NATIONAL Capital Region Police Office director Chief Superintendent Oscar D. Albayalde yesterday said the policeman who drove the police vehicle back and forth during the controversial dispersal operation outside the United States Embassy feared for his life and wanted to escape unruly protesters from harming him and damaging the vehicle.
Police Officer 3 Franklin Kho claimed that he felt that his life was in real danger when the protesters tried to attack him and even attempted to flip the police vehicle.
Albayalde said Kho might have followed his police instinct and decided to extricate immediately from the area while the militants were hurling red paint at the vehicle and assaulting him with batons, some of which were forcibly grabbed from other officers in the area.
“We saw in the video na talagang dinudumog ‘yung sasakyan at pinupukpok ng mga katakut-takot na protesters. Tao rin kasi siya, tao rin ating mga pulis, he felt that his life was in danger also. Na-rattle siya siguro,” Albayalde said.
However, Philippine National Police Deputy Chief for Operations Director Benjamin B. Magalong admitted that the actions made by some policemen who dispersed the unruly militants were “unjustified” although he and other officials including Albayalde maintained that the officers merely defended themselves from the attacking protesters.
Magalong said what Kho did was uncalled for although he and other officials emphasized that it appears that the cop may have been rattled prompting him to make the instant decision to use the vehicle as a weapon.
Kho has no pending administrative or criminal cases but he has been subjected to a neuro-psychiatric evaluation.
Manila Police District director Senior Superintendent Joel Napoleon Coronel said Kho may be charged for gross misconduct and violation of police operational procedures and serious physical injuries.
Coronel and Albayalde said they have constantly reminded NCRPO personnel to practice maximum tolerance particularly when dealing with unruly protesters.