Mayors condemn violent dispersal of militant groups



ANGELES CITY — Mayor Edgardo Pamintuan expressed indignation over the violence that recently occurred in front of the US Embassy, where scores of demonstrators and policemen were injured.

Pamintuan, adviser to the Philippine Government (GRP) Peace Panel and president of the League of Cities of the Philippines (LCP), said he and former city league president Herbert Bautista prepared a joint statement expressing deep concern on the incident.

“As Advisers to the GRP peace panel and president and immediate former president of the League of Cities of the Philippines, we, Mayors Edgardo Pamintuan and Herbert Bautista of Angeles City and Quezon City, respectively, express our indignation and deep concern over the violence that occurred during the police dispersal last Wednesday (October 19) of a rally by militant groups in front of the United States embassy in Manila,” Pamintuan stated.

“We deplore, most specifically, what we view as the deliberate mowing down of rallyists by a police van driven by a police officer. What we clearly saw in the video, now being viewed in websites of news agencies worldwide, was an unnecessary — even excessive — use of force that hurt, and endangered the lives of, unarmed demonstrators who were supportive of the President’s call for an independent foreign policy,” he added.

Pamintuan and Bautista are calling for an “impartial investigation of this very unfortunate incident.”

“If indeed they violated the rules of engagement on maximum tolerance, the commander of the police unit and driver of the van should be made answerable and must be appropriately charged,” the mayor added.

Pamintuan at the same time expressed hopes that the incident will not affect the ongoing peace talks between the GRP and the National Democratic Front (NDF).

“We firmly believe and are extremely confident that those involved in the peace process are mature and determined enough that incidents like this will not obscure and deter our quest for peace. We have encountered and hurdled greater challenges before. We shall keep our faith, and continue our journey to peace,” Pamintuan said.