As Advisers to the GRP peace panel and president and immediate former president of the League of Cities of the Philippines, we, Mayors Edgardo Pamintuan and Herbert Bautista of Angeles City and Quezon City, respectively, express our indignation and deep concern over the violence that occurred during the police dispersal last Wednesday (Oct. 19) of a rally by militant groups in front of the United States embassy in Manila.
We deplore, most specifically, what we view as the deliberate mowing down of rallyists by a police van driven by a police officer. What we clearly saw in the video, now being viewed in websites of news agencies worldwide, was an unnecessary -- even excessive -- use of force that hurt, and endangered the lives of, unarmed demonstrators who were supportive of the President's call for an independent foreign policy.
We call for an impartial investigation of this very unfortunate incident. If indeed they violated the rules of engagement on maximum tolerance, the commander of the police unit and driver of the van should be made answerable and must be appropriately charged.
We also appeal for calm and sobriety. We hope that the incident will not derail us from our endeavor of seeking just and lasting peace.
We firmly believe and are extremely confident that those involved in the peace process are mature and determined enough that incidents like this will not obscure and deter our quest for peace.
We have had encountered, and hurdled, greater challenges before. We shall keep our faith, and continue our journey to peace.
Mayor EDGARDO PAMINTUAN
LCP National President
Mayor HERBERT BAUTISTA
Former LCP National President