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Manila cop in hot water over confrontation with UST Judo Juniors Team members

A policeman in Manila is in hot water for allegedly bringing out his service firearm during a confrontation with members of the UST Judo Juniors Team, according to Darlene Cay's report on Unang Balita on Tuesday.

The report said six jubilant members of the team aged 12 to 17 years old were walking along a street in Sampaloc, Manila around 9:30 p.m. on Sunday following a victory in a competition when they were approached by the policeman for being noisy.

"Kala namin sa una parang sasabihan lang kami ng congratulations, parang ganun. Parang agresibo kaagad," one of the team members said.

(We thought at first that he would just congratulate us, but he was aggressive.)

The policeman allegedly brought out a handcuff and invited the team to board a police mobile. When they students refused, the policeman allegedly brought out his service firearm.

"Una hinahawakan niya lang 'yung baril niya. Doon pa lang tinitignan na niya, ang rason daw niya kaya niya binunot ang baril niya kasi tinitignan ko 'yung baril. Alangan kasi hinahawakan niya," the judo team member said.

(He held his gun. He said he did that because I was looking at his gun. That's unlikely.)

Another member of the team said they panicked because they did not know what to do.

"Di namin talaga alam 'yung gagawin namin. Of course bata kami. Sino ba naman gugustuhin na may maglalabas ng baril sa 'yo," he said.

(We really did not know what to do. Of course we are just kids. Who would want someone to bring out a gun in front of you.)

The students, who were still wearing their uniforms and medals, then contacted their coach.

The policeman, identified as Police Corporal Marvin Castro, apologized to the students and their parents and coaches when they faced each other at the barangay hall.

"Sinasaway ko po sila, ayaw nilang pakinggan. Tapos pinapatigil ko po sila, ayaw nilang tumigil," Castro said.

(They were not listening to me. I was asking them to stop but they would not stop.)

Castro said he felt threatened by the team.

When the parents brought the issue to the police station, a parent said they were urged to just drop the complaint in the spirit of Christmas.

"Kinausap kami na baka raw puwedeng pa-Christmas na lang daw iyon, na kung puwede raw ayusin na lang, kausapin na lang kasi mabait daw 'yung Castro," the parent said.

"Paano kung may nangyari sa anak namin? Hindi puwedeng pa-Christmas 'yun. 'Yung psychological effect na nangyari sa kanila, takot na sila lumabas, takot na sila pumasok sa school. Hindi pa-Christmas 'yun," she added.

(They asked us to drop the complaint in the spirit of Christmas. They asked us to just talk to Castro because they said he is a good cop. But what if something happened to our children? What about the psychological effect on them?)

The Manila Police District (MPD) is already looking into the incident.

According to MPD director Police Brigadier General Andre Dizon, Castro felt "imminent danger" in the presence of the students.

"Nung sinita niya nag-akma na parang susugurin siya. Kaya nabanggit ng ating station commander, napahawak sa baril niya 'yung police natin. Naniguro lang siya na 'yung self-defense ang kaniyang ipapairal po doon. As long as hindi po niya 'yun tinutok, wala po siyang intensiyon na barilin po," Dizon said.

(We he confronted them, the students moved as if they were about to attack him, which prompted him to hold his gun, according to our station commander. He just made sure that he would be on self-defense. As long as he did not point the gun at somebody, then it shows that he had no intention of firing it.)

Castro has been barred from doing rounds in the area while the investigation is ongoing. He was also asked to surrender his service firearm.

The students, meanwhile, will undergo psychological evaluation on Tuesday. They would also submit their sworn statements together with their parents. —KBK, GMA Integrated News