The camp of presidential aspirant and Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte slammed the Aquino government for the bloody dispersal of protesting farmers and Lumads in Kidapawan City, North Cotabato on Friday.
Jun Evasco, national campaign manager of Duterte, commented that the national government must be blames for the incident where 1 person was killed and over 30 wounded. “Blood is written all over the Aquino-Conjuangco hands,” said Evasco.
Duterte’s aide added: “First there was the Mendiola massacre, then Hacienda Luisita, then the Mamasapano and now the Kidapawan carnage. Blood – blood of enraged and hungered people – are soaked in the hands of the landlord class personified by the Aquino-Cojuangco clique of the ruling elite.”
He said that President Benigno Aquino III cannot escape the blame and responsibility to “the bloody assault against the hungry farmers demanding for food after a prolonged dry spell.” He claimed that the bloody dispersal would not have happened if the government listened to the plea of the farmers.
Thousands of farmers from the hinterlands in North Cotabato had been occupying a portion of the national highway since Wednesday (March 30), asking for government assistance amid the effects of the drought brought about by the El Nino phenomenon to their livelihood.
Initial reports said the police gave the farmers until Friday morning to disperse, but the police started moving in when the rallyists, reportedly members of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas, held ground and pressed for a second round of negotiation with North Cotabato Governor Emylou Mendoza. This triggered a confrontation between the police forces and the rallyists, who threw rocks at the advancing policemen. The fatality reportedly suffered a gunshot wound in the neck.
Evasco questioned how the authorities handled the incident and dealt with the farmers. “An unarmed, defenseless throng of people asking for food poses no danger. In fact they are in danger. Why, oh why should government resort to this state violence?” asked Evasco.
The PNP in turn said that it is already investigating the bloody dispersal. “The PNP is consolidating all information as regards the incident…We believe that, in the spirit of thoroughness and fairness, a complete and accurate narrative must be constructed,” Police Chief Supt. Wilben Mayor, PNP spokesman said in a statement.
Mayor said that PNP officers were trained to observe maximum tolerance especially in such incidents, but when police lives are under immediate threat, “all of (the) policemen are trained to be vigilant and to act out their mandate to maintain peace and order in a calibrated manner.”
It was reported that two PNP officers were under critical condition due to head trauma.
Duterte’s camp called on the Aquino government to immediately order all those involved in the shooting to be “disarmed, investigated and dealt with the full might and extent of the law.”
READ ALSO: 1 Dead, 30 others Wounded in Cotabato Rally