A RIGHTS group on Wednesday condemned police officers for using violent means to disperse a protest denouncing irregularities during the May 9 elections.   

At least 10 people were injured after anti-riot cops used water cannons against the crowd gathered in front of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) building in Quezon City, according to the group Karapatan Alliance Philippines.  

“The right to peaceful assembly and protest is a basic right enshrined in our constitution; even our laws guarantee the exercise of this right, especially in a designated freedom park such as the CHRs Liwasang Diokno,” Karapatan said in a statement.  

“Is the violent dispersal today a prelude of things to come under a Marcos-Duterte administration, where exercising our basic rights and freedoms are met with brazen State violence?it added.  

Incoming President Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos and incoming Vice-President Mayor Sara Z. Duterte-Carpio were set to be officially proclaimed by Congress on Wednesday afternoon, after a landslide victory in the elections.  

The CHR said in a Facebook post that it sent officials to investigate the protest in front of its building.  

“We emphasize that the right to peaceful assembly is a fundamental right that deserves equal protection as public safety and orderCHR investigators will continue to monitor the situation according to our mandate.” 

On the other hand, Lt. Col. Ritchie Claraval, commander of the Anonas Police Station 9, said the demonstrators repeatedly kicked and broke the plastic shields of the policemen who were positioned outside the building, causing the injuries.   

He added that the protesters had to be stopped as they were planning to march towards the congressional complex, despite not securing a permit from the local government.  

Mr. Claraval asserted that the police exercised maximum tolerance despite the use of water cannons. John Victor D. Ordoñez and Emmanuel Tupas/PHILSTAR