President Rodrigo Duterte’s threat to shoot people who will disrupt the enhanced community quarantine amid the COVID-19 pandemic is dangerous and in violation of rule of law, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) warned Thursday.
“Even before, the Commission has expressed alarm over statements that sidestep human rights—the latest of which is from the Chief Executive himself challenging agitators and violators of the enhanced quarantine with threats to be shot dead. Such a statement is dangerous as it may be construed as an official policy from the government,” lawyer Jacqueline de Guia, CHR spokesperson, said.
“Even in times of a national health emergency, due process and the rule of law still apply,” she added.
De Guia was referring to the comments made by the President in the aftermath of a police dispersal of a number of residents in Quezon City who went to the streets to appeal for food aid.
The President’s words went, “My orders are, sa pulis pati military, pati mga barangay na pagka-ginulo at nagkaroon ng okasyon na lumaban at ang buhay ninyo ay nalagay sa alanganin, shoot them dead.”
The CHR, however, lauded Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Archie Gamboa who earlier said that they will not take cue from such statements and will instead “exercise maximum tolerance and within the bounds of law.”
“This way, the public can expect greater accountability from the police whose motto is to serve and protect the Filipino people. We then urge the PNP to come up with clearer guidelines for its law enforcers on the ground to assure the public that there will be no abuse of power,” De Guia said.
“The people must always have a voice in a democracy. Should there be violations, let our laws be our guide in demanding for accountability,” she added.
The Philippines has recorded 2,633 confirmed COVID-19 cases as of 4 p.m. of April 2. Of this number, 107 have died while 51 others have recovered. —LDF, GMA News