De Lima to militants: Do not harm cops during rallies

by Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 05 2013 04:00 PM | Updated as of Feb 06 2013 12:00 AM

MANILA - Justice Secretary Leila De Lima  met with officers of the Quezon City Police Department (QCPD) who were hurt during a protest by militants at the National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC) last Thursday.

The policemen, led by their chief, Sr. Supt. Richard Albano, went to the Dept. of Justice (DOJ) on Tuesday to seek De Lima's advice on the filing of appropriate charges against the rallyists. Albano said 6 policemen were hurt in the incident

De Lima said she advised the policemen to file a complaint with the Quezon City Prosecutors Office since the alleged offense happened there.

She stressed that militants or any group with a particular advocacy "had no right" to hurt state forces during protest actions and other assemblies.

"Kitang kita nga... na mga policemen were harmed by the militant protesters. Walang karapatan kahit sinuman, kahit you have a very valid cause for freedom… any advocacy... that’s your right -- freedom of expression, freedom of assembly -- but there is also [such as thing as] abuse of rights," De Lima said.

"Walang karapatan ang mga tao na manakit lalo na sa law enforcers so the PNP wants to seek justice for their men and women who were just doing their job to keep the peace in that kind of activity," she added.

Charges of physical injuries, assault of a person in authority, malicious mischief, damage to property, and robbery are being readied against the protesters.

For his part, Albano said his men exercised "maximum tolerance" during the protest. 

"Walang dispersal na ginawa ang mga pulis. Maximum tolerance nang todo ginawa namin," he said.