The peasant group challenged De Lima to investigate first what really happened in the clash between protesting coconut farmers and the cops during last Thursday’s rally at the NAPC office before issuing “prejudicial statements.”
By ALEX D. LOPEZ
DAVAO CITY, Philippines — Militant peasant group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) finds Justice Secretary Leila De Lima’s statement on the clash between small coconut farmers and the cops at the National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC) rally last Thursday, “prejudicial.”
In an e-mailed statement, KMP deputy secretary general Willy Marbella said De Lima is “treading the path of injustice” for acting without probing what really happened.
De Lima, in reaction to the incident, has said no one has the right to hurt anyone, especially law enforcers, “even if you have a very valid cause for grievance.”
She also pointed out that “(A)ny advocacy you have, that’s your right—freedom of expression and freedom of assembly. But there is also such a thing as abuse of rights.”
It will be recalled that several police officers and the head of the Quezon City Police District Station 2 were wounded in a clash with an estimated 100 protesters who stormed the NAPC office to demand for the immediate distribution of the coconut levy fund.
But KMP’s Marbella said the farmers only defended themselves from the “violent assault” against their ranks.
“Did Secretary De Lima know that prior to what she saw on TV, the small coconut farmers who were only there to frustrate Secretary Joel Rocamora’s scheme to plunder the coco levy funds were attacked by the police with fire extinguishers not once, but thrice?,” Marbella asked.
The KMP leader also said that Police Supt. Pedro Sanchez went “very wild” and was already shoving the protesters with his baton forcing the protesters to retaliate.
“If she likes, we are still more than willing to have a ‘reenactment’ of the incident for the justice secretary to be enlightened further,” Marbella added.
The peasant group challenged De Lima to “maintain independence” and “not act like the partisan Commission on Human Rights chair who does not have any credibility to probe the incident.”
KMP referred to Etta Rosales who is Rocamora’s party-mate in Akbayan.
The peasant group challenged De Lima to first investigate what happened before issuing ‘prejudicial statements.
“Utimately she will be the one to decide once we file an appeal against the decision of the Quezon City prosecutor that was already influenced by the secretary’s statement,” Marbella said.
The protesters, according to the KMP statement, are mulling to file charges of physical injuries and prohibition and dissolution of peaceful assembly against Sanchez and other members of the Quezon City Police District present in the NAPC incident. (Alex D. Lopez/davaotoday.com)