DAVAO CITY, Philippines — Sen.  Leila De Lima dared Philippine National Police Director General Ronald Dela Rosa to investigate the violent dispersal of protesters in front of the U.S Embassy in Manila Wednesday morning.

“I call on PNP Chief Ronald Dela Rosa to look into this incident, identify the lapses, and enforce command responsibility in exacting accountability from the concerned officials involved in the dispersals,” De Lima said in a statement.

De Lima said she is concerned over the recent dispersal of Moro and Lumad activists who staged a protest rally at Camp Aguinaldo yesterday and the U.S Embassy today.

“These two incidents may have gone beyond the allowable methods prescribed by law.”

Over 50 protesters were hurt and 29 were nabbed by police. The protesters were released later in the afternoon. Three policemen were reportedly hurt in the incident.

A video of a mobile police patrol running over protesters went viral in the social media, earning heavy criticisms from the netizens.

“Considered as minorities in society, these IPs were merely exercising their right to peaceably assemble as guaranteed and protected by the 1987 Constitution. They have every right to air their grievances; and no one can take that right away from them,” De Lima said.

“Our government should accord these IP with compassion and respect, instead of water cannons and patrol trucks as weapons of violent dispersal, as reported by news agencies,” she added.

De Lima said the incident showed that the police used “obviously unnecessary and unreasonable” method to disperse the protesters.

“There is no excuse to use such dispersal, as the rallyists were clearly unarmed,” she said.(

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