Some 400 militant workers staged a picket in front of the Manila Police District headquarters along United Nations Avenue in Ermita yesterday morning to condemn the alleged police brutality in the violent dispersal of their colleagues in front of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) office in Intramuros Thursday night.
Carrying placards and posters of President Arroyo and Labor Secretary Arturo Brion, the rallyists, belonging to Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU), also demanded the release of five of their members who were arrested by the police and detained at the MPD headquarters.
Pagkakaisa ng Manggagawa sa Timog Katagalugan chairman Romeo Legaspi claims 30 of their companions were wounded after police used water cannons and truncheons during Thursday night’s dispersal. He said his group will file charges against the policemen involved.
Arrested by the police were Manuel Dioneda, 43; Jason Dega, 26; Phillip Nardo, 23; Nestor Villanueva, 50; and Marlon Torres, 35. The sixth arrested, Jay Aban, 28, said he does not belong to the rallyists but was merely having a sightseeing tour of Intramuros when the dispersal started.
Torres, a public information officer of Pamantik, sustained six stitches in the head and a broken right arm, while Villanueva suffered three stitches in the head and a broken left hand.
The rallyists were dispersed with water cannons when they failed to leave the DOLE office in Intramuros even after the police gave them three hours for their program. The rallyists do not have a permit from the city government for their rally.
At around 8:25 p.m. police pushed the rallyists out of the DOLE premises by water cannons but the militants fought back by throwing stones and hitting the police with their wooden flag poles.
MPD director Chief Superintendent Roberto Rosales said only 13 persons were hurt, 10 of whom are policemen. He said among those hurt are Ermita police station chief Superintendent Rogelio Rosales Jr., Chief Inspector Santiago Pascual III, Senior Inspector Arnold Thomas Ibay, SPOs1 Ricardo Zshornack, Alven Plantado and Rolando Salandanan and PO2 George Cortez. Salandanan lost consciousness when he was hit with a piece of wood in the face.
Those arrested were charged with illegal assembly, public disturbance, physical injury, assault and robbery.
The indignation rally in front of the MPD headquarters ended at around 10:30 a.m. after police officials talked them to settle their members’ charges before the courts.
The rallyists proceeded to the DOLE office in Intramuros to meet other militant groups. –Nestor Etolle, Philippine Star