Press Release
October 20, 2016

Zubiri condemns violent dispersal, cautions hot heads in the PNP ranks

Senator Juan Miguel F. Zubiri "condemned the violent dispersal and cautioned hot heads in the PNP who raised tensions and physically injured more than 50 protesters" in front of the US Embassy.

"What happened to the maximum tolerance policy of the police? Even during martial law, protesters have always known that police & protesters can always negotiate for events covered & even outside of their rally permits."

Zubiri said he was concerned that Indigenous People have been hurt. "I know IPs always try to just suffer the setbacks in their life. Now, that they find courage to express their discontent, we should listen. I myself participated in marches as an idealist student in our province, 'kapit-bisig kasama ang mga tribo.' I know how valuable our freedom of expression and right to peaceably assemble". These are enshrined in our Constitution."

Zubiri stressed that the PNP should "review the lessons learned from all those years of rallies & demonstrations. Among them are how to deal with lightning rallies, no-permit rallies and rallies extending beyond their allowed time or permitted areas. There are a lot of those lessons with the biggest example being the EDSA People Power Revolt."

"We are in a democracy. We should also consider the impact of asymmetric use of force by the police. Protesters have clenched fists & loud voices. Police have truncheons, shields, huge water hoses, cars & trucks. The police should have encouraged the use of megaphones from opposing sides."

Zubiri recalled that President Duterte started "an open presidency to the extent that all demonstrators were allowed to approach the Batasan as close as possible during his first SONA."

"Finally, I welcome Malacañang's decision to trigger an investigation of the PNP personnel and relieve cops involved in the violent dispersal," Zubiri concluded.

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