Senator Panfilo Lacson on Thursday said it was “unfair” to accuse the Philippine National Police (PNP) of police brutality over the violent dispersal of protesters in front of the US Embassy.
Lacson, former chief of the PNP, also defended the driver of the police van which rammed into several protesters, leaving some of them severely injured.
“That was a judgment 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.
“I think it's unfair to the Philippine National Police as an institution to be accused of police brutality,” he added.
“It was a personal judgment 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,” Lacson further said.
News videos showed the vehicle accelerating both forward and in reverse, hitting several protesters in the process.
"I directed for their immediate administrative relief, SSUPT PEDROZO and eight others," Albayalde said in a text message to GMA News Online.
Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III meanwhile called on the public not to pass judgment until an investigation is conducted.
"The video on its own is very disturbing, but is not the whole picture. We must not pass judgment until we know the whole story,” Pimentel said.
The Senate leader expressed concerns that the incident may damage the image of the police force as a protector of the people.
Pimentel joined the earlier call of Senator Leila de Lima to PNP chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa to conduct an immediate probe and take action against those responsible for the violent dispersal.
De Lima earlier pointed out that the PNP Manual of Operations indicates that non-lethal methods shall be used to disperse assemblies of rallyists.
De Lima said the method used by the police in the anti-US rally was “obviously unnecessary and unreasonable.”
“We must not lose sight of the fact that the assigned PNP units attempted to disperse the rally through unnecessary force,” De Lima said. [source]
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