2 PNP intel officers, 15 others injured in SONA protests

MANILA, Philippines – The police lamented how two of its intelligence officers were mauled by militants protesting the last State of the Nation Address (SONA) of President Benigno Aquino III on Monday, July 27. 

They're among 11 police officers and 6 civilians who were recorded outside the compound of the House of Representatives, where Aquino delivered his speech.

They were accused of spying on the protesters.

“Yun nga ay masama ang loob namin. Sila naman ay nagtatrabaho lang at hindi naman talaga kailangang bugbugin. Napakiusapan naman at na-i-turn over naman sa pulis natin,” said Quezon City Police District chief (QCPD) head chief superintendent Joel Pagdilao.

(That what's sad about the incident. They were just doing their jobs, they did not deserve to be mauled. Thankfully after talking with the protesters, they turned over the policemen.)

Pagdilao said the two police officers were sent back to QCPD headquarters to get treatment for their injuries.

Investigators will review closed-circuit television footages so they can file charges to the militants involved in the “mauling” of the policemen.

Initial investigation showed that the cellular phones of the police officers were taken from them during the incident.

Pagdilao said those involved in the incident will be charged with direct assault, robbery and in violation of RA 880 or the Public Assembly Act of 1985.

9 other cops

Nine other police officers deployed to control the crowd of protesters and 6 civilians also sustained various injuries. 

A police officer suffered an eye injury after he was hit by a stone thrown by one of the protesters.

The rest of the people in the police list sustained minor injuries resulting from multiple abrasions and minor lacerations.

The list also included a minor who had an allergic reaction due to an insect bite, and another civilian who suffered from hypertension.

Some of the those injured, including people from the protesting groups, were given first aid treatments on the spot while the police who were treated were sent back to their posts immediately after.

Violence under the rain

The rains did not stop the protesters, who even attempted to move container vans that separated the northbound and southbound lanes of Commonwealth Avenue.

The protesters succeeded in opening a gap between the container vans but they were met with a phalanx of police shields.

Support units from the Bureau of Fire Protection immediately used water cannons to push back the militants. This was when they resorted to hitting the police with wooden sticks.

In the end, protesters were not able to cross over the southbound lane of road where motor vehicles passed.

“Yun naman palaging ginagawa nila, na lumipat sa kabilang side na ginagamit ng motorista natin. Nagiging inconvenient yung karamihan. Ano bang nakuha nila dun? Para maipakita sa tao na nagkaroon ng inconvenience ang motorists natin?” Pagdilao said.

(That's what they always do, they try to cross over the southbound lane where our motorists pass. This became an inconvenience for a lot of people. What did they get from behaving like that? To show that they can disturb the motorists?)

Apart from these incidents, the police did not report any other encounters with the protesters who left around 6 pm .

'Generally peaceful'

Inspite of the incidents, the police declared Aquino's last SONA as “generally peaceful.”

The estimated 4,500 protesters who assembled along Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City on Monday, July 27, dispersed minutes after Aquino delivered his speech. (READ: Full text in English: Aquino's 6th State of the Nation Address)

“Maayos naman hanggang sa matapos ang kanilang programa ine-expect natin na medyo magkakaroon ng ibang pagbabatuhan. Hindi naman nangyari yun at napakalayo nila, nagkaroon din ng distansya at natapos yung programa nila nang walang kaguluhan. At sarili na rin silang nag-disperse ng kani-kanilang mga grupo,” said Quezon City Police District chief (QCPD) head chief superintendent Joel Pagdilao.

(Their programs were orderly even after they finished. We expected they were going to throw stones at the police after their program but it did not happen. They stayed away from our barricades and they finished their programs without violence. They groups even dispersed on their own after.)

Pagdilao spoke to reporters as he was ordering the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority personel to dismantle the concrete barriers that blocked the road for motor vehicles. – Rappler.com