CIDG to probe 'violent confrontation' of Manila cops, protesters
MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine National Police (PNP)’s Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) will be investigating the violent dispersal of protesters on Wednesday, October 19, in front of the United States Embassy in the city of the Manila.
The PNP’s 3rd-in-command, Police Director Benjamin Magalong, ordered the CIDG to probe the incident, which saw personnel of the Manila Police District (MPD) and indigenous peoples clash during a rally to protest alleged military and US presence in their ancestral lands.
President Rodrigo Duterte, who's in Beijing for a state visit, earlier said he will wait for reports from the PNP before drawing any conclusions as to who was at fault. (READ: Duterte not yet blaming anyone)
Protesters threw bottles, paint bombs, and rocks towards the police. Cops fired tear gas and later drove a police patrol vehicle back and forth along protesters’ ranks. Videos of the police vehicle ramming through a crowd of protesters soon became viral online.
Several protesters and policemen were injured in the aftermath of the incident.
The PNP had earlier announced that the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO), which has jurisdiction over the Manila police, was “instructed to conduct an investigation of the incident purposely to determine if the Police Operational Procedures were properly observed by the MPD.”
“The PNP is now piecing together all facts and circumstances surrounding the violent confrontation between members of the Manila Police District and a group of militant activists in Ermita, Manila this morning,” the PNP said in a statement released hours after the dispersal.
The PNP added: “It is unfortunate that some persons were reported hurt in the confrontation that allegedly began when the much bigger group of militant activists broke into the smaller defensive formation of the MPD Civil Disturbance Management contingent that stood its ground to prevent an escalation of violence.”
NCRPO director Chief Superintendent Oscar Albayalde, in a statement released before the PNP’s official take on the incident, said protesters “weren't really run over.”
"The [protesters] were trying to flip over the patrol car. In the process, the driver extricated the patrol car and inadvertently hit some unruly protesters who sustained minor injuries,” said Albayalde.
Initially, the PNP said in a statement that the NCRPO-led probe would determine “criminal and civil liabilities of the leaders and personalities from the ranks of the militant activists that initiated the illegal mass action.” But it later revised its official statement to say that the investigation would “determine the liabilities of all personalities from both sides whose involvement led to the violent incident.”
The CIDG is an operational support unit of the PNP and is separate from the MPD or the NCRPO.
Magalong is set to hold a press briefing about the investigation on Thursday, October 20. – Rappler.com