President Duterte must condemn and punish cops who attacked protesters
We at the Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino condemn the violent dispersal of the nonviolent protests of indigenous peoples belonging to the newly formed Sandugo alliance at the US embassy today and at Camp Aguinaldo yesterday.
Over fifty of our brothers and sisters were hurt when the police and the military used disproportionate force to break up their protest. Many were injured when a police vehicle repeatedly rammed the crowd of unarmed protesters.
This is shocking and unacceptable under any circumstances. But it is even more intolerable under a government that has promised to champion the rights of indigenous peoples and other oppressed classes, under a President who claims to be the first ‘leftist’ or ‘socialist’ President of the country.
As commander-in-chief of the country’s police and military, President Rodrigo Duterte has command responsibility over the state’s repressive forces. As such, he too is ultimately responsible for these forces’ actions.
To prove that he is committed to upholding our freedom to assemble and protest and to demonstrate that he supports our indigenous sisters’ and brothers’ struggle for their rights, he must immediately and publicly castigate the military and police officials responsible for this crackdown.
At the very least, he must immediately order disciplinary actions against—and if need be fire—Franklin Kho, the driver of the police vehicle that rammed the group of protesters and Marcelino Pedrozo, the officer who ordered the violent dispersal.
Any hesitation or refusal on his part to strongly denounce this shocking use of force will only further intensify the reigning climate of impunity that he has further fanned with his repeated pronouncements that he will protect and pardon all police officers accused of human rights violations.
It is this climate of impunity that is already leading officers of the law to think they can get away with anything—even attempted murder in front of cameras.
The struggle of the indigenous peoples is inseparable from our struggle as workers. An attack on them is an attack on us all.