‘A view to a kill’

6

If you cannot stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.

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This, apparently, was lost, especially on the driver of the Manila police vehicle with which he rammed through a crowd of protesters in front of the US embassy with no apparent intent to spare anyone from getting run over, based on a video footage taken in front of the US Embassy in Manila on Wednesday.

The blood, literally, has not dried up on Roxas Boulevard where the embassy is located and already, supporters of both the demonstrators and the police are up in arms accusing each other of violent acts, with the police side justifying the driver’s reaction to the brewing rage he saw around him.

Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel 3rd said the footage is “not the whole picture” of what happened. We want to hear the rest of what Pimentel has to say, from which we could gauge his sense of justice in this case.

Sen. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson, once the country’s No. 1 policeman, said the driver was making a “personal judgment call” at the time. We hope that does not mean it was perfectly all right for the law enforcer to have become an emotional wreck of a monster on wheels.

Describing the reports that have reached him while in China with President Rodrigo Duterte, National Police chief Roland Dela Rosa was quoted by a Philippine TV news station as saying: “Nag-panic yung driver dahil nung kinuyog yung sasakyan niya gustong itaob ng mga ralista [The driver panicked because when the rallyists surrounded him to bash his van, they wanted to knock it over.”

That driver was fortunate to have missed killing any of the protesters who, ironically, were supporting the President’s "independent” foreign policy. It was also the police officer’s lucky day because his Mad Max moment caused only serious injuries to dozens, including colleagues in the Manila Police Department.

Interestingly, the object of scorn of the protesters led the proverbial cooler heads prevail in trying to help connect the dots in this violent episode.

Instead of finger pointing, the US Embassy on Thursday said the US "strongly supports democracy in the Philippines and supports the right to peaceful expression and demonstration.”

In a statement, the embassy called on "parties to engage in peaceful dialogue and exercise restraint.”
President Rodrigo Duterte, himself a staunch advocate of negotiation, not confrontation, said he will order an investigation into the bloody Wednesday rally on live TV.

The conciliatory stance of both the President and the US Embassy, however, has been preempted by the police defenders in the Senate who all but ruled (by whose authority, we don’t know) that the drive and the other officers are clean as a whistle.

How generous of Pimentel and Lacson to spare President Duterte of another headache, thoughtfully knowing perhaps that the President is up to his neck in what ails this country other than drug addicts and narco politicians.

What the two senators did, however, only cemented the very image of the police as untouchables entitled to flout the law. Besides that, the next batch of protesters against any embassy or a convent in mind can expect nothing but police brutality.

In a stern reminder to the police, though, Duterte has given an order for a "maximum tolerance policy” toward demonstrators of any political shade.

Saddened and angered by the horrific dispersal of visibly unarmed protesters was dela Rosa, who said he did not want any Filipino to get hurt and that he would deal with the US Embassy incident "swiftly and decisively.”

Apparently, however, the clueless police driver thought that he could get away with murder under the cover of the President’s take on the anti-drug war: "For as long as the police and soldiers do it in the performance of their duty, that’s my responsibility. As long as there is [the]police in an encounter, don’t investigate anymore because that is my order.”

Did that driver know that the demonstrators were fighting for Duterte’s independent foreign policy, and the subject of the protest had nothing to do with drugs?

Well, if it should turn out that all the lumad (indigenous peoples) and students and other activists in the mix of the Wednesday protesters are drug pushers and drug users, that law enforcer must think they deserve to die by the wheels of his police van. (Incidentally, October is Indigenous Peoples’ Month.)

However, for the probe to be fair, the investigation must also cover this “emotional,” panicky police officer, who has since been suspended. The public must be assured that this member of “Manila’s finest” is not dabbling in things that make him a candidate for Oplan Tokhang.

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6 Comments

  1. What were they protesting. The US has nothing to do with the Lumads problems. And they started the violence. Maybe paid by De Lima to distract attention from herself again? I don’t really believe that but nothing surprises me anymore.

  2. Pilandok gave them the go signal to do such things as these one. What one can expect now?

    I will just wait for another cover up act by Pilandok and Bato.

  3. Joshua Schneider on

    Tin soldiers and Nixon coming,
    We’re finally on our own.
    This summer I hear the drumming,
    Four dead in Ohio.

    Kent State May 4th 1970 where police fired into a crowd of protesters. Neil Young’s song title was
    “Tin Soldiers and Nixon Coming, Four Dead in Ohio”

    A very strong lesson to be learned from this event and how it relates to the protest at the American Embassy. This horrific scene of protesters and policemen being run over just has horrible visuals. The Police response could have been one that enforced the rule of the land, that we respect peoples rights to peacefully protest. Paint is usually not considered a lethal weapon. Multiple protestors beating on the glass of a police van with one driver in it… limited visibility due to paint blocking the drivers view… a knee jerk response out of fear for his life or a desire to deliberately drive over and kill or maim protestors. Proper response??

    The whole point of the movie ” A View to a Kill” was to give the viewer very different perspectives of a event as to what actually happened. The videos of this event will be played quite a few times, and I am sure will be edited to support the view point of the news organization that runs it.

    Wouldn’t it have been so much nicer to have seen either a police response to safely remove the driver from this truck while it was just sitting and being the object of police protestors beating on it. Let the protestors have the truck… than arrest the ones that commit a crime damaging it. Or after the carnage has been committed lead the driver away in handcuffs to jail, to face justice. Just two of many possibilities, but in a visual world what a difference for the current administration to work with.

    Lets hope this is dealt with quickly and fairly. The Philippines with everything else going on does not need a “Kent State”.

  4. Just because PDu30, wants an independent foreign policy the protesters can just go to the US embassy and tell the americans to get out. Thats not gonna happen, US embassy are here to stay. Do we want the american people go to our Phil. embassy in Washington and tell our people in the Phil. embassy to get out also? Do we also want the Americans to vandalize our Phil. Embassy in the US just like what the group of Renato Reyes did? The protesters spreads red paint on the US Embassy and attack the police barricade first. This protesters led by Renato Reyes together with the ingeneous people(Lumads) are not thinking straight. They should also think of our fellow Filipinos in the US who also needs assistance from our Phil. Embassy.

  5. I guess in all of the protest rallies ever since I have seen and heard in the news, Philippines is sometimes also violent and primitive. The rally is allowed because we respect freedom of expression. And Freedom is a beautiful faculty and gift in out intellect to design our own destiny and express our good intention, but not to destroy life and property. I think every individual person in the rally should be educated about their rally they are conducting and they should be informed of its parameters and these parameters should be both understood by those people involved in the rally and the police officers. The protesters and police officers should strictly follow its scope, limitations and time frame, for reasons that protesters are not the only people in need of the occupied space and the time involved in the rally. In a democratic country like us, protest rally or whatever rally that be is allowed by virtue of our freedom of expression to be heard; however, someone going to hurt anyone should be avoided.

  6. thanks for this. couldn’t have said it better. I still cannot wrap my head around the barbarity of what this driver did. I still cannot move away from my desire to have this barbarian jailed, if not executed.