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Violent dispersal of rally in front of US Embassy saddens, angers Bato dela Rosa

Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa has expressed sadness and anger over the violent dispersal in front of US Embassy which resulted in the injuries of at least 20 protesters and 30 police officers.

In a statement read by PNP spokesperson Senior Supt. Dionardo Carlos at a press briefing on Thursday, Dela Rosa said: “Napanood ko ang video at nakakalungkot at nakakagalit. I saw people got hurt. Ayaw na ayaw ko na may nasasaktan na Pilipino.” 

“But I cannot let emotions get the best of me. As chief of the PNP, I have a duty and moral obligation to look into this squarely, and deal with it swiftly and decisively,” he added.

Dela Rosa said the PNP recognizes and upholds the citizens’ right to peaceful assembly and police forces are under strict instructions as a matter of policy, to exercise maximum tolerance in public assemblies, with public safety and protection of human life an utmost concern and topmost priority.

He said an investigation and full review of their police procedures is underway and necessary sanctions will be levied on any personnel guilty for putting lives at risk.

“Upon my instructions, regional director of National Capital Region Police Office, Chief Supt Oscar Albayalde has placed all officers involved in that particular police operation under administrative relief to ensure utmost impartiality of the investigation,” he said.

Albayalde earlier said that nine police officers have been relieved from their posts and transferred to NCRPO Regional Headquarters Service. In addition, 40 others have been placed under restrictive custody at the MPD. 

Dela Rosa said President Rodrigo Duterte has been briefed about the incident and stressed on the obligations of our police to serve and protect the people.

“But as he said, we cannot point fingers right away without clear investigation. Our other priority now, is to look into the victims, and check on their recovery and safety after such an unfortunate incident,” he said. — RSJ, GMA News