Moro and IP leaders call for justice, urge President to act

Sandugo Brands Violent Us Embassy Dispersal ‘State Terrorism,’
Blatant Act Of Impunity Against National Minorities
Interaksyon photo

Interaksyon photo

“Sandugo not only refutes reports blabbered by the Manila Police District that the ensuing violence was a result of provocation from the rallyists, we also go as far as branding this heinous incident as state terrorism – and a blatant act of discrimination against national minorities who compose majority of yesterday’s mobilization,” said Piya Macliing Malayao, secretary-general of Katribu and lead convenor of Sandugo.

“The brutal dispersal was an attack with impunity. It vividly shows how in the Philippines, police forces are not acting to serve and protect Filipinos, but their US overlords. The incident clearly shows how the US remains to be the real boss when it comes to state affairs,” Malayao added.

Malayao was one of the protesters severely injured when PO3 Franklin Kho of the Manila Police District (MPD) rammed a police mobile vehicle against the crowd gathered in front of the US Embassy. She is now recuperating at the Philippine General Hospital, along with a female student member of Kabataan Partylist who was seen on videos circulated by media as wearing a green shirt and was plowed by the police vehicle, an elderly Lumad woman who was also severely hit by the vehicle over and over, and a jeepney driver who was pummeled to unconsciousness by the police during the dispersal.

Initial reports from the Health Action for Human Rights (HAHR) reveal that at least 30 were severely injured from the incident and needed medical care.

“This travesty against national minorities has been committed in broad daylight for the world to see. We seek justice against the perpetrators, and beyond that, national minorities seek to emphasize our message during the protest: that state violence remains and continue to attack Moros and indigenous peoples everywhere,” Malayao said.

Video evidence speaks for itself

In a news briefing today, Sandugo reiterated that there is enough evidence to show that the police vehicle was in no way threatened, much less at risk, during the protest, belying claims from MPD S/Spt. Marcelino Pedroza, who ordered the dispersal.

In new video footages shown at the news conference, it was clearly shown how the police vehicle ran forwards and backward to sweep through protesters with a manifest “intent to kill or injure.”
Jerome Succor Aba, national spokesperson of Suara Bangsamoro, said that they will be pursuing criminal charges against the MPD, especially Pedroza and Kho, the driver of the vehicle.

“If we carefully review the video footages, we can hear Pedroza actually ordering his men to go after the protesters to save face from the US Embassy,” Aba said.

In several video footages, Pedrozo was heard saying, “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 [US] embassy? Kaya i-disperse mo ‘yan.”

“Here we unmask state police who act like vicious lapdogs, ready to attacks fellow Filipinos – national minority groups at that – just to please his American bosses who were sitting snugly inside that fortress called the US Embassy,” Aba added.

Reports say that some policemen who were involved in the brutal incident will be fired from duty, but the national minority leaders are not appeased.

“Not only must these men be fired from duty, they must be held criminally liable and denounced by the Filipino people for being traitors against their own countrymen,” he stressed.

Aba further noted the harrowing dispersal of the police that eventually nabbed 29 individuals, not sparing even the medical aid team dispatched there. The individuals were brought to the MPD headquarters in UN Avenue but was eventually released.

“Everyone was terrorized, even the medics. Where in the world can you witness such acts of barbarism? In Aleppo, hospitals are being bombed. In the Philippines, even medics can be brutalized and nabbed by state forces. See the stark parallelism?” Aba said.

Duterte urged to act

Sandugo further called on President Rodrigo Duterte, who is in China at the moment, to act.

Duterte has earlier deferred on commenting on the incident until his return to the country this Friday.

“We call on President Duterte to not only act against the perpetrators of this heinous incident but also aid national minorities in our call against imperialist plunder and domination. Yes, the incident yesterday was a textbook example of police brutality, but we need to emphasize how in ancestral lands and communities, American imperialist proxy wars and plunder result to worse crimes against national minorities,” Malayao said.

“The brutal dispersal must not be viewed in a vacuum. We should return to its context: national minorities were protesting to call for the immediate pull-out of US troops in the country, especially those occupying ancestral lands and territories. In line with this call, we also demand for the junking of the US-instigated counterinsurgency program Oplan Bayanihan which has wrought devastation and death to our communities through militarization.

“These are the calls that we hope President Duterte will also listen to. These are the calls that must not be drowned out, for these calls carry the heavy weight of the blood and tears spilled by our Moro and indigenous peoples not just in yesterday’s incident but also in all of the past decades of US intervention in the Philippines,” Aba concluded.###

Press statement
October 20, 2016

— with Jerome Succor Aba.

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