Philippine Misereor Partnership Inc.
Press Statement On The Violent Dispersal
Of The October 19 Protests At The U.S. Embassy
To say that we are aghast at how brutal and violent the PNP has tried to disperse the gathering of indigenous groups, students and activists in front of the U.S. Embassy on Wednesday, October 19 is an understatement. No words can describe the harm, the wild and seemingly amok men and women in uniform have inflicted on the demonstrators in broad daylight.
The Philippine Misereor Partnership, Inc., a network of CSO’s advocating for social development and peace demands a thorough investigation of this incident. Even as nine (9) police officers have been relieved from their post, we ask that those found guilty should be sacked and relieved from police force.
Suspension is not enough. Justice should be served swiftly.
We are deeply troubled. We ask why our men and women in uniforms have turned rabidly violent and intolerant to any show of dissent, even to those who support the calls of President Duterte to “end military and economic ties with the USA”.
We are concerned that this kind of behavior is bolstered by the President’s public assurance that they will never be censured for doing their “job” in line of duty and giving them almost a blanket authority to kill the so-called criminals.
Is it not enough that we see thousands of arrests leading to death of alleged drug addicts and pushers in the past months, that they have now exhibited a mad and nearing crazed power and control against unarmed civilians?
Is the armed machinery of this government unable to heed and accept the call for peace by the current government with armed groups? How can a call for ceasefire hold when a simple demonstration cannot be tolerated by our peace-keeping force? How can a dialogue be true when after an agreement just to finish the program a command to disperse was ordered?
We remind the police and the armed forces of their sworn oath to protect civilians, to practice restraint and abide by their rules of engagement and to show respect, even to an impassioned political exercise.
We remind the President, that if this administration wants its peace initiatives to succeed, it should remind itself, specially its police and armed forces to have greater tolerance towards civilian dissent and opposition. They should put in their daily mantra, respect and high regards for civilian supremacy.
They may be law enforcers but they are NEVER and should never be above the law.
PMPI 24 October 2016