'CALIBRATED RESPONSE' IN MENDIOLA: 13 JAILED
MANILA, September 27, 2005 (STAR) By Nestor Etolle - Thirteen members of a militant organization had their first taste of government’s "calibrated preemptive response" after they were hauled off to jail for violating the "no permit, no rally" policy while massing up at the Chino Roces (formerly Mendiola) Bridge near Malacañang yesterday.
The dispersal turned violent when some 60 members of the Kilusan para sa Pambansang Demokrasya (KPD) clashed with anti-riot policemen.
Two officers, identified as PO1 Dennis Mateo and PO1 Dedimo Alviar Jr., sustained abrasions when rallyists fought back with wooden placards.
The rallyists started arriving at the foot of the bridge past 10 a.m. on board several vehicles. Policemen, however, had received orders to disperse the rallyists even before they could unfurl their banners and streamers.
According to Superintendent Rolando Miranda, they were told the group had failed to secure a rally permit from the local government.
"There was an order from headquarters to disperse these rallyists since they were violating the ‘no permit, no rally policy.’ The dispersal turned violent when the rallyists stood their ground and started hitting policemen with their wooden placards," Miranda said.
KPD chairman Pete Pinlac denounced the police for the "attack" on his group. "Kabababa pa lang namin sa sasakyan nang atakihin nila kami at pagpapaluin. Wala pa naman kaming ginagawa," Pinlac said.
He claimed that he and 13 others suffered injuries inflicted by blows from police truncheons. They were brought to Ospital ng Maynila for treatment before they were herded to Manila Police District headquarters.
Rallyists condemned the dispersal as a form of repression of the Filipino’s right to peaceful assembly.
The government earlier abandoned its "maximum tolerance" policy in favor of "calibrated preemptive response."
Under the new policy, rallies without permits will be dispersed and protesters arrested.
MPD director Chief Superintendent Pedro Bulaong warned other groups of the same fate if they insist on staging rallies without permits. "No permit, no rally is a cardinal rule for us. We will strictly implement this policy," Bulaong said.
He said majority of the Filipinos are fed up with the disruption and discomfort caused by the rallies.
"It’s about time we protect the rights of law-abiding Filipinos," he said. Police later released 10 of those arrested.
Superintendent Arturo Paglinawan said only the three leaders of the group, including Pinlac, remains in detention. They were charged with obstruction and illegal assembly.
Additional charges of assault against a person in authority is set to be filed against Pinlac for hitting an officer. – With Evelyn Macairan
Binay slams PNP for relief of police chief By Michael Punongbayan The Philippine Star 09/27/2005
Makati City Mayor Jejomar Binay, of the United Opposition, lashed out at the Philippine National Police (PNP) leadership yesterday following the "questionable relief" of his chief of police Superintendent Jovito Gutierrez.
He accused officials of the PNP of playing politics, which according to him, was the reason behind the decision to replace "a police official who has been doing a good job."
Binay said Gutierrez was sacked after Malacañang issued statements against recent rallies in Makati City’s central business district (CBD).
He said the leadership of the PNP did not even observe the standard practice of informing a local chief executive on the relief of his police chief and the reasons for the same.
"The action is highly irregular, and I’m saying this to emphasize that the supervision and control of local executives over the local police, which though limited, is now being further undermined by the PNP and Malacañang," he said.
Binay said Gutierrez has been doing a good job as Makati police chief.
"He is due to retire in July next year," he said. "Why not give him the courtesy of ending his career as Makati police chief as recognition for his good work for the city and for the image of the PNP?"
The mayor added: "It appears that under the Arroyo regime, being the police chief in a city where the mayor is a critic of an illegitimate ruler is dangerous to one’s career."
Gutierrez was relieved by Southern Police District (SPD) chief Wilfredo Garcia last Sunday. Superintendent Efren Ysulat, the deputy police chief, was designated officer-in-charge.
Binay dismissed the claim that Gutierrez was, in fact, promoted by the PNP to deputy director for administration of the SPD.
"Who are they kidding?" he asked, pointing out that what happened to Gutierrez will sow further demoralization among the ranks of professional police officers.
"Rather than encouraging professionalism, the PNP is saying that politics rather than merit will determine one’s career in the police force," he added.
Binay said he is puzzled by the PNP’s decision since it would not affect the city government’s policy toward rallies and demonstrations.
He described Gutierrez as a professional who succeeded in maintaining peace and order during rallies.
Binay noted that rallies in Makati City were peaceful because the police chief had kept the lines of communication open between rally organizers and the MPD.
"I don’t know what Malacañang and the PNP hope to accomplish with this action. On the contrary, they are alienating a large number of professional police officers," he said.
Under Gutierrez, Makati posted the lowest crime rates in Metro Manila. The MPD has also consistently been named the best police station in the country.
The Makati Peace and Order Council (POC), where the Makati police is a member, has also been named several times as the best POC in Metro Manila and in the Philippines.
Gutierrez served as head of operations and the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) unit before being named deputy police chief in 1997 and eventually appointed MPD chief in 2000.
Ysulat, for his part, vowed to do his best in maintaining peace and order in Makati City and to continue Gutierrez’s programs and projects.
Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi
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