Govt to cooperate with Senate on Kidapawan probe

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Malacañang on Friday said it is willing to cooperate with the Senate in its investigation into a violent dispersal of a farmers’ protest rally that left three people dead and 100 others injured last week in Kidapawan City, North Cotabato.

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Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said government officials in the executive branch summoned to the Senate hearing will be present to answer all questions regarding the incident now referred to as the Kidapawan Massacre.

“Laging bukas at handa ang pamahalaan na ipaliwanag at ipaunawa ang lahat dahil ang apektado ay ang kapakanan ng mga pinakamaralitang mamamayan [We will always be open and ready to explain everything because the welfare of the poorest of Filipinos is what’s at stake here],” Coloma told reporters.

On Thursday, the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights began its probe into the violent dispersal of protesters in Kidapawan City.

Some policemen were among the more than 100 injured.

The protesters, mostly farmers, demanded relief and subsidy for communities that were gravely affected by the dry spell caused by El Niño in North Cotabato.

Both sides have accused each other of instigating the violence, although some policemen were seen heavily armed during the dispersal.

Aside from the Senate, the Department of Interior and Local Government is also investigating the incident, focusing on the possible involvement of local officials.

The Philippine National Police has also created a probe body to look into the possible lapses in judgement on the part of the police involved in the melee, while the Commission on Human Rights conducts its own assessment of who from both sides were at fault.

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