Lacson wants probe into Quezon City protest
MANILA, Philippines – Senator Panfilo Lacson wants an investigation into the protest held by Sitio San Roque residents in Quezon City.
The Wednesday protest prompted President Rodrigo Duterte to order the police and the military to "shoot" residents who cause trouble during the lockdown.
"Definitely, the President’s warning to have 'troublemakers' during the enhanced community quarantine shot was exaggerated and harsh. But coming from this President, what else is new?" Lacson said in a statement on Thursday, April 2.
On the question of whether the protest was "politically instigated" as Duterte had claimed, Lacson said that the answer to that lies in an investigation by authorities.
"I couldn't help but suggest to authorities to thoroughly investigate if the 'riot' in Quezon City involving protesters demanding aid, but in violation of the enhanced community quarantine," Lacson said.
Lacson said that a probe would show whether the protest was indeed "hunger-driven spontaneous act of people" out of exasperation or a "politically instigated act of violence instigated by sinister groups."
The senator, citing his background in law enforcement and intelligence, suggested that concerned authorities may opt to look into the possibility that the incident "could be a dry run to test public sentiment, as well as the ability of law enforcers to respond."
Lacson mentioned urban poor group Kadamay's Facebook post on Tuesday, March 31 which, he said, is an "invitation" to an event scheduled for Wednesday, April 1.
Kadamay said on a Tuesday Facebook post: "Muling mangalampag bukas April 1. April Fool's Day pero ang mamamayan ay hindi na maloloko sa napakabagal at inutil na pagtugon sa pangangailangan ng sambayanan." (Make noise on April 1. It's April Fool's Day but the people will not be fooled by the slow and inutile response on the public's needs.)
Still, Lacson said this isn't to say that protests are all politically instigated.
"There is no saying however, that all protests during the ECQ should be presumed as politically instigated. Yet, it cannot be denied that there may be groups with motive to exploit the volatility of the situation to advance their own political agenda," Lacson said.
On Wednesday, 21 Quezon City residents were arrested for demanding help and protesting without a permit.
In a late address on Wednesday, Duterte had accused Kadamay and the Left for instigating the protest. – Rappler.com