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QCPD says cop mauled, robbed amid reports he was apprehended by campus police

Franco Luna - Philstar.com
QCPD says cop mauled, robbed amid reports he was apprehended by campus police
Protesters restrain a man after he was caught armed and taking pictures at a protest rally at the Commission on Human Rights on the recent denial of ABS-CBN franchise on July 11, 2020. The alleged police intelligence officer was released after undergoing documentation procedures, according to the UP Police.
The STAR / Boy Santos

MANILA, Philippines (Updated 2:40 p.m.) — The Quezon City police said it will file a complaint after alleging that demonstrators mauled a police officer at the University of the Philippines campus.

The QCPD claim differs from other accounts that the police officer was arrested by the university's police after being caught with a gun. 

UP Diliman maintains its own police force for campus security

Groups trooped to the Commission on Human Rights grounds, which is at the University of the Philippines Diliman, on Saturday morning to protest the junking of ABS-CBN Corp.'s application for a renewed legislative franchise as well as the looming implementation of the anti-terror law. 

A press statement sent by the QCPD to reporters on Saturday evening reads: "With intent to inflict harm and apparently upon the orders of their leaders, the demonstrators grabbed and dragged (Police Chief Master Sergeant Feliciano Evangelio) and mauled him."

The same release says that the protestors stole his belongings. 

READ: Groups march to CHR to protest ABS-CBN franchise denial, looming anti-terror law

As of this publishing, neither the QCPD nor the UP Diliman police have spot reports available when sought by Philstar.com, and only the press release on the incident was sent to reporters. 

Pressed for details, Police Lt. Johanna Sazon, QCPD spokesperson, said in a text message: "Kung ano po nasa PR yun lang naman po ang nangyari (Whatever's in the press release, that's what happened)."

Evangelio, they said, was at the rally with five other members of the District Special Operations Unit, was "for peacekeeping and monitoring...to maintain peace and order in the illegal demonstration."

Sazon later clarified in a text message that the protest was illegal because demonstrators did not present a permit to be there.

But the protest was held at the Liwasang Diokno on the Commission on Human Rights ground. The park is meant to "commemorate the legacy of Pepe Diokno who, after being arrested and tortured, rather than keeping silent sought to defend the rights of others during the dark days of martial law" and is a freedom park.

Under Batas Pambansa 880, or the Public Assembly Act of 1985, "demonstrations and meetings may be held at any time without the need of any prior permit" at a freedom park.

'I had no physical contact with cop,' man named by police says

In an online exchange with Philstar.com on Sunday afternoon, Bryan Gonzales, among those mentioned by name in QCPD's statement as a "leader of (rights group) Karapatan," denied any involvement in the commotion. 

"I am not a member of KARAPATAN. I wasn't an organizer of either mass actions inside UP and at the CHR Freedom Park [and] I saw the commotion but I wasn't a part of the organizers for yesterday's protest," he said. 

"I had no physical contact with the intelligence officers 'assaulted' yesterday as I was standing on the opposite end of the freedom park. I likewise made no orders to assault or rob those intelligence officers," he added. 

Asked for confirmation on whether or not the officer was robbed or mauled by protesters, Gonzales admitted even he was unsure who the officer was due to his civilian attire and face mask. 

"I was also at the other end of freedom park, so I didn't see the actual commotion, but I did witness the UP Police apprehend [him]," he added in Filipino. 

'Maintaining peace and order'

A report by the PUP Catalyst and carried by the social media accounts of alternative news site Bulatlat said that three suspected intelligence officers made a commotion at the program and were arrested by university police, accounts corroborated by activist groups Anakbayan and the College Editors' Guild of the Philippines, members of whom were both present at the protest.

One of the officers was caught carrying a gun, they said. The police officers were also reportedly taking pictures of the crowd.

Photographs of the incident taken by The STAR also show the officer being restrained by campus police.

In photos of the incident, Evangelio was not in a police uniform.

The district's statement makes no mention of Evangelio's arrest by university police, instead saying that: "Responding personnel from the UP police pacified the group and brought the policeman to their office for initial investigation. He was later turned over to the CIDU."

Under a 1989 agreement between then UP President Jose Abueva and then Defense Secretary Fidel Ramos, military and police activities in any UP campus or regional unit require prior notification of the university president, chancellor or dean.

The same agreement holds that military, police and militia personnel cannot enter any UP campus "except in cases of hot pursuit and similar occasions of emergency" or when assistance is requested by university officials.

An earlier agreement, the 1982 Soto-Enrile accord between student leader Sonia Soto and then Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile, was signed to protect the autonomy of the university from military intervention, especially in protest rallies.

According to the district's statement, cases of Robbery, Physical Injury, Direct Assault, Grave Coercion, Violation of RA11332 and Violation of RA 146 and BP 880 (Illegal Assembly) will be filed against the suspects.

QCPD: It was an illegal assembly

Holding mass gatherings, like a birthday party for example, is prohibited during the general community quarantine.

BP 880, a Marcos-era law includes, a “no permit, no rally” provision. As early as 2006, lawyers and advocates have said it clamps down on civil liberties. 

However, the same law reads:

Section 9. Non-interference by law enforcement authorities - Law enforcement agencies shall not interfere with the holding of a public assembly. However, to adequately ensure public safety, a law enforcement contingent under the command of a responsible police officer may be detailed and stationed in a place at least one hundred (100) meter away from the area of activity ready to maintain peace and order at all times.

"Their actions were certainly uncalled for especially that our policemen are there to maintain peace and order considering that their assembly is illegal," Police Brig. Gen. Ronnie Montejo, QCPD director, said in a statement. 

The Liwasang Diokno is a freedom park.

“Sasampahan natin ng mga kaukulang kaso ang mga lider at miyembro na nanakit at nagnakaw ng gamit ng ating pulis (We will file appropriate cases against the leaders and members who assaulted and stole the belongings of our police),” he added.

Photograph of the incident shows a QCPD officer in plainclothes at a rally held inside the UP Diliman campus.
The STAR/Boy Santos

According to a 1989 agreement between the UP and the Department of National Defense also known as the Soto-Enrile accord, police and military presence in any of the state university campuses is prohibited unless authorized by the UP administration.

The agreement provides that military and police elements "shall not interfere with peaceful protest actions by UP constituents within UP premises," though, law enforcement personnel may enter UP campuses if in "hot pursuit," which Cebu City police said was the case during another protest in the UP Cebu campus.

What do police guidelines say?

Rule 2.1 of the Revised PNP Operational Procedures, a public document, reads: "A police officer shall always wear the agency prescribed uniform which is appropriate for the kind of police operation to be undertaken."

The same photos also show that Evangelio was not in uniform at the time.

Rule 25 touches on rallies and demonstrations and says that police are instructed to observe maximum tolerance in all dispersal operations as far as rallies and demonstrations are concerned.

"The PNP shall not interfere with the holding of a public assembly...No public assembly with a permit shall be dispersed. However, when a public assembly becomes violent, the civil disturbance management contingents may disperse such public assembly."

“No arrest of any leader, organizer, or participant shall be made unless he violates during the assembly a law, statute, or ordinance...Respect for human rights and equal treatment and protection for everybody shall be strictly observed; and PNP personnel shall observe maximum tolerance."

This is a developing story and will be updated. 

PHILIPPINE NATIONAL POLICE QUEZON CITY POLICE DISTRICT UNIVERSITY OF THE PHILIPPINES
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