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No progress on cases vs cops a year after US Embassy dispersal

Few days after the dispersal, some of the injured rallyists filed criminal cases for multiple frustrated murder, serious physical injuries, unlawful arrest and violation of Republic Act 7438 or the rights of person arrested, detained or under custodial investigation.  

MANILA, Philippines — There has been no progress in cases filed against police officers involved in the violent dispersal of protesters at the US Embassy more than a year since the incident.

National Union of Peoples' Lawyers Secretary General Ephraim Cortez, who is handling the cases, said there has been no resolution on pending charges filed against the erring police officers.

“Worst, no disciplinary sanction has been imposed against the erring policemen. No one has yet been held administratively or criminally liable for the violent dispersal,” Cortez told Philstar.com in an online exchange.

A few days after the dispersal on October 19, 2016, some of the injured rallyists filed criminal cases for multiple frustrated murder, serious physical injuries, unlawful arrest and violation of Republic Act 7438 — a law protecting the rights of person arrested, detained or under custodial investigation.

The cases were filed against PO3 Franklin Kho of the Manila District Police Security Battalion—the driver of the van —Senior Supt. Marcelino Pedrozo, MPD Deputy District Director for Operations, and other officers.

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READPolice driver in embassy rally sacked, faces raps | 9 cops in violent dispersal at US embassy rally relieved, says NCRPO

Witnesses heard Pedrozo directing the violent dispersal of rallyists. 

Other police officers implicated in the incident are:

  • Superintendent Albert Barot, Station 5 commander
  • Chief Inspector Dionelle Brannon, commander of the Pedro Gil police precinct
  • Chief Inspector Elmer Oseo, deputy commander of Station 5
  • Chief Inspector Joebie Astucia, operations chief of Station 5
  • Chief Inspector Roberto Marinda, Company commander the augmentation force
  • Chief Inspector Roberto Mangune, commander of the US Embassy team
  • Senior Inspector Edgardo Orongan, chief operations officer of the DPSB.

Police Director Oscar Albayalde, National Capital Region Police Office director, was sued for obstruction of justice separately.

The Manila cops were also administratively charged of grave misconduct, grave abuse of authority and conduct unbecoming of public officers.

“While nine among those involved were supposed to have been relieved from their posts a few days after the dispersal, they were simply transferred to the other units,” Cortez said, noting that Kho was transferred to the PNP holding unit in Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig.

NCRPO and the MPD did not respond to Philstar.com 's request for comment or updates on the case.

Protest was against US troops in the Philippines

The dispersal, which involved a police van ramming into the protesters, gathered in front of the US Embassy to protest supposed meddling by the country's former colonizer and historical ally, was caught on video.

The cops also used tear gas in the dispersal and arrested at least 20 protesters.

The protesters, mostly members of indigenous peoples’ alliance Sandugo, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan and the Alliance of Health Workers, had trooped to the US Embassy at around 10 a.m. on October 19, 2016 and held a program in front of its main gate.

They demanded an end to the presence of US troops in the country and to back President Rodrigo Duterte's a call for an independent foreign policy.

Some activists splashed red paint on the gate of the embassy and on the police officers securing the gate.

Others wrote graffiti along the white perimeter fence of the embassy.

Rallyists were supposed to end their program around noon with a flag burning a US flag and and a war dance when the dispersal happened.

Senior Superintendent Joel Coronel, MPD commander, said the protesters had no permit to rally and also committed several violations that could have contributed to the chaos.

At least 40 people, including more than 20 police officers, were hurt in clashes with demonstrators. 

READPolice van rams protesters in front of US Embassy

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