President Rodrigo Duterte is “outraged” by local officials and law enforcement authorities who implemented abusive punishments against quarantine violators, a Palace official said on Wednesday.
Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo made this remark after a quarantine violator died after being ordered to do intense physical exercise while another violator died after being beaten up.
“Si Presidente Duterte naku galit na galit sa mga oppression (President Duterte is furious about oppression). He is outraged by that,” Panelo said in his online commentary show “Counterpoint.”
Darren Manaog Peñaredondo, 28, died in General Trias City, Cavite last April 2 after being forced to do 300 rounds of a pumping exercise akin to squats.
Less than a week after, Ernanie “Nanie” Lumban Jimenez, 26, died in Calamba City, Laguna, after allegedly beaten to death by village guards after the victim was caught violating curfew hours on April 7.
Panelo described authorities who came up with such punishments as “little tyrants in their own little kingdoms”.
“Hindi pupuwede po ito. Yung mga barangay tanod na ‘yan pag nabibigyan ng kapangyarihan mga tyrants (This is unacceptable. These barangay officials given power become tyrants),” he said.
He advised the local officials and authorities to just remind the public to follow rules.
Local officials, he said, should create a task force that would assign local workers to make rounds onboard the vehicles to remind the public to observe quarantine protocols.
“Kung maari lang kayong mga mayor, maglikha kayo ng isang grupo, task force ninyo na ang gagawin iikot lang sa lugar ninyo sa siyudad, umiikot, mayroong sound system parang nangangampanya pero sa halip na nangangampanya sa isang kandidato papaalahanan niyo ang lahat ng tao, ‘O yang ganito, puwede po ba magsuot ng maskara natin (If possible you mayors can create a task force that would go around the city with a sound system as if they’re campaigning but instead reminding people ‘Please wear your face masks),” he said.
Panelo expressed confidence that those complacent in observing quarantine protocols will immediately comply after being “constantly reminded”.
“Sa halip na gumagamit tayo ng dahas, ng mga cruel and unusual punishment which is in violation of the Constitution, ‘yun nalang ang gawin natin—paalala (Instead of using force, cruel and unusual punishments which is in violation of the Constitution, let’s do that—reminder),” he said.
The Philippine National Police (PNP) said the chief of police of General Trias City has been relieved from his post after witnesses submitted sworn affidavits confirming how the victim was asked to do excessive physical exercise.
The PNP also plans to file a case, possibly homicide, against the suspects involved in beating up a quarantine violator in Calamba City.
Cavite and Laguna, along with the rest of the NCR Plus bubble that also includes Metro Manila and the provinces of Bulacan and Rizal, were placed under the strictest enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) from March 29 to April 11 to curb the spread of Covid-19 infections and address hospital congestion.
The government on Sunday downgraded the quarantine status over NCR Plus to modified ECQ (MECQ) from April 12 to 30. PNA.GOV.PH