Sandugo files complaint vs PNP on US embassy violent dispersal

A recently formed alliance of national minority groups called Sandugo today filed a complaint at the GRP-Nominated Section in the Joint Secretariat of the GRP-NDFP Joint Monitoring Committee on the Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) on the October 19, 2016 violent dispersal at the US Embassy in Manila. 

Complaint_Sandugo Dispersal 

More than 1,000 members of Sandugo and progressive groups led by Bagong Alyansang Makabayan held a protest action in front of the US Embassy along Roxas Boulevard to call for an independent foreign policy against US foreign domination. 

"The national minority groups went to Manila as a form of their assertion for their right to self-determination and struggle against national oppression. They trooped to the US Embassy to demand the end to US intervention and plunder," secretary general of Karapatan, Cristina Palabay, said. "Unfortunately, the protesters were met with brutality and illegal arrests,” Palabay said.

Among the CARHRIHL violations cited by Sandugo are on frustrated killing of at least four (4) of the protesters. Piya Malayao, 28, secretary general of Katribu and convenor of Sandugo, Valeria Catubigan, 61, Lumad peasant, member of indigenous peoples’ organization Kasalo-Caraga and Nicole Soria, member of Kabataan Partylist, were deliberately ran over by police mobile driven by PO3 Franklin Kho. Malayao and Catubigan were brought to and arrested at the Philippine General Hospital (PGH), while Soria was brought to and arrested at the Ospital ng Maynila.

Victim Raymark Sumalbag, 23, member of Piston and jeepney driver, sustained multiple head injuries for repeated police beating. He was brought to and arrested at the Ospital ng Maynila.

Sandugo also cited the illegal arrest of another 32 individuals who were brought to Manila Police District, including 13 Lumad, two minors, health workers from Health Action for Human Rights (HAHR), a Karapatan paralegal, PISTON members, a cultural worker, a journalist, and several others from various organizations. 

Apart from this, nine other injured protesters were also arrested after being brought to the PGH.

Led by Amirah Lidasan, a Sandugo Moro representative, they called for an immediate and independent investigation on the violent dispersal. “We demand that Senior Supt. Marcelino Pedrozo, P03 Franklin Kho, and the 200 elements of the Manila Police District of the Philippine National Police be held accountable for the frustrated killing, serious physical injuries and illegal arrest of our fellow protesters,” Lidasan said.

“Our protest program was almost finished and was down with the last speaker when the police started dispersing the crowd just to save its face from the US Embassy,” Lidasan said.  

"We call on the GRP to investigate this incident. Their police should abide by the GRP's obligations in the CARHRIHL, including its duty to uphold, protect and promote the existing rights of national minorities to engage in various political processes," Palabay ended.