ
/ 01:30 AM June 02, 2016

A MEMBER of the militant women’s group Gabriela lights a candle during a protest rally in April to denounce the violent dispersal of farmers on a highway in Kidapawan City, North Cotabato province, that killed two protesters and wounded scores of others, including law enforcers. INQUIRER PHOTO

Police used excessive force and fired the first shot in the bloody dispersal of protesting farmers on April 1 in Kidapawan City, but some of the demonstrators had been “induced” to join the protest by the organizers to advance their agenda, according to the Commission on Human Rights (CHR).

In a 46-page report on the Kidapawan dispersal, which left two protesters dead, two police officers seriously injured and scores more wounded, the CHR laid blame on several parties for the bloodshed, including the authorities and the organizers of protest.


The report was dated May 27 but released on CHR’s website on May 30.


It detailed the series of events that led to the violent dispersal of at least 3,000 drought-hit farmers who were asking the government for rice and other food supplies along the Kidapawan-Davao Highway in Kidapawan City, North Cotabato.

The CHR cited the “failure of the provincial government as duty-bearer to protect and promote the right to food and freedom from hunger of the farmers as rights-holders, as the root cause of the protest action.”


On the other hand, the CHR said it also found evidence that a number of the protesters had been “induced to join the protest action through deceit by the organizers and ’unknown persons.’”

“The organizers were also found to have unnecessarily exposed the farmers-protesters to the violent consequences of their actions,” the CHR said, condemning what it called the “instrumentalization” of the poor and vulnerable by ideological groups for their own agenda.

The report found that excessive force was used by the Philippine National Police against the farmers contrary to protocols prescribed in the police operations manual.


Evidence gathered by CHR, said the report, further showed that “the PNP fired the first shot.”

“Worse, the arrest and detention of farmers-protesters were attended by excessive and unjustified force, which must be investigated and responsible persons, prosecuted,” it added.

The CHR said it would provide financial assistance to the families of two victims who were killed and 10 who were injured, including the three police officers.

Probable cause

The CHR also called to task the Office of the Public Prosecutor of Cotabato, particularly inquest prosecutors, who “failed to properly exercise their mandate in determining probable cause in the arrest of the 81 farmers by the police in the aftermath of the protest.”

Ombudsman, DOJ

The report pointed out that, “had the inquest prosecutors been more discerning, they [w]ould have easily established the unlikelihood of pregnant women and senior citizens assaulting police officer[s].”

The CHR report would be endorsed to the Office of the Ombudsman and the Department of Justice (DOJ) for the filing of criminal charges against “state agents, government officials and individuals” who violated the law.

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The rights body, however, did not identify them in the report.

TAGS: CHR, farmer, Human rights, Kidapawan, PNP‎

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