MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte on Saturday said he will personally look into the violent dispersal of militant protesters outside the United States embassy earlier this week.
The protest turned violent and scores of activists were injured after a policeman was caught on video running over protesters while driving a police mobile.
Responding to questions about the incident, Duterte admitted that he, himself, would "like to know what really happened."
"I would like to know what really happened. I will do the questioning myself," the president said in a press conference in Davao City after his arrival from his state visit to China.
Duterte also offered possible explanations why the police officer ran over protesters.
"Nobody would ever do that in the midst of a troubled... I'm not justifying it. Maybe he was under stress. They might gang up on him, hurt him, and so he acted by instinct, self preservation... Hindi naman 'yan talagang may gusto siyang patayin. Padiretso-diretso lang eh," Duterte said.
According to the president, he will invite the policeman for coffee and personally ask him questions.
"I intend to look at it. I will try to talk to the police, invite him for coffee," he added.
The president said he will also seek the protesters' side.
"I will talk to the activists. I would like to know what really happened. I will do the questioning myself. I do not want anybody hurt there, not the police, not the young militants," Duterte said.
The president also called for civility in settling the issue.