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4,000 cops to secure September 21 activities

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The Philippine National Police (PNP) will deploy 4,000 cops to secure several protests and activities on Friday, September 21, the 46th anniversary of the declaration of martial law by deposed dictator Ferdinand Marcos. (See the schedule of activities here.)

In a statement sent Thursday, the PNP said cops from the Civil Disturbance Management (CDM) contingent will be deployed to ensure law and order during public activities. Meanwhile, another 1,000 police will reamain on standby in the PNP’s nation headquarters should assistance be needed.

The PNP said several groups it monitored were supposedly led by communists and were planning to hold protests in Metro Manila and other key cities on September 21, “motivated by different shades of vested interests." They claimed the groups’ action were planned to “vainly try to embarrass and undermine the popular administration of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte.”

“While we may not agree with these minority’s sentiments, we will make sure they would be able to fully and freely exercise their constitutional rights to freedom of assembly and expression,” PNP public information officer Benigno Durana said.

The PNP, however, highlighted it was against the law to incite the public to “bring down” the government.

“To root for and help government fail or incite others to bring it down are not only violations of the Revised Penal Code but also acts of rebellion against what God has established,” Durana said.

Duterte earlier claimed that there were threats to "assassinate" him and seize government power on September 21.

The PNP assured the public cops would observe maximum tolerance to protect human rights and the right to assemble. However, they said safety and security of the public will be of “paramount concern.”

PNP spokesman telling a 'lie' 

The United People’s Action called out Durana for his "big, fat lie" that communists were leading the Luneta rally. The group said the PNP's attempt to discredit them as an organizer of the rally was "dangerous, unbelievable."

 

The UPA pointed out that rally organizers had met with National Capital Region Police Office Director Eleazar and officers of the Manila Police District (MPD) Office in the two days leading to the Luneta event to coordinate arrangements and ensure that the rally would be peaceful and orderly. 

The MPD, in fact, has even designated parking and garbage collection areas for the participatns .

"Durana is an embarrassment to the PNP," the UPA said. "We suggest he shut his trap and, instead, congratulate the gentlemen and officers of the NCRPO for their professionalism."  Rappler.com

Sofia Tomacruz

Sofia Tomacruz covers foreign affairs, the overseas Filipino workers, and elections. She also writes stories on the treatment of women and children. Follow her on Twitter @sofiatomacruz. Email her at sofia.tomacruz@rappler.com.

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