FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 03, 2014
A Statement from KARAPATAN Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights forwarded by the Asian Human Rights Commission
PHILIPPINES: Manilakbayan ng Mindanao to file a case against PNP-QCPD on Times St. Incident
MANILA CITY – Manilakbayan ng Mindanao contingent is set to file a case against Police Superintendent Col. Pedro Sanchez and his subordinates in connection with the incident that ensued during the November 29 protest action conducted by the participants of the Manilakbayan ng Mindanao last November 29 at Times St., Quezon City.
Around 20 policemen of Police Station 2, Masambong Police Station, PNP-Quezon City Police District (QCPD) led by P/Supt. Col. Sanchez harassed and violently dispersed more than 200 lumads (indigenous people) and farmers comprising the Manilakbayan ng Mindanao contingent, and their counterparts from Southern Tagalog and the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas and Hacienda Luisita.
“We successfully ended our program and we’re about to leave the vicinity when all of sudden policemen armed with truncheons violently hit, grasped and pushed our fellow protesters,” Hanimay Suazo, Secretary-General of KARAPATAN-Southern Mindanao Region said.
According to a fact sheet prepared by human rights group KARAPATAN, there were 15 individuals from the ranks of the protesters who were injured including two media men. Seven were from Southern Tagalog, 7 from Southern Mindanao Region, 2 from CARAGA Region and 1 from the National Capital Region.
Jay Apiag, spokesperson of KARAPATAN North Cotabato was hit on the neck or right clavicle that caused him to faint and was rushed to the East Avenue Medical Center.
Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) Secretary-General Antonio “Ka Tonying” Flores, one of the leaders who negotiated with Sanchez, was arbitrarily arrested during the protest. He was detained in Camp Karingal, the headquarters of QCPD, for four days.
Approximately 9:30 in the morning, the protesters started to march from the Bureau of Internal Revenue office in Quezon City. They were prevented to pass through when a police patrol car and five policemen blocked the road. It was the first confrontation between the two parties but the protesters managed to pass and positioned in front of Aquino’s gate.
The program started at around 9:55 am and additional 10 police men positioned in front of the gate while a negotiation was going on between the two parties. P/Supt. Sanchez arrived in the area around 10:05 am and commanded his men to disperse the protest. Sanchez pressured the protesters to stop the program but the group’s leaders asserted that they would end the program peacefully.
The program ended around 11:15 am. The protesters organized themselves to leave Aquino’s residence but the police kept on pushing the protesters with truncheons. Suddenly some police elements hit one of the protesters with a truncheon which ignited the commotion. P/Supt. Sanchez climbed up the mobile stage and hit Jay Apiag on the neck.
In defense, some of the protesters were compelled to fight back by throwing stones at the attacking police. Representative Carlos Zarate of Bayan Muna Partylist later arrived for negotiation.
“What happened in Times Street is a clear manifestation of police brutality, a bitter response of the Aquino administration to the people’s legitimate demands,” Suazo said.
“We cannot let the PNP get away from their atrocity, it’s ironic when they are supposed to promote justice and peace,” she said.
Jomorito Goaynon, spokesperson of Manilakbayan ng Mindanao said that “instead of addressing the demands of the Mindanaoans who traveled afar to register the human rights situation of hinterland Mindanao to the president and to the broadest Filipino people, we were met with a violent dispersal from the police.”
Goaynon said they were expecting that the president would take actions on their urgent demands, among which are the pull-out of army battalions in Mindanao, the cessation of destructive foreign agro-foreign projects, the stop of military attacks on community schools, the dismissal of trumped-up charges, and the stop of extrajudicial killings in Mindanao.
Over 300 people representing Mindanao’s different sectors and mostly indigenous people participated in the Manilakbayan ng Mindanao. They started their Manilakbayan (Journey to Metro Manila) last November 12 passing by Visayas, and the Bicol and Tagalog regions where their counterparts met and joined them. Presently having their “Kampuhan” (People’s Camp) in Liwasang Bonifacio, their Manilakbayan ng Mindanao campaign will conclude on December 10.
Meanwhile, the Manilakbayan ng Mindanao is preparing its legal documents and assistance to file a case on the violent dispersal, arbitrary arrest, physical assault, harassment and coercion done by the PNP-QCPD.
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About AHRC:The Asian Human Rights Commission is a regional non-governmental organisation that monitors human rights in Asia, documents violations and advocates for justice and institutional reform to ensure the protection and promotion of these rights. The Hong Kong-based group was founded in 1984.
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