Police brutality charge vs PNP unfair, says Lacson
Senator Panfilo Lacson said it was “unfair” to accuse the Philippine National Police (PNP) of “police brutality” for the action of a policeman who was driving a police van that ran over protesters at the United States (US) Embassy on Wednesday.
“I think it’s unfair to the Philippine National Police as an institution to be accused of police brutality,” Lacson, who served as PNP chief during the time of former President Joseph Estrada, said in a statement on Thursday.
The senator noted that the action taken by the policeman behind the wheel was his own judgement call.
“That was a judgement call made by one policeman behind the wheel of a police van who might have felt threatened by the possibility of being lynched by the protesters and who impulsively drove the van wherever he could to avoid the dire consequences of his inaction,” Lacson said.
“It was a personal judgement call of the driver of the van. Maximum tolerance or not, he acted based on his appreciation of the situation prevailing at the time he made that move,” he added.
Senate President Aqulino “Koko” Pimentel III and Senator Leila de Lima, former Justice Secretary, have sought an investigation of the incident.
“I call on PNP Chief Director-General Ronald dela Rosa to immediately investigate this incident and take action against those responsible, uniformed or otherwise,” Pimentel said in a separate statement.
De Lima said she was deeply concerned by the recent dispersals of protesters — at Camp Aguinaldo on Tuesday and the Wednesday incident at the US Embassy.
“These two incidents may have gone beyond the allowable methods prescribed by law,” she said in a statement Wednesday.
De Lima said it was clear in the PNP manual of operations that non-lethal methods should be used to disperse such assemblies.
The senator said it was quite obvious that the method used, particularly at the US Embassy rally, was “unnecessary and unreasonable, even if when a non-weapon was used.”
“There is no excuse to use such dispersal, as the rallyists were clearly unarmed,” she said.
She then called on Dela Rosa “to look into this incident, identify the lapses, and enforce command responsibility in exacting accountability from the concerned officials involved in the dispersals.” CDG/rga
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