Protesters were out to destroy, burn the police vehicle –MPD official
Protesters who trooped to the US Embassy in Manila on Wednesday intended to destroy and burn the police vehicle being driven by PO3 Franklin Kho, according to relieved Senior Supt. Marcelino Pedrozo of the Manila Police District.
Kho is in hot water after he was seen on video ramming several protesters with the vehicle during the violent dispersal of anti-US rallyists. Aside from Pedrozo and Kho, seven other police officers were ordered relieved following the incident.
"Ang nangyari po diyan, sir, actually hindi naman po talaga siya yung driver. Ang nakita po nila, nung ongoing po ang negotiation namin, sinisira po nila yung mobile cars namin, pinipinturahan at may narinig pa raw po siya na susunugin po yung mobile cars, tinutumba po nila yung mobile cars," said Pedrozo on Thursday in an interview on "News To Go."
However, Pedrozo said the driver became frantic when the rallyists began to attack him.
"Habang nagda-drive po siya, pinagpapapalo po siya ng mga raliyista, binabasag po yung salamin kaya nakayuko po siya, hindi na raw po niya makita kung ano po yung nangyayari," Pedrozo said.
"Parang ang nangyari po, nawala po siya, nataranta po siya, hindi na po niya alam kung ano ang gagawin niya. Yun po ang statement niya," he added.
Pedrozo said Kho's only intention was to move the vehicle away from the angry protesters. "Ang gusto lang daw po niya yung extricate, tanggalin po yung mobile cars dun sa harap ng embassy. Yun lang po ang naging paliwanag po ng ating driver," he said.
Despite this, rallyists injured in the incident are set to sue the policemen involved in the violent dispersal, according to Renato Reyes of the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan.
"Pinaghahandaan na po namin ang pagsampa ng reklamo, lalung-lalo na sa bahagi ng mga sinagasaan at inaresto," he said in an interview on "Unang Balita." "Talagang desidido silang panagutin ang pulis nanagmamaneho ng van."
Reyes maintained that the violent dispersal was well planned by the police because the rally was about to end, and that all throughout the program it was peaceful.
But according to Pedrozo, it was the rallyists who were "well-prepared" to carry out a violent protest action.
"May plano po talaga silang manggulo, mag-vandalize, manakit ng pulis at magsira at for the first time nakakita ako ng rally na sinira po nila ang mga mobile cars at properties namin," he said.
He added that of his 15 years with the MPD, it was the first time he witnessed a protest action as violent as what happened on Wednesday.
Pedrozo, however, said the policemen who were also caught on video hurting the driver of the jeepney that was carrying rallyists are already under investigation.
"Yan po ang iniimbestigahan po natin dahil po beyond na yon sa nangyari," he said. —Veronica Pulumbarit/KBK, GMA News