9 Manila cops relieved after clash with protesters

MANILA, Philippines – At least 9 policemen, almost all of them commissioned officers from the Manila Police District (MPD) were sacked from their posts on Thursday, October 20, a day after a violent and controversial clash between personnel from their ranks and protesters in front of the United States embassy

According to National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) director Chief Superintendent Oscar Albayalde, among those relieved are:

Albayalde said they were “administratively relieved to pave the way for the investigation.” 

Also relieved was Police Officer 3 Franklin Kho, who rammed into the crowd of protesters to disperse them. He drove forward then reversed, leaving several hurt and at least one man stuck under the police vehicle. At least 30 were arrested as a result of the clash.

“It’s not conviction or punishment. This does not necessarily mean that they’re guilty,” Albayalde told Rappler in a phone interview. 

The 8 have been recalled to the NCRPO’s personnel holding and accounting unit. Several other police are also under “restrictive custody” by the MPD pending investigation. The MPD, the NCRPO, and the PNP headquarters through the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) will be probing the incident. 

Another 40 police personnel – from the MPD's Civil Disturbance Management unit – were placed under the "restrictive custody" of Manila police pending investigation. According to MPD chief Senior Superintendent Joel Coronel, these were the cops on the ground during the incident. 

Police have been criticized for supposed using undue force is dispersing the protesters, composed mostly of indigenous people rallying against US presence in the Philippines. 

The protest was organized by Sandugo, a newly-formed alliance of minority groups. The groups that participated are part of the “Lakbayan ng Pambansang Minorya para sa Sariling Pagpapasya at Makatarungang Kapayapaan,” a caravan of minority groups from across the country.

The country’s top cop, Director General Ronald dela Rosa, in a statement read by the PNP’s spokesman, expressed concern over the clash but at the same time said the PNP will “look into this squarely and deal with it decisively.”

Dela Rosa is currently in China for an official work visit. – Rappler.com