Manila cop who rammed protesters sued for attempted murder
Protesters who were injured at a violent dispersal of an anti-US rally filed an attempted murder and grave abuse of authority complaint against the Manila cops behind the said dispersal last Oct. 19.
Atty. Ephraim Cortez of the National Union of People’s Lawyers on Wednesday accompanied activists Argee “Piya” Macliing Malayao and Nicole Soria in filing the complaint before the Ombudsman against Senior Supt. Marcelino Pedrozo, PO3 Franklin Kho, and seven other cops who were relieved following the violent dispersal of the protest action at the US Embassy in Manila.
Police Chief Superintendent Oscar Albayalde, the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) director, was separately sued for obstruction of justice.
Other relieved cops who were sued were: Supt. Albert Barot, Ermita police station (PS5) chief and ground commander; Chief Insp. Dionelle Brannon, commander of Pedro Gil police community precinct; Chief Insp. Elmer Oseo, deputy chief of PS5; Chief Insp. Joebie Astucia, Chief of operations of PS5; Chief Insp. Roberto Marinda, company commander CRB (augmentation); Chief Insp. Roberto Mangune, company commander of US Embassy Detail; and Senior Insp. Edgardo Orongan, chief of operations of MPD Public Safety Batallion.
The cops were sued with the criminal charges of attempted murder, physical injuries, illegal arrest, and violations of the rights of arrested and detained persons under Republic Act 7438 or the Rights of the Accused.
They were also sued for violating the Public Assembly Act, which prohibits law enforcers from using a motor vehicle to disrupt the exercise of a peaceful assembly.
The complaint said Kho was liable for attempted murder while the other cops conspired with him in attempting to kill the activists.
The Manila cops were also sued with the administrative complaint of gross misconduct, grave abuse of authority and conduct unbecoming of a public officer.
The other complainants were Raymart Sumalbag, Reynaldo Moldon, Dionesio Abear, Dr. Julie Caguiat, Reyan Naong, and Baling Catubigan.
According to the complaint, there was an intent to kill when Kho drove the patrol vehicle and rammed the protesters, injuring the two complainants Soria and Macliing.
Soria was the activist in the video whose head was almost flattened under the wheel of the vehicle.
Meanwhile, Igorot activist Macliing came into the Ombudsman in a wheelchair due to an injury on her leg.
Pedrozo was the Manila police district deputy director for operations who ordered the police to violently disperse the protesters and urged them to resort to violence.
Kho was the police official who drove the patrol vehicle that rammed and ran over the protesting lumads.
“Since the intent to kill is obvious, and that there was evident premediation, plus the fact that he used a motor vehicle, respondent Kho is liable for attempted murder,” the complaint read.
There was also an intention to kill complainant Sumalbag, the jeepney driver who was beaten up by the police, “bloodied and unconscious,” and was even seen “twitching,” the complaint said.
The complaint said there was also an attempted murder against activists Moldon, Abear and Naong who were beaten up, sustaining injuries in the head.
“The act(s) (were) qualified by abuse of superior strength,” the complaint said.
In an interview, Cortez said there was a premediated intent by the police to kill the protesters, especially when they beat up activists including an innocent jeepney driver.
“‘Yung mga injuries na natamo nila, obviously mayroong intent to kill when inflicted… Kita naman doon na intentionally inatrasan niya nang napakabilis. ‘Yun ang indication ng intent to kill, ibig sabihin may attempted murder ‘yun,” Cortez said.
(The injuries that they suffered, it’s obvious that there was intent to kill when inflicted… You can see that the van intentionally backed up at a high speed. That’s the indication of intent to kill, that means there’s attempted murder.)
He added that the police were not just negligent in ramming the protesters, which would downgrade the complaint to a mere reckless imprudence resulting in injuries.
Her arm in a sling, a visibly traumatized Soria recounted that she was dragged by the vehicle until her head was almost run over under the wheel.
“Swerte ako na nakaligtas ako. Pero ‘yung ginawa niya, kailangan pa ring panagutin. May trauma na nangyari, kailangan talaga na panagutin itong si Kho,” Soria said.
(I’m lucky I survived. But they need to be accountable for what they did. There was trauma, and Kho needs to be accountable.)
Macliing said her leg was run over by the police car. She said she did not sustain broken bones, but her leg was swollen and in pain.
“Sa ngayon, sobrang namamaga anim na araw pagkatapos ng nangyari. Namamaga pa rin ang paa bagamat walang bali,” said Macliing, seated on a wheelchair with her leg wrapped in a bandage.
(Right now, my legs have been very swollen 6 days after the incident. It’s swollen but there are no broken bones.)
The police were also sued with illegal arrest for taking custody of Lacson and Caguiat, who were members of the medical team.
NCRPO chief Albayalde was specifically sued for obstruction of justice over his statements justifying the cops’ violent dispersal.
The anti-US protesters in their demonstration lauded the administration’s push for an independent foreign policy, and called for their self-determination and ancestral rights, before they were met and dispersed by the police.
At least 50 protesters were injured and hospitalized, three of whom were injured after they were run over by the patrol car. At least 29 persons were arrested by the police.
A television report showed Pedrozo castigating the police for failing to capture any protesters and urging them to turn to violence.
“Wala man lang kayong hinuli, ang dami-dami niyan… Magkagulo na kung magkagulo, pulis tayo rito e. Pwede ba tayong patalo sa mga ‘yan? Anong mukhang ihaharap natin sa embassy? Kaya i-disperse mo ‘yan,” Pedrozo was quoted in the report.
(You didn’t catch a single one of them, there’s so many of them… Let things get messy, we’re the police here. Can we allow ourselves to be defeated by them? How will we face the embassy? Disperse them.) JE
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