MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Monday, April 4, said that one of its personnel tasked to disperse a protest in Kidapawan City was injured by a gunshot to his leg.
In a statement released to media late afternoon on Monday, PNP spokesman Chief Superintendent Wilben Mayor, citing information from surgeon Mark Hazel Aguayo of the Kidapawan Doctors’ Hospital, said Police Officer 2 (PO2) Reynaldo Roque sustained a gunshot wound on his left leg.
The type of gun that hit Roque could not however be determined yet.
“The PNP extends its sympathies to those killed and injured among the protesters but asks the same sentiments for those who were also injured among the ranks of policemen,” Mayor said in the statement.
The PNP has been criticized for apparently using excessive force when it dispersed a protest staged by farmers in Kidapawan City. The dispersal became violent, with at least 2 dead and hundreds injured on both sides.
The farmers, from North Cotabato and nearby areas, were asking government for rice and aide in light of a El Niño drought that has effected the country, particularly parts of Mindanao.
Civil Disturbance Management (CDM) police are not supposed to be armed, but protesters were seen hit by gunfire, prompting the hashtag #BigasHindiBala to proliferate on social media.
The PNP has insisted that CDM personnel were not armed and that they exercised “maximum tolerance” in dealing with the farmers.
One of the slain farmers, the PNP said, has tested positive for gunshot residue which was supposedly found beside a .45 calibre cartridge, which is not the standard-issue for police in the Philippines.
The PNP said Direct Assault Against Persons in Authority charges have been filed against 80 persons before the Kidapawan City Prosecutor’s Office. Of the 80, 72 are in custody while 8 are still confined in the hospital, the PNP said.
The PNP is set to probe the circumstances of the clash to determine if any lapses were committed by cops on the ground. – Rappler.com
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